Widely credited for the rise of sedentary human civilization, agriculture is the “science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Today, agricultural products include timber, animal hide and leather, chemicals, fibers, fuels and many others that are used in making the staple products present in everyday life.
Entrance into an agriculture degree program varies from institution to institution. For first year applicants, some universities may require applicants to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. A number of universities also take into consideration advanced placement exams, while some consider transfer credits for post-secondary students or applicants.
Some agriculture degree programs have a grade requirement, either from the entrance or standard exam, from previous courses taken in secondary school or sometimes even both. High marks in subjects such as biology and chemistry may be a good boost to an application. Various leadership experiences and letters of recommendation may also be taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay in addition to an admissions interview.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
A significant number of institutions have general education requirements for most bachelor degree programs. General education courses include basic or introductory topics on natural sciences, mathematics, humanities and economics.
Most degree programs in agriculture focus on topics such as animal science, soil science, plant science, and agribusiness. Students will learn not only in the classroom but as well in laboratories and on the field. Evaluation and assessment may be in the form of written work, experiments, field evaluation, and team and individual projects.
In the latter years of the program, students may be required to work on a major project or thesis involving extensive research to develop not only research skills but practical and hands-on knowledge as well. This may also involve fieldwork.
Most universities provide specialization options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. Availability of specializations would also depend on the offerings of each university.
Below is a short list of some specializations offered by institutions:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.
Graduates of agriculture degree programs can end up in different professional positions. As such, there is no universal licensing or certification that agriculture graduates must obtain to be able to find a position in the field.
A bachelor’s degree in agriculture can typically take around three to four years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located. Interested individuals may opt to take an associate’s degree program which typically lasts two years.
There are also various degrees available for agriculture graduates at the graduate level. Master’s and doctoral programs are available for those looking to deepen their knowledge of the field. Extensive experience and research are usually required to complete these types of programs.
Graduates of agriculture programs can choose from a variety of career options. Aside from being available in farms, forests and nature reserves, positions are available in companies that produce and/or deal with agricultural products. Some examples of job options include agricultural consultant, farm manager and production manager. Knowledge of crops gained throughout an agriculture degree program may also help graduates in research positions available through higher education institutions, government agencies and international agencies.
Those who choose to work in other fields can do so using the transferrable skills that can be gained throughout agriculture degree programs such as scientific analysis and data interpretation, precise laboratory techniques, efficient project management, and effective reporting and presentation.
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