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Agricultural Business Colleges and Programs: How to Choose

With the advancement of agriculture from subsistence farming to the business of using science and technology for optimum plant and animal production, many colleges now offer degree programs in agricultural business. These programs educate students in the economic, environmental and technical sides of agriculture.

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Programs in agricultural business can be found at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities; agricultural business has many diverse aspects, and exposure to the different branches of the field through a diverse faculty is important in a degree program.

Agricultural Business Schools

Agricultural business programs are offered at the institutions listed here.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
University of California - Davis Davis, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $13,951; Out-of-state Undergraduate $38,659
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $49,116; Graduate $29,500
University of Massachusetts - Amherst Amherst, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $14,171; Out-of-state Undergraduate $30,504
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral Graduate $10,770
University of Wisconsin- Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $10,415; Out-of-state Undergraduate $29,665
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $13,790; Out-of-state Undergraduate $22,210
Rutgers State University New Brunswick, NJ 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate $16,272; Out-of-state Graduate $27,648
University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $15,054; Out-of-state Undergraduate $30,214

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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School Selection Criteria

There are some key considerations for students choosing an agriculture business school.

  • A program's faculty should have diverse backgrounds in agriculture business, including research and corporate experience in the field.
  • Students may prefer schools with strong internship connections through their career services department.
  • Look for a school with on-campus facilities, such as university farms or botany labs, that show a college invests money into its agricultural department and provides opportunities for research assistant positions.
  • Students may look for programs that offer involvement with professional agriculture organizations, like the National Agri-Marketing Association or Agricultural & Applied Economics Association. Membership in campus chapters of these organizations can give students access to professional conferences and other networking events.

Associate's Degree Programs

Students who wish to begin as assistants or technicians might consider an associate's degree program. These 2-year programs are often specialized in fields such as crop or soil management and may fulfill most general education requirements if a student decides to pursue a bachelor's degree at a later date. Some programs require that students complete a capstone project or volunteer experience.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

To earn a bachelor's degree in agricultural business, students are often required to complete credit requirements in business management and agricultural sciences. By a student's senior year, all the coursework should be agriculture business-specific, including a capstone requirement or senior thesis in many programs.

Master's Degree Programs

Those with industry experience and who are interested in working on the corporate or management side of agricultural business might consider earning a master's degree. Master's degrees offer areas of concentration such as education and resource management. Depending on the area of concentration, students may choose whether or not to pursue a thesis. An internship may be required.

By studying agricultural business management or agricultural economics, it's possible to prepare for a career in the field of agricultural business. Many public and private institutions offer undergraduate and graduate programs in these fields.

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