Changes in agriculture and the requirement of a modern society require certain adaptations in the understanding of agricultural colleges as to the role they have to play. This is the more the case in countries which strive for rapid socio-economic development.

The paper first discusses the two main determinants for the role of agricultural colleges, i.e. the role of agriculture and the role of universities in modern society. The conclusion is, that a new and much broader role has implications for the colleges' teaching and research activities.
Teaching problems are discussed under three headings, i.e.

  • practice versus theoretical training,
  • broad training versus specialization,
  • training with disciplinary focus versus job training.

Research at a modern college of agriculture is discussed in chapters on

  • basic versus applied research,
  • monodisciplinary versus interdisciplinary research,
  • financing agricultural research.

It is concluded, that colleges of agriculture have many possibilities to increase their contribution to the socio-economic development.