Courses throughout the UK categorised as Agriculture and related subjects saw the biggest leaps in new student numbers at both undergraduate (four per cent) and post graduate (29 per cent) levels from 2013/14 to 2014/15.

The 29 per cent increase in postgraduate agriculture students was leagues ahead of all other advances, the closest being 10 per cent for subjects allied to medicine.

The figures are supported by the position at Harper Adams University where, for example, the entomology (study of insects) suite of postgraduate courses, has seen numbers double in just four years.

“At recent HE events, Harper Adams has been bucking the trend in reporting a rise in postgraduate numbers” explained Alex Hardie, postgraduate marketing manager. “Our undergraduate numbers are growing too, with more than 700 first degree students having started this year.

“€œThe agri-food sector is screaming out for highly knowledgeable graduates, and thanks to our strong links with industry and excellent employability rating, our students know that taking a course at Harper Adams will lead to a successful, fulfilling career.

“There has never been a better time to start postgraduate study in this field and the sector is booming. People will always have to eat and“ with the global population set to reach £9 billion by 2050, there are some serious challenges to be met.”

Additionally, Masters-level study has just become achievable for more people, with the introduction of postgraduate loans by the Government. Anyone up to the age of 60 can get a £10,000 loan, repayable on similar terms to undergraduate degree loans, to pay for their tuition.