From farmer to graduate student at Aarhus University

A farmer training programme was not enough for Rasmus Skovgaard Stephansen. He wants to work with Danish cattle breeding and therefore had to go higher up in the education system. He recently graduated (with top marks) as a Bachelor in Agricultural and Environmental Management from Business Academy Aarhus. But Rasmus is not stopping here. In two years, if all goes well, he will earn a Master’s degree in Agrobiology.

Rasmus Skovgaard Stephansen is the first in his family to study at university, and one of the first graduates from our agricultural programme to continue at Aarhus University. His ambition is to work with Danish cattle breeding.

Not the academic type before

After his farmer training, he went to North Dakota and worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch before he came back to Denmark and applied to Business Academy Aarhus. Here he studied our AP in Environmental Management and then took our Bachelor’s top-up in Agricultural and Environmental Management, specialising in cattle. 

Read more about the environmental and agricultural programmes at Business Academy Aarhus

‘While studying at Business Academy Aarhus, I became interested in education for the first time ever. I also discovered I was good at studying’, says Rasmus, who managed to achieve almost only 12s as well as 2 prizes for his bachelor project.

Breeding internship

During his 4th semester AP degree programme, he did an internship at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, at Aarhus University in Foulum. Here he worked with skilled, highly educated people within breeding and Rasmus realised that he too would need to study further to get a job like theirs.
‘If I want to be someone within breeding, I will need a Master’s degree’.

Prize for his Bachelor’s thesis

So, Rasmus continued with one of our Bachelor top-up programmes. ‘I was in the best class with dedicated teachers and learnt a lot at a very high theoretical level,’ says Rasmus. During the bachelor programme, Rasmus did his nest obligatory internship – this time with SEGES Cattle in Skejby. Here he developed a new assessment tool to describe a breeding cow’s temperament based on data from an automatic milking system (AMS).  A task that he has just written his bachelor project on - and also won a prestigious award for.

New possibilities positive for the Danish education system

Rasmus has been admitted to Aarhus University’s master programme based on an individual assessment, where the university evaluated his professional experience, previous education, marks, awards and had a personal interview with him. 

According to Associate Professor Jakob Sehested, programme director for Agrobiology at Aarhus University, Rasmus Skovgaard Stephansen is far from the only student with a different background.
‘We admit a number of different candidates – also among foreign applicants – so there is a large variety among our students,’ says Jakob Sehested and adds:

‘It is positive that we can create some new possibilities within the  education system. Students like Rasmus contribute positively with a different and more real-life approach, and I think that in the coming years, we will admit more students with his background.’

A new route to a master’s degree

Business Academy Aarhus’ Head of Department, Lars Villemoes, is also pleased by the new route to Aarhus University’s master degree. Especially since it goes via our AP degree and Bachelor top-up programmes. 
‘Even though one starts as a farmer, you can end up having a master’s degree. The flexible new educational routes give our graduates excellent opportunities,’ says the head of department.