Digitalization on the riseTechnological progress has always changed working conditions in agriculture. While it was the new tractors in the early 20th century, the topic of digitalization now plays a much greater role. The topics of sustainability, animal welfare and resource conservation have also gained in importance. The School of Life Sciences at the Technical University of Munich has adapted to this dynamic by appointing a total of 12 new professors in recent years and creating new specialized professorships.
The modern orientation is reflected in both research and teaching. The special feature of the Master’s program "Agricultural Systems Science" is the joint consideration of the "system" of agricultural sciences. Students should understand the interrelationships between soil, plants, animals, technology and economics and recognize the complexity of the various interfaces. This gives them a comprehensive education with a deep scientific background.
Smart Farming - Modern Technologies in Agriculture
In the field of precision agriculture, for example, drones, satellites or field robots are used. "We monitor and measure the reaction of plants to their environment, using the latest technology such as imaging and machine learning" explains Prof. Kang Yu from the Professorship of Precision Agriculture at the TUM School of Life Sciences. In this way, the students learn how resources can be used efficiently and sustainably with modern technology. This includes, for example, the precise application of fertilizers, irrigation and plant protection, mechanical weed removal or monitoring of yields..
Stress-tolerant crops defy climate change
The effects of climate change are already being felt in agriculture, with drought or heat stress affecting harvests. Gerd Patrick Bienert, Professor of Crop Physiology, teaches on the topics of crop physiology and plant nutrition. In a kind of ’field lab,’ for example, students learn to use nutrients from mineral and organic fertilizers in the agroecosystem in an environmentally sound way. "In addition to lectures and seminars, practicals and projects play an important role in our courses, where students conduct plant experiments in the greenhouse and climate chambers but also in field experiments," says Prof. Bienert. The goal of the practical studies is to produce healthy and robust food that can withstand the effects of climate change.
Research on sustainable livestock production, especially animal welfare
The issue of sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in farm animal husbandry. "The goal is to reduce food competition with humans, protect the environment and improve animal welfare," explains Julia Steinhoff-Wagner, professor of animal nutrition and metabolism. She is currently conducting research on the nutrition and feeding hygiene of newborn farm animals. Students can use animals to conduct observational studies or collect samples to learn more about animal health and nutrition. Through field trips, projects or theses in collaboration with farms, students also interact regularly with practitioners. The synergy effects with other agricultural institutions on campus, such as the State Institute for Agriculture, provide students with a wide range of insights into future fields of work.
Future-oriented selection of subjects
Master’s students learn about the systemic interactions of agriculture and can set their own priorities thanks to the broad range of subjects offered. This prepares them for professional fields both within classical agriculture and outside, for example with associations, in politics or with the media.
Various bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to choose from
In addition to the Master’s program in Agricultural Systems Science (M.Sc.), TUM offers the Master’s program in Agricultural Biosciences (M.Sc.) and the Bachelor’s program in Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (B.Sc.). The application deadline for the admission-restricted master’s programs is May 31. An application for the Bachelor’s degree program with open admission is possible until September 15.