Agriculture continues to gain relevance and importance in a world facing climate change, food shortages, and the depletion of natural resources. Graduates of an accredited agriculture program often find employment as food scientists, agricultural engineers, and agronomy specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $65,160 for agricultural and food scientists, much higher than the $39,810 median salary for all jobs. Additionally, the BLS projects a 6% growth rate for the industry, faster than the 4% projected growth rate for other industries. Overall, agriculture graduates can expect to enter a robust job market with ample opportunities for professional growth and personal fulfillment.
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Q. How long is an agricultural degree?
Like most undergraduate programs, a bachelor's degree in agriculture requires four years of full-time enrollment to complete.
Q. Is agriculture a good career?
In terms of growth opportunities, the agricultural field shows promise. The BLS projects a 6% growth rate for jobs in the sector, faster than the projected growth rate of 4% for other sectors.
Q. Does agriculture pay well?
According to data from the BLS, agricultural scientists earn a median salary of $65,160 per year, much higher than the national median salary of $39,810.
Q. Can you get an agriculture degree online?
Yes. Several accredited colleges and universities nationwide offer online bachelor's degrees in agriculture.
Affordable Bachelor's in Agriculture Programs 2021
UF's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences delivers two affordable agriculture degrees. The agricultural education and communication program offers technical education. It also features concentrations in agricultural education and communication and leadership development. Learners can also pursue a degree in agricultural operations management. In this program, they focus on business fundamentals and sustainability.
Degree-seekers can access resume labs and academic success seminars online and in person. UF provides an agriculture career road map. This guide details potential careers, relevant skills, and job-hunting resources. The road map also highlights local employers that hire agriculture degree-holders.
First-year students must apply by November 1 for the following fall semester. Applicants submit ACT or SAT scores and an essay. In-state learners receive a significant tuition discount. Learners who submit the FAFSA results and maintain a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA qualify for an automatic merit-based scholarship.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
UW offers three degrees in agriculture. Learners can study agricultural and applied economics, agricultural business management, or agronomy. The agronomy program trains degree-seekers to meet the challenges facing Wisconsin's agricultural sector. Core courses include general botany and animal biology. Introduction to agricultural and applied economics is another core course.
Learners can access student services on and off campus. UF offers academic advising, career-planning resources, and disability services. During their first semester, students participate in SOAR. This specialized program helps degree-seekers plan their schedule and learn how to access university resources.
UW accepts the Common Application and the UW System Application. First-year applicants need prerequisite coursework in English, mathematics, and the social sciences. In-state students pay the most affordable tuition rate. In-state learners with financial need may qualify for free tuition through Bucky's Tuition Promise. Out-of-state learners may receive other institutional aid.
A public university located in Athens, UGA features dozens of affordable agriculture degrees. A few of the school's undergraduate majors in the field include agribusiness and agricultural and applied economics. Enrollees can also major in agriscience and environmental systems. Many programs feature on- and off-campus internships.
The university's career center offers Handshake access. The center also offers one-on-one counseling appointments and seminars. Learners can access resume templates and mentorship opportunities. UGA partners with local employers to provide students and alumni with exclusive jobs in Georgia and nationwide.
First-year applicants can apply for early action or regular decision. The admissions committee considers each applicant's high school GPA and extracurricular activities. Applicants submit standardized test scores. Transfer applicants need a minimum 3.3 undergraduate GPA. Out-of-state students pay approximately three times the in-state tuition rate. Undergraduate students may qualify for institutional grants and scholarships.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
U of I offers affordable agriculture programs at the undergraduate level. Students can major in agricultural and biological engineering. Other majors include agricultural and consumer economics and plant biotechnology. Degree-seekers can enhance their education by studying abroad or completing an on-campus internship.
The university's Student Assistance Center directs students to on-campus and virtual services. Examples include academic and mental health counseling, disability resources, and conflict-resolution guides. Students can make an appointment at the center or take advantage of weekday drop-in hours.
Prospective undergraduates must attend an on-campus information session or speak with an enrollment advisor before applying. U of I recommends but does not need applicants to submit standardized test scores. GPA requirements vary by agriculture major. U of I awards over 150 scholarships each year to current and incoming learners.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
NC State offers 17 affordable agriculture degrees. Students can major in agricultural and resource economics or horticultural science. Another major is agroecology and sustainable food systems. Degree-seekers can customize their education by selecting a minor. Options include agricultural entrepreneurship or agricultural and environmental technology.
Agriculture students can participate in local internships and on-campus career fairs. The university's career center provides resume templates. Advisors help students develop a career plan. Learners and alumni can create an ePack account to network with employers and schedule interviews.
Applicants submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. NC State sets no minimum GPA for transfer applicants. North Carolina residents pay significantly lower tuition rates than out-of-state students. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences awards departmental financial aid to qualified students.
New Mexico State University-Main Campus
A public research university located in Las Cruces, NMSU features affordable agriculture degrees. Undergraduate majors include agronomy, general agriculture, and agricultural and extension education. Learners can network with peers by joining a student organization. Examples include the Agricultural Economics Club or the American Fisheries Society.
On-campus resources include TRIO Student Support Services. This specialized federal program offers learners with financial need free tutors, mentors, and cultural activities. NMSU's writing center provides one-on-one assistance with outlining and editing academic papers. Students can access this help on campus or through a Zoom session.
First-year applicants submit standardized test scores and high school transcripts. Like other public schools, NMSU charges state residents discounted tuition rates. The College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences awards dozens of departmental scholarships.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
Along with degrees in agriculture, MSU delivers certificate programs in agricultural industries, dairy management, and agricultural operations. Undergraduate students can earn a BS or BA in a field such as crop and soil sciences or agribusiness management. Learners can pursue a minor in an area such as food industry management or turfgrass management.
Learners can access career resources, including a job board, counseling appointments, and alumni mentors. The university's website features links to resources such as GoinGlobal and Choices 360. According to MSU's data, over 90% of graduates secure a job or continue their education within six months of graduation.
Applicants need a high school diploma. International degree-seekers pay the highest tuition rates. Learners may qualify for institutional awards. Examples include the $4,000 MSU Merit Recognition Scholarship or the $5,000 Honors College STATE Scholarship.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
UMN's College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences offers affordable agriculture degrees. Enrollees can major in agricultural education, food science, and plant science. Undergraduates who plan to pursue graduate studies can choose pre-professional tracks in health and veterinary medicine.
Students can access tutoring, writing experts, and research guides. Learners can also explore success skills guides. These guides provide in-depth information on topics such as career preparation and studying best practices. Distance learners can benefit from guides covering online learning fundamentals.
Along with high school transcripts, first-year applicants submit the Golden Gopher Application or the Common Application. UMN does not require standardized test scores. Residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Manitoba pay in-state tuition rates. UMN awards $1.5 million in scholarships per year to undergraduates pursuing an agriculture degree.
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD
UMD offers several affordable agriculture programs. Learners can pursue a bachelor's in agricultural and resource economics. They can select a concentration in agribusiness, environmental and resource economics, or agricultural and resource economics. Other majors include plant science and agricultural science and technology. Motivated degree-seekers can earn an optional undergraduate certificate in agricultural business management.
The university connects learners with workshops and local internships. Degree-seekers can explore guides on diversity and inclusion. Other guides offer resume and cover letter writing tips and interviewing best practices. Specialized resources examine job hunting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UMD prefers first-year applicants to have a minimum 3.3 high school GPA. Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores or recommendation letters. Credits from participating in-state community colleges transfer automatically. Although out-of-state degree-seekers pay higher tuition rates, UMD offers exclusive scholarships for these learners.
Sam Houston State University
A public university in Huntsville, Texas, SHSU offers eight affordable agriculture degrees. Majors include animal science and plant and soil sciences. Learners can also major in agricultural engineering technology. Students can minor in equine science or wildlife ecology. First-year students participate in a learning cohort.
Students can access a job board and career-preparation resources through Handshake. Degree-seekers develop their resume by completing a local micro-internship. The micro-internship culminates in a work sample, which graduates can present to prospective employers.
SHSU uses a seven-step admissions process. The process involves submitting official high school or college transcripts and speaking with an enrollment counselor. Applicants also provide FAFSA results. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Texas residents save more than 50% on tuition. Learners can research and apply for institutional scholarships on SHSU's website.
What Are the Goals of an Agriculture Degree?
Students pursue an agricultural degree at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Since agriculture encompasses a broad field of study, most programs offer concentrations for enrollees to focus on an area relevant to their career objectives. Popular specializations include sustainable agriculture, land management, and agricultural engineering.
Courses for an undergraduate agriculture degree vary among schools and further depends on a student's area of specialization. Most core classes cover foundation topics such as soil ecosystems, agribusiness management, and agricultural markets and prices. Agriculture programs usually require enrollees to participate in field work and perform lab experiments in addition to classroom instruction.
Why Get an Agriculture Degree?
For some students, pursuing a bachelor's degree in agriculture stems from a desire to turn a passion into a career. Continue reading for a list of five common reasons that motivate students to enroll in an agriculture program.
A well-crafted undergraduate program in agriculture gives students the chance to learn about the latest developments and research findings in the field.
An agriculture bachelor's degree often qualifies graduates for management positions and leadership roles in agribusiness companies, research teams, and nonprofit organizations.
Graduates with a degree in agriculture work in diverse professional arenas and usually qualify for jobs like forest ecosystem managers, rural development specialists, food scientists, and crop management consultants.
Although graduate programs in agriculture accept applications from prospective students with a non-agriculture degree, schools often prefer applicants who hold a degree in the field.
Data from the BLS show that bachelor's degree-holders earn higher median weekly salaries ($1,248) than employees with an associate degree ($887) and workers with some college but no degree ($883).
What Are the Requirements for an Agriculture Degree?
Colleges and universities offering a bachelor's degree in agriculture usually require applicants to hold above-average GPAs, often 3.0 or higher. Many schools also require the satisfactory completion of prerequisite coursework such as chemistry and biology. Applicants also submit their SAT or ACT scores, a transcript from every secondary school they attended, and at least one recommendation letter.
Agriculture degrees usually culminate in a capstone project. Precise capstone requirements vary among schools, but often include documented field research with relevant implications in real-world scenarios.
Professional Organizations for Agriculture Students
Professional organizations serve many goals. They keep members current on the latest research developments and findings in the field, which helps them carry out key aspects of their work. Professional associations also facilitate collaboration and mentorship opportunities among members.
ASA informs members about recent research in the field through publications, a podcast, and webinars. The society also administers two industry-recognized certification programs, free online courses, and scholarships for agriculture students and researchers. Members also enjoy access to a job board with information on work and collaboration opportunities.
ASABE members enjoy access to services at the organization's online career center, which includes career coaching, assistance with resume writing, and job application guidance. ASABE also offers various resources for members planning to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, including test preparation materials and mentorship opportunities.
Membership privileges include access to various online learning and teaching resources, mentorship workshops, and electronic subscriptions to industry journals and newsletters. AAEA also offers scholarship programs and research and travel grants exclusively for members. Many members also take advantage of volunteer opportunities for professional and personal growth.
Scholarships for Agriculture Students
Many U.S. colleges and universities with an agriculture program support enrollees through scholarships and grants. Students often explore additional financial aid options from professional organizations, state and federal agencies, and private nonprofit groups with deep roots in the agriculture field, including the two listed below.
||Who Can Apply
AAEA Special Purpose Funds
||The organization administers scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, women, and early-career professionals in agriculture. Eligibility and application requirements vary among programs. Students should submit an application only for the programs for which they feel most qualified.
ASABE Foundation Engineering Scholarship
||The program welcomes applications from undergraduate students pursuing a degree in biological or agricultural engineering. Eligible applicants demonstrate financial need, hold a minimum 2.5 GPA, and show at least one year of completed enrollment. The application includes a 750-word essay.
Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.