Science - July 6, 2006

Health and food are popular subjects

The Wageningen Bachelor’s programmes look set to draw at least four percent more school leavers than last year. The biggest growth in applications has been for Food Technology and the new programme Health and Society. Applications for Molecular sciences are down by more than half, according to application statistics from the national IB group.

Programme director Dr Ralf Hartemink describes the doubling of applications for Food Technology as remarkable. ‘It goes against the trend towards the hard sciences. We are not entirely sure of the cause, but we think it’s partly due to the success of our website food-info.net. There were half a million visitors in May. Even if only a few of these come here to study, you can still conclude that it contributes to attracting students.’ The increased interested from abroad in the Master’s in Food Technology indicates that the internationally oriented website is doing its work.

One of the programmes with fewer applications is Animal Sciences. The programme is now back at the level of three years ago, after attracting considerably larger numbers in the last couple of years. Programme coordinator Dr René Kwakkel: ‘We are noticing that an increasing number of high-school graduates are choosing to go first to more vocational colleges. They regard these as an easier option, where the study is practically oriented, and they do not necessarily have to done specific right subjects at school. Our master’s programme also fits well with the animal courses at the agricultural colleges. The effect of broadening the programme to include companion animals now also seems to be declining, compared with a few years ago. / JH

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