Modern Agriculture Graduate Programs (AG Graduate Programs) address the managerial skills that are relevant to the agriculture industry. Course plans in an AG graduate program often melds topics that pertain to land, animals and natural resources with research and practical experiences.
These could include hands-on activities or observation in a garden, ranch or laboratory.
written by Rana Waxman
AG Graduate Programs explore the business, science and production sides of food, land, plant, and nutrition. The study of agriculture is quite diverse these days, with hot topics such as poverty, famine, water, development economics, genetic modification, disease epidemics and sustainable production.
To respond to the myriad of issues, many agricultural graduates are involved in research in all these fields. An agricultural graduate school could thus be instrumental in helping participants learn how to conduct tests and apply data to problem solve in their technical area of expertise.
Universities that offer agriculture degrees might confer a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and/or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Agriculture Masters programs often feature required courses, electives, research methods and a thesis (or non-thesis option). PhD Agriculture programs emphasize research. Students thus typically intend to contribute original scholarly and/or scientific knowledge via a dissertation.
Graduate Certificates, while not as common, may be available through some graduate schools for agriculture, and usually target a slice of the larger agricultural discussion. While non-degree awards, students might enter a certificate program to enhance administrative ability or to learn a trade-related skill.
At any of these levels, AG graduate programs may provide a broad base of knowledge, though students commonly pursue an agriculture degree in a highly focused category. One that may provide professional growth and/or insight to bring into a current agriculture-oriented business.
DID YOU KNOW?
Per the BLS, agricultural and food science combined with coursework in business could be a good background for managerial jobs in farm-related or ranch-related businesses. i
Applicants to agriculture university programs need a minimum undergraduate degree. Some AG Graduate programs such as a Master of Science in Agriculture could require an applicant to have earned their Bachelors in Agriculture, Industrial Technology. Or, a major related to their chosen grad program.
Other necessary admission material could include a personal essay, recommendation letters, a minimum GPA and GRE scores. These variables are verifiable with the grad schools for agriculture on your list.
Agriculture Graduate Programs may be available in campus, online and blended (hybrid formats).
Campus: Students in on campus programs interact with others and may learn location-based practices on school facilities. Search for agriculture graduate schools in a preferred city, state or abroad to extend studies beyond the classroom.
Online: Distance students learn via computer and may be able to use their workplace for fieldwork, or to draw on for case studies. An online agriculture degree could make grad school accessible through a virtual classroom which one could access at their convenience.
Hybrid: Some online AG Graduate programs may be listed as online but could come with some residential requirements. Blended formats bring an element of flexibility through the distance component and provide an opportunity to learn face-to-face with peers and faculty.
The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The five recognized branches of agriculture are as follows.
A broad field, these five branches might also provide offshoot areas to study at the graduate level such as resource management, food studies, and education. Three such sub domains are in the topics of agricultural economics, agribusiness and sustainable agriculture.
Agricultural Economics graduate programs steer students to explore the mathematical and predictive sides of the agriculture business. Foundational courses frequently cover micro and macroeconomics, statistical methods and agribusiness analysis.
Graduate students might also fine tune studies in several areas, some examples of which are listed below.
Students who pursue a Masters degree in Agricultural Economics might study intermediate economic theory, quantitative methods and policy analysis, as well as elective courses in their area of interest. A thesis and non-thesis option may be available.
Grad students who study towards a PhD in Agricultural Economics degree could receive instruction in advanced economic theory, quantitative methods, and practical application of theory and methods. Extra elective courses in their area of interest could anchor their inquiry.
A dual MS-MBA program is an integrated, degree-granting program of advanced study in management. Its focus is on the challenges faced by current managers within food and agribusiness firms.
Agribusiness Graduate programs tend to offer professional development specifically aimed at managers with interests in the food, animal health and administrative aspects of the agriculture industry. Agribusiness literally means an agriculturally-related business. This could include farm machinery, seed supply, and businesses involved in the marketing of farm products -warehouses, wholesalers, processors, retailers and more.
Courses offered in such programs might be comparative to a business administration degree program such as an MBA, but typically offer more specificity.
Participants in Agribusiness Masters programs could study to broaden their ability to apply managerial and strategic skills as they learn to navigate new regulations and issues associated with the business of farming (agribusiness).
Students interested in a terminal degree in agribusiness might pursue a PhD, which is a research-focused program. A PhD in Agribusiness Management degree plan could require students to complete core course work in applied economics – agricultural economics. In tandem, participants might build strengths in the business fields of finance, marketing, strategic management, or supply chain management.
Sustainable Agriculture Graduate Programs aim to help students grasp modern methods that bridge human food and textile needs with eco-friendly practices. Some of the main aims of sustainable agriculture are a healthy planet, economic profitability and social equity.
Courses in sustainable farming could also be of interest to those involved in local food production and farm to table cuisine. Related topics could include studies in the following.
Students who pursue a MS in Sustainable Agriculture could study non-traditional and viable enterprises in agriculture, alternative value-added products, modern farming techniques, food safety, and small business marketing.
A Masters in Food Studies (MA) could approach sustainability through the lens of global and local food systems and commodity chains. Program course work might stress a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption.
Sustainable Agriculture PhD programs are research focused doctorates that might highlight in-depth study in Biological Sciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, or Plant Science. Students could conduct research in areas such as growing techniques, livestock management, energy issues and beyond.
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