The study of agriculture can lead to a variety of careers, including those associated with consulting, farming, management and research. Read on to learn more about degree programs and useful courses for agricultural scientists or workers, as well as how much you might earn in the field.
Agricultural studies is a broad field that covers the production, distribution, management and research of agricultural goods. A bachelor's degree program in agricultural studies can help you qualify for a position as an agricultural scientist or operations inspector, animal breeder, farm manager or food technologist. Advanced degree programs can also open the door to a career in research and development or academia, as well as higher-level opportunities in the public sector or private sector, such as a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a manufacturing company. Career options for non-graduates who have received on-the-job training might be found with farms, ranches, greenhouses and nurseries.
In a bachelor's degree program in agricultural science, you'll learn how to improve crop yields and ensure the safety of consumer foods. You'll become familiar with all aspects of the agribusiness, including food production, distribution methods and management strategies. Although programs can be flexible, you'll most likely take classes in plant and animal science, economics, environmental science and sustainable agriculture, or learn how to use geographic information systems (GIS). Specialized coursework in agricultural technology, biofuel production and resource conservation might also be part of the curriculum. Areas of concentration may include agricultural biology, agricultural economics or permaculture.
Master's degree programs in agriculture usually require an additional two years of study beyond the bachelor's degree level, while a doctorate may be completed in 3-4 years. Graduate programs can lead to a master's degree in animal science and a doctorate in agricultural science. Certificate and minor programs of study within agricultural departments may also be available to you.