Agricultural science degree programs give students a broad background in agriculture that includes agricultural technology, management principles, and research methods. Other science-related topics include the biological principles of farming and ecosystem protection. Business-related topics like agribusiness management and marketing may also be covered.
Many agricultural science programs allow students to choose a focus area, such as agricultural engineering, which is the design of agricultural tools or technology; or microbiology, which examines the various microorganisms that make up an agricultural ecosystem.
Prerequisites for a bachelor's degree in agricultural science include minimum GPA and standardized test scores, as well as a strong college-level communications and math foundation.
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Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science
The courses included in a bachelor's degree program in agricultural science can vary depending on which track a student is more interested in; however, there are some core courses required by all undergraduates. These include:
- Intro to agriculture
- Soil ecosystem lab
- GPS and precision agriculture
- Agribusiness management
- Statistical research methods
- Agricultural markets and prices
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree in agricultural science can lead to several entry-level career opportunities in the fields of scientific research and agribusiness. Some common examples of positions in the field include:
- Farm or ranch manager
- Food scientist
- Food marketing expert
- Agricultural analyst
- Community planning consultant
- Agricultural technology trainer
- Field representative
- Agribusiness sales manager
- Agriculture journalist
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers are projected to decline by 2% from 2014-2024. The mean annual wage for this field was $69,880 in May 2015, stated the BLS.
Continuing Education Options
An undergraduate degree in agricultural science can be an entryway into several different graduate programs, including a Master of Science in Agricultural Engineering, a Master of Science in Food Science, a Master of Science in Agribusiness, and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering. These graduate programs typically last about two years and provide students with an advanced grasp on research and emerging technologies in the agricultural field. Ph.D. programs in these areas take around five years to complete and prepare individuals for positions in government research and academia.
Bachelor's degree programs in agricultural science introduce students to the basics in soil and agriculture, agribusiness, and statistical research. Graduates can then pursue careers as scientists, conservationists and community planners or continue their education in a related master's degree program.