Agricultural science is a broad area of study dealing with plants, animals, food, soil, and crops. Coursework highlights plant nutrition, soil resources, agricultural business practices, and food safety; additionally, specializations or concentrations are available at each level of study. Graduates will able to seek professional certification through the American Society of Agronomy.
Certificate admissions requirements include a high school diploma or GED certificate; however, some schools require applicants to be enrolled in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Applicants to bachelor's programs should also have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants to master's programs should have a bachelor's degree in an agriculture area or related field, as well as obtaining a minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Certificates in Agricultural Science
Undergraduate certificate programs in agricultural science award certificates in areas such as agricultural science, agriculture, and agricultural business management. The agricultural science program includes an internship experience and consists of studies in plant science and horticulture. The agriculture certificate curriculum also includes studies in animal and soil science, while the agricultural business management program explores subjects of farm and agribusiness management, and agricultural laws and regulations. Coursework examines issues in environmental laws, marketing techniques for agribusinesses, and introductory animal science.
Other areas of focus include:
- Plant and soil nutrition
- Plant species
- Business operations
- Supply and production
- Agricultural resources
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Agricultural Science
The B.S. program is offered with concentration options like dairy or environmental science, animal and poultry science, forestry, horticulture, and teaching certification. Students study agricultural industry, finances for agricultural business, elements of crops and soils, and range management. Towards the end of the program, students must complete an internship in the agricultural industry, which includes working on a farm or at an urban agency. Coursework includes studies in agricultural technology, ethics, and sustainability. Other courses consist of studies in:
- Fiber production
- Agricultural marketing
- Soil resources
- Waste disposal
- Crop ecology
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Agricultural Business
- Agriculture Production
- Animal Science
- Animal Services
- Food Sciences and Technologies
- Plant Science
- Soil Science
Master's Degrees in Agricultural Science
Master's degree options include a Master of Science (M.S.) in agriculture, agricultural education, food and agricultural science, and crop science. Degree programs are 18-24 months in length and cover a wide range of studies, from irrigation to agricultural policy. The agriculture program is offered with concentration areas like animal science, agribusiness, nutrition, and food science. The agricultural education program is a terminal degree program that will prepare students to teach in secondary schools and community colleges. The food and agricultural science program includes studies in food and nutrition, while the crop science program includes studies in water and crop management, agronomy, and soil science.
These programs are offered with both a thesis and non-thesis option and include graduate teaching assistantships, namely in the agricultural education program. Students will also be required to take comprehensive examinations, and some programs include an internship component. The curriculum is comprised of research-oriented coursework and covers advanced topics in the agricultural sciences. Some study areas covered include:
- Farm Resources
- Agricultural markets
- Rural resource development
- Nutrition programs
- Food safety
Popular Career Options
After graduating, you'll be able to pursue jobs in business, food production, animal health and many other settings. Prospective job titles for graduates include:
- Agribusiness owner
- Nursery manager
- Dairy farmer
Careers for graduates include jobs at government agencies, agricultural businesses, food processing companies and more. Potential careers for graduates include:
- Farm and ranch manager
- Crops technician
- Regulatory compliance inspector
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Those who have earned a bachelor's degree (or higher) might look into jobs as food scientists, food technologists or animal scientists. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that jobs for agricultural and food scientists will grow 5% between the years 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that animal scientists earned a median annual salary of $60,390 in 2015. Food scientists and technologists earned $65,840 as a yearly median wage.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in an agricultural science, you may consider a graduate certificate in related areas, including sustainable agriculture or international agriculture. Graduate certificate programs in these areas are primarily designed for professionals seeking career advancement in the agricultural field or enhancing career opportunities as they enter the field. The graduate certificate can also help you decide if you want to pursue a master's degree in agriculture.
Advanced positions in the field of agricultural science, particularly research positions and jobs in higher education, require a doctoral degree. After graduating, you might consider a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in agriculture, agricultural economics, equine science or food science and technology.
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) provides professional certification to graduates of agriculture programs (www.agronomy.org). The ASA certifications include the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA), Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg) and Certified Professional Soil Scientist/Classifier (CPSS/CPSC) designations. Certification requires successfully passing the examinations and varying degrees of work experience.
Certificate and degree program study in the agricultural sciences prepares graduates for employment in food processing and agricultural businesses, as well as government agencies. More advanced positions become available with master's and doctoral degrees, and professional industry certifications also enrich employment opportunities.