Student - June 4, 2009

NEW SPECIALIZATIONS: MASTER CHEF AND CUDDLING COWS

Gastronomy and Animals in Health Care are two of the new specializations to be launched next academic year at Wageningen University and Van Hall Larenstein. In the university’s MSc courses in Food Technology and Plant Sciences, specializations have been set up jointly with overseas universities, and will lead to a dual degree.

In the MSc on Food Technology there will be new specializations in Gastronomy and in Sensory Science. Gastronomy combines food technology and social science courses on topics such as consumer perceptions, local produce and molecular gastronomy. The Maastricht hotel school, the Wageningen catering college and Peter Klosse, chef at the Apeldoorn restaurant De Echoput, will all be contributing. ‘This is really food technology for the short term, and the field is made up of caterers and producers of ready meals’, says course director Ralf Hartemink.

Sensory Science is going to be taught in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, which specializes in physical reactions to food at brain level. This specialization can be followed by MSc students of both Food Technology and Nutrition and Health, and it leads to a dual degree from both Wageningen and Copenhagen.

The MSc in Plant Sciences is also going to be offering two dual degree specializations: ‘Quality and supply of fruits & berries’ with the University of Copenhagen, and ‘Vegetable production and supply systems’ with the Leibniz University in Hannover. Students spend the first year in Wageningen and the second year at the other university. The thesis is supervised by both universities. ‘The universities of Copenhagen and Hannover specialize in those subjects, so they complement Wageningen knowledge perfectly’, says course director Anja Kuipers.

From now on, MSc students of Organic Agriculture will be able to specialize in Agro Ecology, which will be offered in collaboration with the French Grande Ecole Isara-Lyon. This specialization officially starts in 2010, but students can start on it already.

At Van Hall Larenstein in Velp, a new major in Real Estate and Land Transactions will be starting as part of Forest and Nature Management. In Leeuwarden there are two new majors, Health and Food, under Food Technology, and Animals in Health Care, under Animal Management. ‘A lot of animals are being used in health care these days; the best-known example is the care farms. But there are also activities and clinical therapies involving pets and horses’, says lecturer Maaike Miedema. ‘Swimming with dolphins comes under this too, but it’s a borderline case, as the subject is really focused on pets and farm animals and not on wildlife’, she explains. At the open day there was less interest in Animals in Health Care than in Wildlife Management, which has been the biggest draw at Animal Management.

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