Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Master’s degree from two different countries

The relatively new EUR-Organic degree programme enables students to take a Master’s degree at two different universities in Europe. The first Aarhus University student to take the degree has just graduated.

2014.04.02 | Janne Hansen

Julia Gajo is the first student at Aarhus University to complete a double degree in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems (EUR-Organic). Photo: Janne Hansen

kan o

The opportunity to study abroad, become more proficient in English, get to grips with knowledge about organic farming and food systems, and take a Master’s degree at two of Europe’s leading universities in the field – does this sound like a good offer?

That is what Julia Gajo thought, and she could hardly contain herself. She 25-year-old university student from Germany therefore applied and was admitted to the relatively new EUR-Organic degree programme (European Master in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems), which is offered by Aarhus University along with three other European universities.

Double degree

She is the first ever at Aarhus University to complete the special programme. The programme makes it possible to achieve a double Master's degree from two different universities in the area of organic food and farming systems.

Now, one and a half years later, where Julia Gajo has the double degree in hand, she has no regrets - on the contrary. She has a Master's degree in a subject that she is enthusiastic about. she has honed her English skills, and has even learned how to speak and write Danish. 

- I have really enjoyed the programme and being in Aarhus and Denmark, says a satisfied Julia Gajo.

Before she came to Denmark she completed a Bachelor in Agrobiology at Hohenheim University in Stuttgart in Germany. She then took the first two semesters of the Master's programme EUR-Organic at the university in Hohenheim while the last one and a half years of the Master's took place at Aarhus University. She wrote her thesis at Aarhus University about evaluating the welfare of organic piglets.

- That was rather challenging because it is hard to take measurements of piglets that are free range, says Julia Gajo with a smile.

European degree

EUR-Organic is a relatively new Master’s degree programme in organic farming and organic food, which is offered in collaboration by four leading universities in food and agricultural science. The four universities involved in this collaboration are Aarhus University (Aarhus, Denmark), the University of Hohenheim (Stuttgart, Germany), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Vienna, Austria) and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (Warsaw, Poland). Students from all over the world can apply for admission to the degree programme.

The degree consists of four terms. Students can choose to take the entire degree programme as usual at one of the universities. The other option – chosen by Julia Gajo – is to divide the degree into periods at two of the four universities. This makes it possible to specialise in a topic not necessarily offered by the host university, and it provides a double degree from the two different universities.

Master's in organic farming

The degree programme EUR-Organic fit like a glove with regard to Julia Gajo's desire to delve into the scientific knowledge behind organic animal farming.

- I am interested in organic farming because I believe it is a good way to produce, since the environment is taken into consideration. In addition, I wanted to study in a foreign country and improve my English, says Julia Gajo, who has also become proficient in Danish.

Since the degree programme is relatively new there are still not very many students. But that also has its perks. 

- In the Danish part of the programme there is more emphasis on group work than I am used to from Germnay. However, I think that you learn a lot that way, especially when the group is small. You also get to talk more with the professor when there are fewer people in the group, and it is easier to focus on subjects that are relevant for that particular group, says Julia Gajo.

With her newly acquired double degree in hand she is on the verge of new challenges. She hopes to continue staying in Denmark for a few more years.  

- I think Aarhus and Denmark are fantastic so I hope that I can find a job or a PhD position here in Denmark - preferably in the area of organics and animals, especially organic piglets, says Julia Gajo.

Read more about the EUR-Organic degree programme here.

DCA