Tuesday, January 19, 2021

EDUCATION FEATURE 2021: Endless options at University of Limerick


Bachelor of Science in Equine Science at UL offers students choice within the course as well as an eight-month work placement

THE B.Sc degree in Equine Science at the University Limerick is perfect for students looking to pursue a career in the equine industry. The course is run over four years and gives students a wide range of choice to specialise. It also offers a two-year Certificate in Equine Science. This programme offers students the flexibility to progress to the Diploma in Equine Science and subsequently to the final year of the degree programme.

During first year students take general modules including biology, chemistry, microeconomics and equine reproduction and equine anatomy and physiology. There is an increased focus on equine learning in second year. Students study feeding and behaviour, nutrition, health and disease and much more. Non-equine subjects in second year include marketing and financial decision making.

Students begin to specialise in the third year. They choose between equine business management or equitation. Third year also include a cooperative education placement. This is an eight-month work placement students complete in an equine or equine-related enterprise.

Students doing the equine business management option develop their business knowledge, enterprise formation and development, strategic management, risk management, and business consulting. Students completing the equitation option are offered modules in young horse, equestrian facilities, performance rider development and training and managing the performance horse. Both equine business management and equitation students are required to complete a research project on an aspect of the industry as part of their fourth and final year.

The careers prospects from the course are endless and the choice offered within the course means students can tailor their learning to their own interests. There are also postgraduate options available for students who wish to continue to their education. Past students have gone on to work in a variety of roles including equine enterprise management, sports journalism, state and semi-state equine-related organisations and equine-related service industry. Last year’s CAO points requirement for the degree was 339 and 337 for the certificate.


Sean Flannery, Goffs Bloodstock Manager, BSc in Equine Science graduate

Having grown up around horses I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career involved in racing. The BSc in Equine Science at the University of Limerick afforded me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the horse and the many sports they compete in.

The option to take business or the equitation route after second year offers excellent choice and was instrumental in my decision to choose Equine Science over similar courses. There is an ideal balance of group and individual work throughout the course and it prepares you for working as part of a team as well as using your own initiative in the working world.

The co-operative education placement proved invaluable to me during my time studying. I split my placement between Coolmore Australia and Goffs in Kildare. I was lucky enough to secure an intern position at Goffs upon graduating.

Completing the Equine Science course armed me with the skillset necessary to gain employment as well as advance my career in Goffs. The range of modules covered on the programme is extensive and I found the practical elements perfectly compliment the theory taught.

This course provides students with both skills and knowledge that can be applied to many different areas within the equine world and beyond. The broad spectrum of modules on offer from equine anatomy and physiology to the various business management modules ensured that I was well equipped to deal with my varied roles in Goffs, where I am now Bloodstock Manager.

Orla Driver, Registration Manager Coolmore/Castlehyde Stud, Certificate in Equine Science graduate

The Equine Science Certificate course appealed to me as it offered a variety of subjects across different fields within the horse industry, from science to business management.

I had worked as an apprentice jockey for a prestigious trainer in the Curragh and travelled to Italy where I managed a small racing yard. On my return to Ireland I registered for the Certificate programme. I enjoyed my time in the University of Limerick immensely.

Course leaders and lecturers provided great support and encouragement. I took my co-operative education placement at Del Mar Racetrack, California and I also spent a season working with mares and foals at Castlehyde Stud. There I got the opportunity to experience the breeding aspect of the Industry and it allowed me the opportunity to experience the practical side of our scientific modules.

On completion of the certificate and diploma courses I returned to Castlehyde Stud where I was given the opportunity to travel to Coolmore Stud Australia to work with their team. I am currently responsible for the management of the registration department in Castlehyde Stud.

My responsibilities include overseeing administration, reporting to management, updating data on mares and foals, liaising with various organisations locally and internationally and updating clients on a daily basis. I am proud to be working as part of a team with one of Ireland’s leading organisations within the breeding industry.

The certificate programme at the University of Limerick provided me with the stepping stones to further my knowledge and experience in this industry in preparation for a rewarding career.

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CAO points 2020  Degree 339, Certificate 337

Bachelor of Science in Equine Science


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

virtual graduation ceremony for the BSc. Food Science and Health Class of 2020


On 5th November 2020 the Department of Biological Sciences held its first virtual graduation ceremony for the BSc. Food Science and Health Class of 2020. The event was well attended and supported, as always, by our dedicated industry partners.

Forty graduates logged on see their classmates, grateful to have marked the occasion in some way albeit far from traditional but through a computer screen. Following a welcome and congratulatory opening by the Course Director (and MC for the evening) Dr Eibhlís O’Connor, the Head of Department Dr Ioannis Zabetakis extended his well wishes to the group. Prof Dick FitzGerald followed with words of wisdom and congratulations and called the fifty-one student names on the graduation list for the Class of 2020.

Next Prof Martin Wilkinson lauded the graduates for adapting to the challenges of 2020 in the face of the global pandemic. He outlined the important role of the food sector in Ireland and highlighted the fact that despite the challenges of 2020, opportunities would still present for graduates. He then announced the Kerry Group Final Year Project award winners; receiving the bronze award was Maria Durkin, Donal Moran and Hayley Pleskach for their project entitled "The effects of fermentation on the anti-thrombotic properties and lipid profile of Irish Cider". Their supervisor was Dr Tsoupras. In second place, receiving the silver metal was Jack Comerford, Shauna Dowling and Ciara Sweeney for their project on the ‘Functional Properties of Plant and Milk Protein Blends’ supervised by Prof FitzGerald and Dr Khalesi. Finally the gold award went to Grainne Curran, Jane Fitzgerald and Rachel McCarthy for a project focusing on "An Evaluation of the Bioactivity of Selected Dietary Cereals" supervised by Dr O’Connor. Words of encouragement and advice from Research & Development Representative from Kerry Group Mr Cal Flynn followed where he outlined the very different environment graduates will now find themselves in when entering the workforce but how the food industry is adapting and responding to the changing face of the food industry during the current pandemic. 

Dr Alexandros Tsoupras congratulated the class and spoke of the journey of the graduate, reflecting on where they have come from since beginning their degree and now sailing on to pastures new. He introduced the new Dairygold Academic Achievement Award for 2020 and announced the winner as Ms Rachel McCarthy. He then introduced the Dairygold representative, Mr George MacLeod (Head of Innovation & New Product Development) who offered words of support to the graduates and wished them well in their future careers.

Finally, the 2020 Class Representative, Ms Alison Hurley said a few words on behalf of her class where she recounted fond memories from their time in UL and thanked the course team, lecturers, support staff for their help and guidance during the last four years.

With all the formalities compete, Eibhlís thanked those who attended with their families, industry representatives, dept staff especially Ms Ber Norris for her help with organising the event. A recording of the event was sent to all those who could not attend on the evening. Lastly, with a ‘cheese’ and a grin, a virtual class photo was taken (and again….and again! see below). And with the words of Green Day echoing in the background we waved our Class of 2020 farewell and hoped they had the time of their lives!