Skip to content

Agriculture Level 3 Extended Diploma

  • Level(s) of Study: Further education
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Two years
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


Our Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture is equivalent to three A-levels and is designed to fully prepare you for Higher Education or to go directly into the agricultural industries. Through both classroom and practical activities, you will deepen your knowledge of livestock, crops and machinery. The course provides ample opportunities to engage with the farming community through visits and work experience.

Download a course brochure

Lecturer Elizabeth Lakesman is on Unibuddy to answer any questions you may have about our Agriculture courses.

  • Brackenhurst is set in stunning countryside just a bus ride away from Nottingham city centre, next to the town of Southwell.
  • At Brackenhurst, you’ll have access to incredible facilities. These include an Animal Unit, Equestrian Centre, laboratories, library and gardens and fields that are overflowing with plants and wildlife.
  • Studying with us means that you’ll be a part of an amazing learning environment. You get all the perks of being part of a big university, but you will still enjoy the comforts of a friendly college.
  • Our courses have great progression routes to further study. You can even study one of NTU’s degrees right here at Brackenhurst, and may be eligible to receive an offer one grade lower than the standard entry tariff.

Why choose Brackenhurst

Brackenhurst is the rural campus of Nottingham Trent University and, as the centre of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, we are passionate about the countryside and farming. Our mission is to make you industry-ready and career-focused individuals, so that you are ready to take the industry forward.

Brackenhurst is only a bus journey away from Nottingham city centre. However, it feels a world away from the city when you see the stunning Nottinghamshire countryside within which Brackenhurst is located. Our college courses run alongside degree courses - all taught by tutors who are skilled, experienced and supportive.

At Brackenhurst we have a commercially managed pedigree beef herd, sheep flock and arable farm that makes up our 200-hectare estate. You’ll have access to an excellent range of facilities, including a beef roundhouse, new grain store and lambing building, machinery workshops, laboratories, lecture rooms, computer suites and library. We also have an extensive range of farm machinery including tractors fitted with GPS equipment that you’ll learn with.

Brackenhurst prides itself on providing you with a friendly and supportive learning environment. Our college courses are taught by tutors who have spent time working in industry, therefore transferring their skills and experience, with a focus on making you industry ready.

Links with the agricultural industry

Brackenhurst has strong links with many local farming businesses, which helps your studies by either allowing us to visit their farm or being a guest speaker at Brackenhurst. Many also provide opportunities for students to complete work experience. Nottingham has a rich variety of farming businesses including field scale vegetable, dairy, beef, poultry, pig and arable farms as well as the allied industries like animal feed manufacturing.

Getting here

Brackenhurst is easy to get to. We’re just 14 miles from Nottingham city centre, next to the town of Southwell. Find out more about getting here.

What you’ll study

This course will provide you with ample opportunity to work outdoors, where you will learn about crop husbandry, livestock husbandry, as well as machinery maintenance and tractor driving. These varied sessions are delivered by our own teaching and technical teams who have extensive subject knowledge and experience.

      Professional working responsibilities

      You will investigate the impact that professional working responsibilities have on personal welfare. You will learn about health and safety legislation, safe working practices, risk assessments, and the professional skills required to work safely and effectively in the land-based sectors. You will develop skills in and knowledge of good practice and professional responsibility towards self and others in the workplace, including the duty of care for the environment, relating this to resource efficiency and responsible management. You will develop a sound understanding of personal and professional responsibilities required to enter employment, with a strong awareness of how to be safe and keep others safe.

      Plant and soil science

      You will develop an understanding of external and internal plant structures, including plant cells. You will learn about the relationship between these structures and their function, such as how they obtain their nutrition and how they reproduce. You will gain an understanding of important life processes of plants and how these are affected by their environment. You will learn about the physical and chemical characteristics of soil. You will also learn different types of soil, their characteristics and the essential nutrition in soils that plants need to ensure their success.

      Land-based machinery operations

      You will explore machines relevant to your particular sector of the industry, developing practical skills and understanding of the different conditions in which machinery might need to operate. You will learn how to carry out pre-start checks and maintenance on these machines as well as the safe use and operation of the machine for a variety of tasks. The skills and knowledge gained in this unit will help you to manage the potential dangers involved in operating land-based machinery.

      Managing Agricultural environments

      You will study the changes in farming practices and their impact on the environment. You will undertake habitat and species surveys to measure this impact. You will plan and carry out habitat management in order to reduce the impact of agricultural activities on the environment.

      Work experience in the land-based sectors

      As well as investigating employment opportunities, you will examine how good communication and employability skills can improve your prospects in gaining and staying in employment. You will learn how and where to access information about employment vacancies and further courses of study as well as how to develop your curriculum vitae (CV) and adapt it for specific vacancies. You will also learn how to develop good communication, interview and customer service skills. You will apply for and take on available work experience roles in the sector and reflect on your own progress.

      Crop production

      You will gain the skills needed to identify a range of commercially grown crops and their products, including annual, biennial and perennial plants. You will find out how and why crops are grown in specific situations and how crop growth is maintained throughout the production cycle. This will include recognising weeds, pests, diseases and deficiency symptoms, together with recommendations of remedial action that can be undertaken. You will understand the principles of harvesting and develop harvesting skills. You will investigate how crops are monitored in store, and consider how crops are treated while there, to maintain them in an acceptable condition. In order to maintain or improve the quality of crop products, you will learn about conditioning, cleaning, sorting and grading, together with the use of associated equipment.

      Farm livestock husbandry

      You will explore a range of farming systems and develop specialist knowledge and understanding of farmed livestock handling and husbandry. You will explore farm livestock nutrition and feed systems, creating balanced diets that meet the needs of the animal and the producer. You will develop the skills and experience needed to confidently and safely manage large and sometimes unpredictable animals.

      Livestock health and diseases

      You will study the causes, signs and treatments of illness and disease in livestock, along with how pathogens and parasites grow, reproduce and cause infection. This will help you to understand infection identification and control, and the different treatment options available. You will explore practical ways to assess and manage livestock health, how to apply treatments and implementation of preventative measures. You will learn about the importance of managing livestock health along with monitoring and recording health and health care interventions.

      Contemporary issues in the land-based sectors

      You will consider the issues affecting the sector, for example environmental politics, emerging technologies and working practices. When you are exploring these contemporary issues, you will apply your skills to make judgements about the relevance and importance of the issue to the agricultural industry.

      Agricultural enterprise operations and supervision

      You will explore the operation of an agricultural enterprise, its purpose and objectives. You will carry out an evaluation of the management processes and management activities and use your evaluation to prepare recommendations for possible improvements to the management processes and to produce a personal development plan.

      Agricultural business improvements

      You will learn about the features of agricultural businesses, their scope and importance, and the markets in which they operate. You will investigate the external and internal influences that have an impact on the performance of a business, including customer trends and legislation. You will carry out a review of a business’s performance to identify and recommend changes or alternatives to its operations in order to improve performance.

      Estate skills

      You will develop the knowledge and skills needed to manage the repair, maintenance and installation of boundaries, structures and surfaces in the farm setting. You will learn to plan, implement and reflect on maintenance tasks and develop experience and confidence in using practical skills in a range of situations. You will also gain an understanding of project management, including knowledge of health and safety and environmental legislation.

      Root crop and field vegetable production

      You will develop the skills and knowledge required to produce commodities that are frequently destined for the human consumption market. As such, these crops and vegetables must meet the highest food quality standards as both quality and traceability are increasingly important matters of public interest. You will investigate fundamental root crop production requirements, following the product from the field through to processing and undertake husbandry tasks associated with the production of root crops and field vegetables.

      Beef production

      You will investigate the types of production system used across the UK, and the process of breeding and rearing animals. You will explore the different breeds and their production characteristics, and the importance of selecting suitable breeds. You will carry out routine feeding and husbandry tasks throughout the production cycle as part of the management of calves and adult animals. You will find out how production affects animal welfare and develop skills in meeting the nutritional requirements of cattle at different stages in the production cycle, including feed ingredients and ration formulation. You will develop a clear understanding of the legal, economic and environmental factors, health and safety and welfare legislation that contribute to decision making in beef production.

      Dairy production

      You will investigate different dairy production systems such as housed systems, the grass-based system, the extensively grazed system and the associated cow and calf accommodation. You will carry out routine feeding and husbandry tasks throughout the production cycle as part of the management of breeding cows and newborn calves. You will find out how production affects animal welfare and develop skills in meeting the nutritional requirements of cows at different stages in the production cycle, including feed ingredients and ration formulation. You will develop a clear understanding of the legal, economic and environmental factors that contribute to dairy production.

      Grass and forage crop production

      You will investigate the wide range of grass and forage crops produced across the UK. This will include the husbandry of forage crops, and study their establishment and growth. This unit will give you the opportunity to undertake practical grazing management tasks and to make relevant recommendations for a forage crop. You will research the harvesting, storage and utilisation of forage crops by a range of livestock species, developing a sound understanding of yield and nutritive content as methods of evaluating the potential feed value of forage crops for feeding livestock.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Our current students and recent graduates tell you all about their time at NTU and what they've gone on to do next.

Student Profiles

Joshua Adams De Banke


NTU provided me with the knowledge and skills that without, I wouldn’t have understood most things going on when I went into work. I enjoy having the opportunity to learn new skills that I wouldn’t have thought possible until I was much older.

Libby Hornbuckle


I thoroughly enjoyed the lambing element of the agriculture course and am really enjoying learning about animal nutrition.

Video Gallery

Take a look at why you should study your college course at Brackenhurst. You can also learn more about the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the Agriculture course with our facility tour and taster session videos.
Video Icon

How you’re taught

You'll spend time learning in our industry leading facilities through a mixture of lectures, group discussions, practical demonstrations and hands-on experience with livestock, crops and machinery.

An important element of the course are our visits to leading vegetable growers, organic dairy farmers and industry shows. This allows you to broaden your horizons.

The course includes a work placement allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge in agriculture by working on a farm, enhancing your chances of employment after you complete your studies. You can work with local farmers, agronomists, nutritionists or in connected industries such as the National Farmers Union.

How you’ll be assessed

The majority of your assessments will be written work, practical assessments or presentations, but there are some modules for which the assessment is an external exam.

Staff Profiles

Charlotte Jeffrey


School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Charlotte Jeffrey is a lecturer for Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture.

Careers and employability

After completing this course, there are a number of options and routes that you can take. You could choose to continue your studies into Higher Education or pursue a career in an agriculture-related industry. There is an option, once you have achieved the right combination of results, to continue your studies into one of NTU’s degree courses.

Future jobs within the agricultural industry that are attainable with a Level 3 qualification include:

  • Machinery Salesperson - you could earn up to £30,000 per year
  • Nutritionist - you could earn up to £55,000 per year
  • Dairy Herd Manager - you could earn up to £43,000 per year
  • Agronomist - you could earn up to £45,500 per year
  • Senior tractor driver - you could earn up to £55,000 per year

Additional certificates

As well as completing your course, you will have the opportunity to undertake additional industry-focused certificates including:

  • Telehandler
  • Spreaders and Sprayers
  • Safe use of veterinary medicines

You'll also learn to drive agricultural machinery such as quads and tractors.

Please note, this Level 3 course alone is unlikely to allow you to progress to study veterinary medicine at degree level.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Study an agriculture course at Brackenhurst and you’ll have access to some fantastic facilities.

Our campus is home to a working farm that grows a mixture of crops including wheat, barley and oilseed rape. We have a herd of award-winning pedigree cattle, as well as a flock of sheep. We also have a range of farm machinery that you’ll get to learn with, including two tractors fitted with modern self-steering equipment. Your course includes hands-on, practical lessons at the farm.

As well as your subject-specific facilities, you’ll also find:

  • a modern campus with modern classrooms and teaching areas
  • a library and fully equipped computer suites
  • a number of highly equipped specialised laboratories
  • on site careers and employability service
  • a range of dining facilities and Costa Coffee
  • our student shop
  • a number of common rooms and social spaces.

Entry requirements

For 2023 entry you'll need:

  • Four GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above including:
    • Science
    • Maths or English Language (with the other subject at grade 3 / D or above).
  • We will accept students with grade 3 / D in Maths or English Language where the other subject is at least grade 4 / C. You will need to complete Maths or English Language GCSE retakes as a mandatory part of your study programme.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Applications are welcome from mature and international students.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299.

We welcome applications from international students. Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 to discuss how your qualifications match our course requirements.

Fees and funding

If you are aged 16-18 and applying for a Level 2 or 3 course

There are no course fees if you’re aged under 19 on 31 August of the year you start your course.

If you are aged 19+ and applying for a Level 2, Level 3 or Access to Higher Education course

If you’re studying your first full Level 3 or Access to Higher Education qualification you may be eligible for free tuition. You will still need to pay the registration fee applicable for your course.

If you are applying for the Level 2 qualification or have already completed a full Level 3 qualification, tuition and registration fees will apply.

To cover the cost of tuition when applying for a Level 3 and Access to Higher Education qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan from the UK Government. It is easy to apply, your household income is not taken into account and there is no credit check. You will not have to pay anything back until your income is over £25,000.

Please visit fees and funding information for more information.

Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 for more information on fees and funding.

How to apply

Applying is really easy. Follow our step-by-step guide below.

Fill in an application form

  • Download an application form. Remember to show your passion for your chosen subject in your personal statement.
  • Provide contact details for two referees - usually one teacher from your current School or College and one character reference which could refer to any volunteering, work experience or hobbies you may have (i.e. Sea Scouts, sports clubs etc.). Alternatively, this can be a long standing family friend or neighbour.

Come for an interview

  • If you meet the criteria for the course, we’ll invite you in for an interview. We’ll send you details of what will happen on the day in advance through the post. Don’t panic! Our tutors are really friendly and will help you to do your best.

Get your offer

  • We’ll write to you and let you know how you got on at the interview. Hopefully we’ll be able to offer you a place on the course. This offer might be conditional on your upcoming exam results – for example GCSEs.

Accept your offer

  • You need to tell us that you want to accept your offer of a place by returning your confirmation slip to us or calling us on 0115 848 5299.

Get your exam results

  • If you’re taking GCSEs or other exams, you’ll get your results over the summer. Once you’ve got your results you need to let us know what they are. Then we can confirm your place.

Start at Brackenhurst

  • We’ll send out all the information you need to start with us in the post at the end of August. We hold an enrolment day in the first week of September. This allows you to get your student ID and start meeting your new friends and tutors.

Any questions?

Just drop us a line – we’re here to help every step of the way. You can email us or give us a call on 0115 848 5299.

Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 for more information on how to apply.

More from School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences