Agricultural Science


  • Appreciate the natural environment and human interactions with it and the sustainable use of its resources, recognising the need for a rational and balanced approach to the exploitation of these resources in a local and global context.
  • Recognise the need for, and global importance of, relevant strategies and policies to promote the agrifood industry while insulating it from future challenges (e.g. climate change, novel crop and animal diseases) and identify opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in the context of local, regional and world markets.
  • Develop their scientific knowledge and skills, in the context of agricultural practices, and increase their awareness of health and safety issues associated with these practices.



Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science is the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of modern agriculture. It is a scientific approach to the knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that affect the long-term sustainability of natural resources–the land, plants, and animals–and places particular emphasis on the sustainable use of these resources for the economic and social benefit of humankind.

Through agricultural science, an understanding of human use of the Earth’s natural resources and environment for the production of food and non-food materials is developed. The science and technology employed is identified and explored, and an awareness of the need to enhance environmental quality through greater scientific understanding of agricultural principles and practices is promoted. The role and importance of strategies and policies for the continued sustainable development and growth of the agri-food industry are recognised, whilst understanding the importance of biodiversity, animal welfare and care of the environment.

Agricultural science can make a significant contribution to the scientific, aesthetic and moral education of young people through its focus on knowledge, processes, methods and context, and through its investigative laboratory and field-based activities, independent and guided research and study, projects and assignments. The scientific concepts in Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science arise from the basic investigative nature of the subject and an integrated approach to teaching it. Scientific principles are applied to testing stated hypotheses, which in turn leads to the solving of identified problems arising from the learner’s own observations and perceptions of agricultural situations.

Through a study of agricultural science, students develop many practical skills when handling, observing and investigating plants and animals and through the range of other practical activities encountered. Similarly, they learn skills of analysis and interpretation of data, hypothesis formulation, and the designing and planning of investigations. Through individual or group investigations students are given the opportunity for scientific research. In undertaking collaborative group work, they gain experience of communicating, interacting and working with others. Therefore, the progressive development of scientific inquiry, problem-solving, curiosity and self-confidence in the learner will be facilitated through guided discovery, laboratory and field work, experimental investigations, and field based assignments.

The study of agricultural science involves personal involvement of the student with the scientific world by acknowledging the daily application of science to the life and work of those engaged in the agricultural and food sectors. Students are involved in making value judgements when they apply scientific knowledge to modern agri-food practices, to crop and animal husbandry, and to the care of their natural environment. Students gain a key understanding of the central contribution of the agri-food industry to the national economy and the importance of agri-food policies to the sustainable development of rural communities.

Opportunities are also provided for the integration of knowledge and skills through the interplay of scientifically-supported theory and practice. Opportunities for the development of motivation and interest continually arise through the need to exercise concern and care for living things, either in the school laboratory or garden, or through observations or the collection of data in the local environment. This concern with care enables students to develop a positive and healthy attitude, which helps them in their future working lives and leisure-time activities. Much of the subject is self-evidently meaningful, and it is one of the areas of the school curriculum where students are enabled and encouraged to show a creative and caring concern for the responsibilities placed in their charge, to make judgements based on evidence, and to appreciate the culture of enterprise. It enables the students to develop an increased environmental awareness and a sense of scientific and social responsibility. Consequently, it produces a firm framework for the learner in their future life.


Strand 1: Scientific practices
Strand 2: Soils
Strand 3: Crops
Strand 4: Animals



WRITTEN ASSESSMENT 75% (The written component of assessment is an examination paper of two and a half hours duration taken at the end of the two-year course. There will be separate Ordinary level and Higher level examination papers.)


Agri-food sector, farm manager/operator, forestry manager, horticultural consultant, research scientist, zookeeper, veterinary surgeon/nurse.

Subject is taught through the use of Class notes, textbook (see below), farm visits and various forms of multimedia.

Students working on the school polytunnel.

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