Specialisation: Agroecology

Due to concerns about the sustainability of conventional farming practices, food safety issues and pollution of the environment, an ever ever-growing group of consumers is demanding natural and wholesome agricultural products that are produced in an environmentally-friendly and socially acceptable manner. Organic agriculture is a form of agriculture that could satisfy these requirements.

Scientific ecological farming practices

In addition to the demand for organic products by consumers in industrialised countries, there is a need for scientific ecological farming practices in developing countries and countries in economic distress, since farmers in those regions cannot afford external inputs such as pesticides, fertilisers or expensive seeds. A systems approach that integrates interdisciplinary knowledge is crucial to the study of different aspects of plant and animal production at various integration levels ranging from crop and herd to farm and rural area.

Courses are geared towards: analysis and design of sustainable, organic farming systems; insight into the relationships between plant and animal production, soil and natural habitats; understanding management options for sustainable, organic farming compared with conventional farming; ethics of animal welfare; biodiversity conservation; insight into factors affecting plant and animal health; and quality of organic products. Finally, students learn to conduct action research, including the appropriate evaluation methodology, and participate in research projects involving organic farming systems or rural development.


Courses for the specialisation Agroecology are listed in the online Study Handbook.


Students in this specialisation can do their major thesis at six different Chair Groups within Wageningen University. Visit their website to find out more about their research and possible thesis subjects: