Agriculture and Bio-Resources Programs In America
Areas of Study
Just as there are many uses and applications of living things (i.e. bio-resources), there are many educational paths in the agriculture and bio-resource field. At the university and 4-year college level, agriculture may be a single department within a larger College or School (such as Science), or there may be an entire College or School of Agriculture. Programs in this field can also be found in Colleges or Schools of different names, for instance Agriculture and Life Sciences, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Forestry and Wildlife Science, and more. Each of these Colleges and Schools has a variety of departments within it-- and still more programs within each of these departments! A single university may have as many as 50 undergraduate majors in agriculture and bio-resources subjects, so be sure to research your options thoroughly.
One option is to take a general Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a major in an agriculture or bio-resources field. The range of choices, however, means you will have to do some snooping to find out what's available. For example, within a College of Agriculture you might look in the program listing for their Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, where you'd find programs in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Forestry, and Wood Products Manufacturing Technology. Or within their Department of Animal Science, you might find programs in Animal Science, Animal Production, and Animal Agribusiness. Collaborative programs between a College of Agriculture and another College-such as College of Engineering for a degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering or with the Department of Communications and Journalism for a degree in Agricultural Communications-may also be available.
Other competitive, four-year bachelor's degree options in agriculture and bio-resources include the more specialized degrees of Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF), Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), and Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (BSABE).
Universities and four-year colleges may also offer two-year Associate in Agriculture degrees in a number of specializations, such as Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Systems Management, Agronomy, Animal Sciences, and Horticulture. These credits are transferable to baccalaureate degree programs. Additionally, a College of Agriculture might also offer 1- to 3-year pre-professional programs (such as pre-veterinary medicine) for those looking to enter particular degree programs.
Similarly, two-year colleges often have agricultural or natural resource departments. In general, these colleges have smaller classes, and offer a variety of two-year associate's degrees in agricultural and bio-resource fields. Degrees include Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) with a variety of program options, such as veterinary office management, agriculture equipment management, agriculture business, equine industry management, agronomy, forest technology, animal science, and precision agriculture among others. These credits are usually also transferable to baccalaureate degree programs, and specific baccalaureate transfer/pre-baccalaureate programs are also available.
Like many of the 4-year colleges, 2-year colleges also offer skills-based, career-directed certificate programs. Areas of study at this level include sports turf management, agribusiness management, beef production, crop production, equine care, horticulture systems, exotic and research animals, veterinary assistant and veterinary technician programs and many more. These credentials may take from 1 to 2 years to complete.
At all levels, study generally combines classroom theory and learning with hands-on field and lab work in specialized facilities. Field trips, co-ops and industry partnerships/ internships are often part of the curriculum, and a number of program-specific scholarships are available.
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