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Agriculture, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Agriculture, General. A program that focuses on the general principles and practice of agricultural research and production and that may prepare individuals to apply this knowledge to the solution of practical agricultural problems. Includes instruction in basic animal, plant, and soil science; animal husbandry and plant cultivation; soil conservation; and agricultural operations such as farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

A wide variety of areas fall under the category of agriculture programs, but they all generally focus on food: how best to grow or produce it, or how to manage the food industry.

There's a wide choice of majors at the undergraduate level, all of which fall under the umbrella of an agriculture degree. Here are just a few:

  • Animal science
  • Plant science
  • Agricultural business and management
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Food science

Each major has a different focus. Admission requirements may also vary. Make sure your major fits your interests and career goals.

Most agriculture programs include a number of required courses in the first or second year.

"In general, what the curriculum offers here in the second year is a broad set of courses which cover crop science, animal science, economics and land resources," says Calum Turvey. He works with a university department of agricultural economics and business.

These courses are required in any agricultural major. "And then you can start to specialize in, say, animal science or economics or commerce."

Some institutions offer diplomas or associate's degrees (generally two years) in agriculture. A bachelor's degree will take you three or four years to complete. There are also graduate programs.

When you're considering a program, think about where you want to go with your training. The shorter programs will teach you the hands-on technical skills. A four-year degree gives you business and management skills.

Turvey advises potential applicants to develop a strong base in math and science right from high school. Chemistry and biology are very important.

Some students choose agriculture because they come from rural or farming backgrounds. But there are others who have never set foot on a farm but are still interested in some aspect of agriculture.

Even if you grew up on a farm, a degree will refresh and update your knowledge.

"Agriculture has changed a great deal since the 1960s when I got into it," says Dennis Brink. He is a professor of animal science at the University of Nebraska.

"Now we have good old Nebraska pig farmers taking classes on the transplantation of pig hearts into humans, or students contemplating chicken eggs as potential sources of pharmaceuticals.

"Agriculture definitely has become a form of cutting-edge discovery science."


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Agricultural Workers

Encyclopedia of Earth
An electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society

American Seed Trade Association
A list of Internet agriculture resources

National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization
Works with industry and educational institutions


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