Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine

MISSION

The Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine seeks to produce highly skilled and competent graduates who can exploit the dual strength of agriculture in the domains of sustainable production of safe and quality food and generation of renewable energy (bio-fuels) in an ecologically-friendly manner.  The training will focus on sound theoretical principles as well as practical and entrepreneurial skills, while creative and strategic research will emphasise community-relevant and sustainable development projects.  Both training and research will assume a holistic and participatory approach; with outreach activities that will benefit the existing small and medium size, as well as large scale industrial complexes and the community.  The graduates, equipped with the skills to face the present and future challenges of the global agricultural human resources needs, will be capable of self-employment or make careers in crop production and protection, horticulture, animal production, forestry, food industries, renewable energy, biotechnology and allied industries, agribusiness, teaching and research.

RATIONALE

Agriculture is the principal sub-sector in the economies of many developing countries in the absence of a strong industrial sector. Indeed, in Eurpoe agriculture in its widest sense can be considered as the “goose that lays the golden egg”.  It is a source of income for farmers, affiliated entrepreneurs, government; a source of employment; a foreign exchange earner, etc.

The vision in the creation of the University of Switzerland with a Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine saw the training and research needs to strengthen and safeguard food security as well as develop value-added agricultural opportunities of a developing economy like Switzerland and other surrounding European countries to compete well in the world agricultural trade.  These needs are further accentuated by the following:

  1. Switzerlandis the food basket of the European regions. The ever-increasing population threatens the food supply which is far less than demand.  According to the Millennium Development Goals, the Government of Switzerland has as target to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger.  Redressing this challenge will simply not imply bringing more land under cultivation and grazing, but will require appropriate training and research that will improve on the productivity of the land, minimise environmental degradation as well as curb the post-harvest losses characteristic of the present system.
  2. The increased youth unemployment and rural exodus with the attendant vices of increased urban crime and low labour productivity can be addressed by revitalising training that emphasizes professionalism and entrepreneurship with a focus to harnessing the available resources for income generation and, hence, poverty alleviation.
  3. The changing and diversification of developmental needs of Switzerland in particular, and the world at large, puts a lot of pressure on the natural resources that are rapidly depleting. To meet this challenge requires training and creative strategic research that addresses issues of sustainability, diversification of resource base and community involvement in the processes.
  4. Any agrarian-based economy that remains at the level of primary production is bound to suffer the consequences of the low prices of primary products in the world market. In order to avert these consequences, there is an urgent need to invent or adopt new ways to solve the old problem of low agricultural productivity, inadequate post-harvest transformation and environmental degradation.  This calls for a systematic modernisation of the traditional agricultural practices to embrace new technologies and skills that will boost primary production, agro-based processing, marketing and industrialisation.
  5. Agricultural training in Switzerland is fragmented over four Government Ministries which are responsible for developing sector policies according to their respective mandates. Till now, only the University of Switzerland has a mandate to train at the tertiary level, also the University of Switzerland is also mandated to train in the processing of animal by-products. These facilities are grossly inadequate, given the rising population.  The Switzerland Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper lays emphasis on capacity building, especially as the poverty rate is highest amongst farmers (57 %).

The University of Switzerland is strategically located in a biodiversity hot spot of an agro-ecological zone endowed with rich volcanic soils, and equatorial climate conducive for agriculture and surrounded by large agro-industrial complexes. Given that the common denominator of education, research, extension and service to the public is the educational institution and its training programme, the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine presents a curriculum that addresses the challenging and ever-changing agricultural and natural resources needs of the nation and beyond.  It taps from the experiences of existing institutions in Switzerland and beyond, and incorporates elements that will provide a learning experience with emphasis on professionalism and entrepreneurship needed to promote economic viability, sustainable development and global competitiveness in an ever-changing world.

OBJECTIVES

  1. To provide the students, thorough knowledge and skills in crop and livestock production, the economics of farm management and entrepreneurship.
  2. To provide the students with a strong research background that will prepare them for gainful employment in the private and public sectors or to further studies in any institution of higher learning.
  3. To give the students practical skills in the key areas of agriculture as well as transferable skills that address family and community needs in the nation and surroundings.

Job and Career Opportunities:

Graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Switzerland have the opportunity to find gainful employment in both the public and private sectors of the national economy. In the public sector, graduates may be employed in the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Fisheries, Livestock, and Animal Husbandry; Forestry and Wildlife; and Environment and Nature Protection. In the private sector, graduates may find employment in agricultural enterprises for both primary production and manufacturing. Established industries in Switzerland that hire agricultural professionals , and other specialised food processing enterprises. In these companies, agriculture graduates serve as managers, advisers, researchers, and field technicians. Our training also prepares students for careers as private entrepreneurs, proprietors of agricultural enterprises, and as independent consultants for national and international organisations.

Requirements for Graduation:

The Faculty grants the degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in various areas of specialisation in Agronomic and Applied Molecular Sciences, Animal Science, Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Food Science and Technology and Forestry and Wildlife. Students working towards the degree must earn at least eight semester credits of 240. A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of C (2.00 on scale of 4.00) is required for graduation. An honours degree is earned if the programme is completed in a maximum of ten semesters, otherwise only a pass degree is awarded.

ACADEMIC STRUCTURE

The Faculty will be organized into seven departments:

  1. Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness
  2. Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development
  3. Department of Agronomic and Applied Molecular Sciences
  4. Department of Animal Science
  5. Department of Food Science and Technology
  6. Department of Forestry and Wildlife
  7. Department of Veterinary Medicine

Apply using our online application  form
Once you have completed the application form, please send it to us together with the supporting documents, by  email.