Washington, DC Graduate Programs in Environment & Agriculture

Environment and Agriculture Graduate programs discuss key dynamics between ecology, environmental policy and agricultural production. Many graduate programs in environment and agriculture meld case studies and regional science. This fusion links program content with local concerns about such things as biodiversity, contemporary farming methods, and climate change.

Environment and Agriculture Graduate Programs: Basics

Find Environment and Agriculture Graduate programs at the Masters and Doctoral levels, as well as graduate certificates. At these levels, students often branch out into an area of emphasis such as agribusiness, food studies, education or sustainability.

Frequently well-rounded, curriculums might bridge modern business and management practices with courses in the agricultural sciences. Students may also want to take extra business study credits. This could be especially useful if the goal is to manage a large farming property, land-based enterprise or agricultural business.

To bring coursework to life, students may tackle meaningful research projects and engage in experiential lab work. Then, put theory into practice through a related internship to gain real time insights. Graduates might take away the necessary skills and know-how to care responsibly for the earth’s resources while still addressing bottom line business growth.

DID YOU KNOW?
32% of Agricultural Research Technologists report they have a Masters degree.i

Common Environment and Agriculture Courses

Course work might enable participants to learn the finer points of analysis and decision making within their chosen discipline. Environment and Agriculture Graduate programs may be offered in two broad categories which have several sub-disciplines.

  1. Agriculture – E.g. agribusiness, agro-ecology, agricultural sciences
  2. Green and Sustainable Energy – E.g. sustainable management

Think of career goals and major interests to help make a decision about the type of program to apply to. Below are a few of the different types of programs that may be available, as well as some potential topics you could study within them.

Agriculture Graduate Programs could cover some general principles and practices used in agricultural research and production. Students could learn to think strategically, and problem solve about operations, farming, ranching, soil conservation and beyond.

  • Basic Plant, Animal and Soil Science
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Agricultural Business

Agro-ecology and Sustainable agriculture graduate programs have at their core an interest in what is good for the environment. A sustainable agriculture degree program is thus often planned-out to empower students to effectively utilize and care for land resources. Students typically learn to make eco-friendly solutions.

  • Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Watershed Management

Agribusiness Graduate Programs might focus on the business of farming. Students might learn more about the businesses that are involved in the marketing of farm products, such as warehouses, wholesalers, processors, retailers and more.

  • Business Management
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

Agricultural Science Graduate Programs are broadly related to the field of biology, though are amped up to deal with food and fiber production and processing. An agricultural science degree program often looks at the methods of soil cultivation, crop cultivation and harvesting, animal production, and water sciences. Other aspects that may be examined are the post-harvest technologies that process plant and animal products for human consumption and use.

  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Agricultural Technology
  • Food Sciences

Food Studies Graduate Programs provide breadth and depth into the relationship between communities, agriculture, markets and consumers. Varied topics could cover U.S. agricultural policy and new product development.

  • Nutrition
  • Food Chemistry
  • Packaging

Partner school, Chatham offers a joint MBA/MA Food Studies program which stacks courses in global business, finance and strategy with agro-ecology, and food systems.

Sustainability Graduate Programs often cover sustainable management? Just what is sustainable management? Akin to any management program, sustainable management is the crossroads of business and long-term viability. Students could study green business strategies to manage three bottom lines – people, planet and profit.

Graduate degrees in sustainability often focus more heavily on business courses, though curriculums might also cover environmental systems and policy. Students could therefore study to learn how to ensure an organization is in compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations.

  • Leading Sustainable Organizations
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Environment and Agriculture Graduate Degrees

What level of study might suit your goals? Do you prefer online Environment and agriculture graduate programs or to study on campus? Did any of the above program themes appeal to you? Here are some points to factor into your decision.

For those who are not quite up to the commitment of a full degree, certificates enable you to study at the graduate level. These usually get into more complex courses, but only about 12 of them on average. Figure one year or less for full-time students.

Masters programs often include an element of professional development and could therefore enhance an undergrad background. Some type of research and hands-on work may be expected although one may have a choice between a thesis and project. On average, full-time students might complete about 36 credits in two years. Keep in mind that these are variables.

Environment and Agriculture PhD programs more than not provide more room to research and cultivate some expertise. In fact, students may be expected to contribute new insight into their field via a dissertation. Interested students might need a Masters degree to apply and about 3 to 4 years full-time just for the coursework. Again, this varies.

Masters in Agriculture

A Masters in Agriculture is usually a multi-disciplined program. Students are often exposed to topics in business, animal science, sociology, range, wildlife, leadership and policy.

MS in agriculture programs typically range around 36 or 37 credits. Some schools strongly encourage students to complete an internship in addition to their course of study. For those who aim to go onto further graduate studies, a thesis option is often made available. Also, some schools may offer a path to teacher certification.

Programs with an eye on modern agricultural pursuits framed by sustainable practices could include topics such as alternative value-added products and modern farming methods. Courses might also discuss concerns such as food safety and small business marketing. See several sample courses below.

  • Managing for Ecosystem Sustainability
  • Integrated Forage Management
  • Integrated Resource Management

Master of Agribusiness

A Master of Agribusiness (MAB) typically zooms in on food, animal health and agribusiness management. MAB programs are generally planned-out to help students learn analytical concepts and management issues such as human resources and marketing. Then, apply theory directly to animal health and agribusiness problems.

Agribusiness grad students often take a wide range of courses that sound as if they take a page from an MBA syllabus.

  • Applied Econometric Analysis
  • Policy Analysis
  • Behavioral Management Theory

However, a MBA often addresses a broad range of operational and strategic issues. By contrast, topics in a MAB curriculum relate specifically to the issues and regulatory environment of the agricultural industries.

Masters in Agricultural Education

A Masters in Agricultural Education could meld studies in agricultural research methods with principles of teaching and learning. Students might study agricultural sciences in depth, as well as to how to plan lessons and evaluate performance.

  • Scientific Communication
  • Foundations in Ag. Communications
  • Adult Education Programs

Doctor of Management – Environmental & Social Sustainability

A Doctor of Management (DM) is a terminal degree for management professionals. This type of program often prepares students to think and act strategically about various scenarios in their field. In fact, students could be asked to work on a personal sustainability project within their organizational setting.

Participants engage in courses and action research which together, might enhance their abilities to make positive contributions in their chosen area of management expertise. Most of the curriculum is weighted with advanced topics in management.

  • Management and Ethics
  • Leadership Theory
  • Organization Innovation

Core courses in environmental and social sustainability (ESS) could bring in elements of systems thinking and social justice. Students could also take a course in governance and policy and may learn about global resource flows, energy, toxicity and habitat. 

Doctor of Business Administration – Sustainable Management

A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a terminal degree. Generally, it is planned out to enable students to build on master’s level competencies. Students often sharpen executive and interpersonal skills in tandem with an ability to form and implement strategies.

DBA students may be required to study advanced statistical methods and survey techniques to help them in applied research projects. Other core courses typically cover the main functional areas of business (E.g. Marketing, management, operations, corporate finance).

A focus in sustainable management could build other types of business acumen. How to thoughtfully come up with decisions that are both profitable and strategic, while managing impacts to people and planet. Course content could cover some of the issues listed below.

  • Investments in Fair Trade Products
  • Eco-Friendly Packaging
  • Humane Working Conditions

Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Practices

A Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Practices program may target at-work professionals who want to expand their base of knowledge and credentials. For instance, at partner school, Jefferson University, students might study a wide array of critical skills.

  • LEED® Rating System
  • Passive Design
  • Basics of Energy Modeling and Life Cycle Assessment

Usually around 12 credits, a certificate could delve into the field of sustainable design, engineering and construction of the built environment. Credits earned in the JU certificate program are typically transferable into their MS in Sustainable Design program. Students must apply for, and be accepted into, the MS program. 

Explore a Career in Sustainability

A graduate degree in agriculture and environment could prepare graduates to pursue a variety of careers across multiple industries.

Sustainability professionals might be business managers, scientists, or engineers, though they could also come from other backgrounds. Although their specific career paths might differ, their role is to promote environmental protection, social responsibility, and profitability.ii

Chief sustainability officers use their communication skills to coordinate with management, shareholders, customers, and employees about various issues and initiatives. They might enact or oversee a corporate sustainability strategy.

Things on their radar could include energy use, resource conservation, recycling, pollution reduction, waste elimination, transportation, education, and building design.iiiPer the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of top executives is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026.ivAnnual average salary for chief executives was $181,210 in May 2016.v

More on the scientific end of the spectrum, career paths might include the following. Read below, then try to match a grad program with your goals.

  • Crop Specialistsvi
  • Research Agricultural Engineersvi
  • Agricultural Extension Educatorvii
  • Agricultural Inspectorviii
  • Farm and Ranch Managersix

Apply to Environment and Agriculture Graduate Programs

Explore other environmental degrees and agriculture programs from partner schools next. Refine your search with the filters that matter to you – location, degree level, and subject. This results Environment and Agriculture Graduate Programs matched to your needs. Then click the on-page form to contact schools right away. Its fast and free!


[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-4011.01 | [ii] bls.gov/green/sustainability/sustainability.htm | [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-1011.03 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm#tab-6 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/management/top-executives.htm#tab-5 | [vi] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-4099.02 | [vii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-9021.00 | [viii] onetonline.org/link/summary/45-2011.00 | [ix] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9013.02

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