What Courses Are Needed for an Agriculture Degree?

A general agriculture degree may require courses such as soil science, horticulture, animal science, agribusiness and agricultural technology. Usually, standard liberal arts courses in the humanities, social sciences and life or physical sciences are also part of the degree. Specialized agricultural degrees include agronomy, animal science, agribusiness management and agricultural education. Pre-veterinary studies are also part of agriculture.

Agronomy focuses on the study of plants and soils. Agronomy courses include crop growth, soil fertility, weed science, forage management and environmental quality. An animal science agricultural degree may require courses on feeds and feeding, in-depth studies of a type of animal, such as ruminants and animal management.

Agribusiness management degrees require agricultural microeconomics, commodity marketing, food product marketing and farm management. Agricultural education degrees blend general agriculture courses and education courses such as adolescent growth and development, teaching reading and secondary school teaching.

Agriculture overlaps to some extent with natural resources and forestry, and some schools combine these subjects. Biosystems engineering courses include plant microbiology, biosystems design, ecology and food engineering.

The variety of agricultural degrees leads to a variety of careers in agriculture. Occupational areas include farm management, food processing, commodity trading, research, crop consultant and forester. Opportunities exist in private industry companies such as Dow Agrisciences, Monsanto, John Deere and Red Gold Tomatoes. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, also hire people with agriculture degrees.