The Faculty of Agriculture at a Glance
The Faculty of Agriculture at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad was established in 1974 with the aim of training professional and skilled specialists in various fields of agriculture. The general purpose of establishing this faculty in the eastern section of Iran was to produce quality workforce at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels with the aim of advancing activities in the planning, production, processing, maintenance, and distribution of agricultural and food products for the growing population of the country.
The faculty of Agriculture commenced its educational activities in September 1975 with bachelor’s programs in the two fields of Agronomy and Food Sciences and Technology and went on to admit students in other majors throughout the years. At present,in the educational year of 2014-2015, the faculty has 1,207 students enrolled in various bachelor’s programs, 725 students in master’s programs and 721 students in doctoral programs.
Since its foundation, this faculty has had approximately 40,000 graduates at different academic levels and in various majors. Over the past few years, the research findings of faculty members at this faculty have had a substantial effect on the country’s planning by executive organizations and has also led to an increase in crop production. The faculty members of this faculty have completed joint educational, research, and counseling projects in various fields with numerous executive organizations, including the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Power; Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization; Industries Administration; Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran; and so on. This faculty has also been highly active in holding seminars and scientific conferences.
- Agricultural Economics: Agricultural Economics is defined as a set of sciences and methodsdiscussing economic factors in agriculture, financial relationships between agricultural production agents, and the application of financial principles in agricultural production and development. Due to limitations and a paucity of production resources (fields, water, manpower, funds, and so on) in agriculture, it is necessary to train specialists who can use their knowledge and experience in the fields of “Agricultural Planning,” “Agricultural Production Economics,” and “Analysis of Agricultural Development Plans” to perform activities at different levels (national, inter-regional, and international).
- The Department of Agricultural Economics was established in 1995. The Department of Agricultural Economics currently has 10 faculty members; four hold the academic rank of Professor, two hold the academic rank of Associate Professor, and four hold the academic rank of Assistant Professor. The staff specialize in the four branches of Agricultural Development and Policy (3 staff), Agricultural Production Management (4 staff),Trade and Econometrics (1 staff), Agricultural Education and Advancement (1 staff)
- Department of Biotechnology and Plant Breeding
- Biotechnology includes various techniques designed for the benefit of man with the purpose of genetically enhancing or exploiting live beings and their parts. In fact, biotechnology is a product of interaction between the two sciences of biology and technology. The department trains professional graduates in Agricultural Biotechnology both at the master’s and doctoral levels. This department also admits master’s students into the major of Plant Breeding,
- Employment opportunities for Biotechnology graduates include, but are not limited to: employment at the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran, the National Genetic Engineering Research Center or other research institutes. Graduates can also work as coordinators and directors in the field of agricultural biotechnology or alternatively teach biotechnology-related courses at agricultural faculties and institutes. They can also collect, identify, and preserve microorganisms related to the field of agriculture at cell banks. Another possible activity for graduates of the field is to conduct research on biological products such as biological poisons, biological fertilizers, and valuable products used in food, agriculture, and other related industries.
- This department is equipped with 1- tissue culture 2- genetics 3- genetic engineering 4- Genomics and plant metabolites laboratories.
- This department currently has three Full Professors, three Associate Professors, and two Assistant Professors.
Edible Mushroom Research center
The Edible Mushroom Research Center, with an area of 220 square meters, was constructed in 2002 and contains a laboratory, pasteurization room, boiler room, autoclave, a 25 degree Celsius room, four mushroom production rooms, and all equipment needed for mushroom cultivation. At this center, graduate students work on thesis research concerning edible mushrooms.
Department of Biosystems Engineering
• The Department of Biosystems Engineering (formerly known as the Department of “Agricultural Machinery Engineering”) was founded in 1994 with the aim of producing specialists in the design, building, and application of agricultural machinery and equipment in the eastern regions of Iran. Subsequent to the revisions made to agricultural majors in 2013, this major’s name was changed to “Biosystems Engineering.” At present, the department consists of 10 faculty members (one Professor, three Associate Professors and six Assistant Professors) and three emeritus members, conducting research into the two connected fields of “Mechanics of Biosystems” and “Agricultural Mechanization”. The department offers courses and programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
- The department’s laboratories and workshops include the following: machine tool workshop, welding and bending workshop, agricultural machinery workshop, agricultural machinery testing and evaluation workshop, crop tissue testing laboratory, biogas laboratory, image processing and machine vision, biofuels laboratory, engine and energy transformation laboratory, power and electronics laboratory.
Department of Soil Science
The bachelor’s program of Soil Science in the Department of Soil Science commenced its specialized activities by admitting 25 students in 1994 and began offering master’s programs in 2000 and doctoral programs in 2009.
Considering the available potentials at the Department of Soil Science of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, students in the bachelor’s programs will acquire the following set of skills and proficiencies: the identification of soil formation, composition, development and transformation phases, the identification and classification of agricultural soils and the ability to map them, the identification of physical, chemical, and biological factors influencing plant growth, the identification of physical, chemical, and biological behavior of soils, the identification and management of soil fertility and plant nutrition, the identification and management of environmental pollutants in soil and water resources, the identification of factors involved in soil erosion and soil management and soil conservation. Upon acquiring the necessary proficiencies, master’s and doctoral students will be able to undertake research projects into Soil Science and Environment.
This department enjoys educational and research laboratories of chemistry and soil fertility, soil biology, general soil science, and soil physics
- A Full Professor, four Associate Professors, and two Assistant Professors currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
Department of Agronomy
The Department of Agronomy at the Faculty of Agriculture has been a pioneer in the field and has made remarkable progress during the four decades of its scientific activity in both the functional and scientific aspects of Agronomy Sciences.
As of this writing (September 2014), this department consists of 19 faculty members, six Full Professors, 106 bachelor’s students, 75 master’s students and 151 doctoral students. The Center for Excellence in Special Crops and the Focal Point for Organic Agriculture in Iran (Focal Point for Science & Industry Coordination of Organic Agriculture in Iran)is one of the centers related to this department.
This department’s outlook on crop production is based on region-friendly production and environmentalism, while creating an all-around and consolidated attitude toward agricultural production. Therefore, this department is striving to encourage interdisciplinary teaching in the department and to teach aspects of Agronomy which are based on maintaining basic resources, and thus increase competence in the employment of environmental protection. Regional changes and global warming will be the axes of this department’s educational and research activities in the future.
- Seven Full Professors, nine Associate Professors, and an Assistant Professor currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
The many laboratories of this department include the following: weed, applied botany, environmental stress physiology, crop physiology, agroecology.
Subsidiary Units of the Departments of Agronomy and Plant Breeding
This farm, with an area of 200 hectares, is located in Torogh. The farm at the Faculty of Agriculture has two deep, water wells, which produce an average of 60 liters of water per second. The water yielded from these wells enters the conservation pool capable of storing 3500 cubic meters of water which can later be used to irrigate the farmlands during the day. The main function of this farm is to produce grains, plants, and fodder for animal farming units as well as providing students with the means of conducting small- to large-scale projects (65 hectares of land is devoted to cultivating fall crops, such as oat, and 40 hectares is dedicated to farming spring crops, such as alfalfa and corn).
Twenty hectares of the faculty’s farm is enclosed and used exclusively for research by faculty members and graduate students. One of the most significant functions of this center is collecting and producing crops and maintaining valuable plant resources of the region.
The medicinal herb garden located at the farm has an area of 1.5 hectares, in which 60 medicinal species are cultivated. Furthermore, seven hectares of the farm is allocated to planting organic crops.
With a total area of 1100 square meters, the Research Greenhouse at the Faculty of Agriculture was purchased from the Netherlands in 1985 and consists of 16 separate greenhouse ranges (60 square meters per range). Faculty members, doctoral, and master’s students conduct their research projects in these greenhouse ranges.
The greenhouse is equipped with an automatic weather station (intelligent weather station system- automated environmental controls). Heating, relative humidity, Carbon dioxide, lighting and watering can be programed and controlled automatically and independently for each greenhouse range.
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Engineering
Successful gardening involves combining knowledge, technique, and art in fields, such as Botany, Plant Physiology, Soil Science/Plant Nutrition, Genetics/Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology, Fruit/Vegetable Gardening, Floriculture, Medicinal herbs, and Landscape Design. Our undergraduate program includes two majors: Horticulture and Landscape Engineering. The aim of these programs is to train individuals who can serve the society as specialists in different production, regional planning, and academic fields, or as educators at agricultural education and research institutes, or as administrators and directors at governmental and private production units. Master’s students currently study in four branches of the field, namely Ornamental Plants, Fruit Gardening, Vegetable Gardening, and Herbs. Students must pass a total of 32 units during throughout the course of this program. The doctoral program at the Department of Horticulture was established in 2010 by admitting 11 students into the branches of Fruit Tree Physiology and Breeding, Vegetable Physiology and Breeding, and Ornamental Plant Physiology and Breeding.
- Three Full Professors, an Associate Professor, five Assistant Professors, and a Lecturer currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
List of the department’s laboratories: Graduate Education Laboratory, Ornamental Plants Laboratory, Plant Physiology Laboratory, Tissue Culture Laboratory, Design Ateliers 1 and 2
The Department of Animal Science
Animal Science is described as "studying the biology of animals that are under the control of humankind." The bachelor’s program for Animal Husbandry was founded in 1967, and the admission of students in the master’s program began in 1979.Since 2001, the Department of Animal Science of the Faculty of Agriculture has been one of the candidates of becoming the center of excellence in Animal Science in Iran. The teaching activities of this department is based on the bachelor’s programs of Livestock and Poultry; master’s programs of Nutrition (branches of Livestock and Poultry), Physiology and Animal Breeding, and Genetics; and the doctoral programs of Nutrition (branches of Poultry Nutrition and Ruminant Nutrition), and Animal Breeding and Genetics (Molecular and Quantitative branches). The aim of this major is to train experts and specialists who can go beyond their duties in formulating management solutions and the affairs of livestock and poultry units and in comparison to those with associate degrees, be the source of more extensive, valuable services in research, planning and extension in Animal Science.
- Seven Full Professors, five Associate Professors, and six Assistant Professors currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
This department includes Nutrition Laboratory 1, Livestock Feeding Laboratory 1, Instrumental Analysis Laboratory, Animal Physiology Laboratory, Central Laboratory, IGY Room, Quail Room, Cell Culture Laboratories 1 and 2, Livestock Feeding Laboratory 2, Gene Expression Laboratory, Genomics Laboratory, Proteomics Laboratory, Electrophoresis Laboratory, Chicken Slaughterhouse, and Rumination Laboratory.
Subsidiary Units of the Department of Animal Science
Livestock and Poultry Research Facility
The Livestock and Poultry Research Facility consists of the following farming units: Broiler Farm, Laying Hen Teaching and Research Unit with an area of 600 square meters and 6500 bird capacity, Broiler Research Unit (4 units), Quail Teaching and Research Unit, Sheep Farm which also has a modern barn and spring barn and the capacity to hold 600 sheep and goat, Ostrich Farm (Teaching and Research Unit) and a farm with the purpose of producing the facility’s fodder.This center is equipped with a livestock and poultry feed production factory, machinery workshop and metabolic and nutrition laboratories.
Dairy Cattle Research Center
Capable of keeping 512 purebred cows, Dairy Cattle Research center consists of various divisions, such as an area for raising cattle, heifers, milking cows; a storage and mixer mill complex, silos, research halls, clinics, laboratories, and housing units for both staff and students. In addition to providing convenient services for students and researchers, this center is one of the best dairy farms in the region and country in terms of its production- and service-provision standards.Besides its function as an educational and research facility, the faculty’s dairy cattle research center provides (on average) 4.5 tons of raw milk per day for the region’s dairy industry.
Department of Food Sciences and Technology
The field of Food Sciences and Technology has its focus on the physical, chemical, and biological qualities of agricultural products (i.e., crops and livestock products) for processing and maintenance purposes. This field also studies the selection, preservation, processing, maintenance, and distribution of these products.
The purpose of our program is to train professionals who can maintain industrial facilities of food manufacturing with their scientific knowledge, and to support the development of these industries in agricultural-industrial regions in addition to participating in academic and research affairs of this major.
- Four Full Professors, six Associate Professors, and five Assistant Professors currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
The laboratories of this department include Graduate Food Technology Laboratory, Canning Laboratory, Meat and Meat Products Laboratory, Food Products Formulation and Sensory Evaluation Laboratory, Biophysics Laboratory, Packaging Laboratory, Academic Research on Food Chemistry Laboratory, Modern Technologies Research Center, Central Laboratory, Confectionary and Snacks Laboratory, Sugar Technology Laboratory, Dairy Technology Laboratory, Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, Industrial Microbiology Laboratory, Vegetable Processing Laboratory, and Organic Chemistry Laboratory.
Food Sciences and Technology Complex
The Food Sciences and Technology Complex of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is equipped with production lines for various canned, dairy, meat, bread, and confectionery products. This complex has been established to assist the educational activities of the faculty members and students of this department. With three production halls, subzero and above-zero cold storage rooms, boiler and air compressor rooms, and production lines, the Food Science and Technology Complex is one of the biggest educational and research complexes among all respective university complexes in Iran.
Department of Plant Pathology
In 1992, the Department of Plant Pathology began its activities and during the next years, this department developed in the educational division by the establishment of graduate programs in the major of Plant Pathology and the major of Agricultural Entomology. The branches in the two majors of this department, Plant Pathology and Agricultural Entomology, include the following: The four branches in the master’s program of the major of Plant Pathology are Mycology, Virology, Prokaryote Plant Pathogens, and Nematology. In Entomology, students study in the branches of Biological Control and Insect Pathology, Ecology and Management, Systematics, and Toxicology branches. The doctoral program has had two generations of graduates, and the first generation of doctoral students of Entomology have finished their educational courses and started their theses research activities.
- Four Associate Professors and seven Assistant Professors currently constitute the faculty members of this department.
The department’s laboratories: four laboratories under the titles of Pathology Laboratory 1, 2, 3, and 4, Biological Control and Insect Pathology, Ecology and Pest Management, Acarology, Toxicology.
Department of Water Science and Engineering
The Department of Water Science and Engineering (formerly known as the Department of Agronomy) of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is one of the oldest departments of the field in the entire country with 25 years of experience.There are 13 branches of Water Science and Engineering: Irrigation and Drainage, Hydraulic Structures, Water Resource Management, Agricultural Climatology, Water and Information Technology, Water and Environmental Engineering, Water and Agriculture, Water and Development, Water and Economy, Water and Governorship, Water and Law, Water and System Engineering, and Historical Hydraulic Structures Engineering. From among these branches, the Department of Water Science and Engineering of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad has recently begun offering courses in branches such as Irrigation and Drainage, Hydraulic Structures, Water Resource Management, and Agricultural Climatology.There are two types of graduates from this major: The first group are those who graduate with knowledge in one of the related technical fields (e.g., Municipal Water, Agricultural Water, Hydraulic Structures, and Drainage Engineering) in addition to basic knowledge of water. The second group includes students who possess basic knowledge of water besides basic knowledge in one of the other engineering majors (such as Environmental Engineering) or even humanities (e.g., Law).
- Four Full Professors, five Associate Professors, three Assistant Professors, and two Lecturers constitute the faculty members of this department.
The Water Science and Engineering laboratory consists of a Soil Mechanics laboratory, a Water-Soil-Plant Relationship laboratory, a Land Surveying workshop, a Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics Laboratory, a Hydrology laboratory, a Weather and Climatology laboratory, a Water Quality and Environment laboratory, and a Building Materials workshop.
This station is one of the official stations of the Meteorological Organization; it measures and records various climatic parameters (wet-bulb and dry-bulb temperatures, maximum and minimum temperatures, deep soil temperature, humidity, evaporation, wind direction and speed, longwave and shortwave radiation) three times per day. This information is sent to the data-processing section of the Meteorological Organization and is used by researchers and graduate students.
Founded in 1989, The Faculty of Agriculture’s Informatics Center has expanded through the years due to growing demand. This center is currently supervised by three experts, who are in charge of 900 computers and equipment at 11 computer labs, which provide services to various academic levels, faculty members, personnel, classes, and workshops. This center’s short-term plan is to equip the entire Faculty of Agriculture with a system of wireless Internet. The center plans to hold IT-related workshops in the near future.