Agronomy is the study of crops and soils, incorporating knowledge of plant genetics, ecology and soil science to grow healthier crops and sustain land arability. Curriculum for a bachelor's degree program is science and math-based and goes over factors that affect agriculture, such as farm animals and environmentally safe weed control. Students gain direct experience in internships at local farms and land-grant parcels.
At the master's level, pupils can choose a thesis or non-thesis path and select a concentration in a related area, like weed science, environmental horticulture and pomology (also known as fruit cultivation). Applicants must have a bachelor's degree.
Certificate options are commonly offered in agriculture. The generalized credits can be transferred to a degree program or used for continuing education mandates. In some cases, study can be tailored towards a specific career goal with the help of a faculty adviser.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy
The curriculum in a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Agronomy program is a combination of laboratory sessions, practicums and lectures on topics like the following:
- Characteristics of soil
- Plant morphology
- Agricultural genetics
- Agricultural economics
- Professional and business communication
Master's in Agronomy
Master's coursework emphasizes individual research, particularly in areas such as:
- Range problems and management techniques
- Analysis of plant soil
- Soil chemistry
- Microbial soil ecology
- Simulated agriculture modeling
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Horticultural Science
- Plant Breeding
- Plant Pest Management
- Range Science
Certificate in Agronomy
Although certificate programs in agronomy are rare, those in agriculture discuss many related subjects including:
- Crop investigation and scouting
- Organic farming
- Applied entomology basics
- Midwest feed and grain crops
- Safety, maintenance and usage of farm machinery
Graduates are eligible for many different roles in the agricultural and food science industries. Some popular job titles are:
- Agricultural instructor
- Crop insurance adjuster
- Grain specialist
- Water and soil conservationist
- Crop consultant
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for soil/plant scientists and food scientists/technologists is predicted to grow at rates of 7% and 3%, respectively, between 2014 and 2024. Soil/plant scientists' mean annual salary was $65,980 as of May 2015, while food scientists/technologists earned a mean annual salary of $72,030 (www.bls.gov).
While certification isn't required to work in agronomy, credentials may be earned to promote professionalism, especially for those who intend to teach or manage. The American Society of Agronomy offers the Certified Professional Agronomist designation, as well as continuing education. The Soil Science Society of America also has a program towards becoming a Certified Crop Advisor.
Depending on students' particular interests and educational backgrounds, they can pursue a BS in Agronomy, which provides an overview of the field, a master's degree, which allows for specialized research, or a general certificate in agriculture.