The Master Study Course "International Agricultural Management" (IMA) at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (HSWT)
The International Master Course "Agricultural Management" IMA (Master of Science – M.Sc.) at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, Department Agriculture, is based on over 20 years of development and practical experience. Initially it was conceptualized as postgraduate studies and was transformed into a Master Course in the year 2000. The existing program has the objective to qualify German and foreign specialists and executive staff in an application-oriented way in order to support the advancement of high-performing and sustainable agricultural production systems and the development of rural areas. Up until the Winter Semester 2019/20, about 1,920 students of 45 universities from 38 countries have participated in the course so far.
The study program is unique in its structure. It is characterized by a strong practical orientation and a high degree of students’ active work. It was developed by lecturers with long-term practical experience and deliberately builds upon the strengths of the Agricultural Education Center at Triesdorf Campus. The modular structure of the study course provides flexibility for continuous development of further contents and methods or the supplementation of single elements.
Generally, a focus is given to interactive teaching methods like seminars, presentations and field studies, as well as practical contents such as real case studies, to qualify the students multilaterally and according to the professional demands. Furthermore, the development of the individual profiles of students is promoted by an above average percentage of compulsory electives (50%). Integral part of the application-oriented education is a first practical semester. It is conducted in specifically selected farms and supplemented by complementary lectures and project works as well as language courses at the University of Applied Sciences.
The combination of theory and practice is particularly appreciated by foreign students, as the education in their home countries often lacks substantial practical elements.
In addition to student exchange, the knowledge and technology transfer with partner countries is also of great importance. The export of the IMA offers important impulses for necessary reform and modernization in the educational sector of partner countries. Following the developmental aspect of the program, foreign partner universities are intensively involved in the selection of participants and the execution of the study course. Seventeen foreign partner universities have introduced the complete IMA or respective elements so far; two of them even offer the study course entirely in German language. The extension and the ongoing export ambitions of the IMA are improving the student exchange between partner universities and encourage the attainment of double degrees.
The IMA was honored several times. In 2008 it received the Quality Label, lent by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to be one of the the ten best performing International Master Study Courses at German universities. Criteria were an innovative concept, scientifically and practically oriented lectures, a high degree of internationalization, measures for quality assessment, an elaborate mentoring concept as well as a convincing balance of graduates.
In June 2013 the IMA came out on top of an international competition with its concept for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The study course hereby is one of the innovative forces to use most modern methods and instruments to make lectures “interactive, collaborative, worldwide freely available” using the internet. (iversity.org)
IMA on the HSWT homepage