In recent years, the agricultural field has changed to include more technologically advanced forms of farming. Those working in the field are finding they require better formal education than before in order to keep up with these advances. Many of the traditional practices are still studied, but this means that degree programs in Agriculture have begun to develop students' understanding of both new and old concepts used in areas like farming and business management. Pursuing an advanced degree in this field can provide you with the knowledge and experience to pursue careers as farmers, farm or vineyard managers or field technicians.
Additional employment opportunities for individuals with an advanced degree are professionals wishing to advance their careers in agribusiness, crop and soil scientists who wish to teach and pursue research and people who wish to use their skills in developing nations to address the problems of hunger and sustainable development. Individuals interested in pursuing a degree in agriculture receive an interdisciplinary education that familiarize them with modern research, practices and technologies. Some popular graduate programs in this field include environmental science, the biological sciences, nutrition, veterinary medicine and marine science.
For more information about agriculture master’s and PhD programs please visit the USA Study Guide website.
Environmental, agricultural and food systems do not act independently from country to country. The farming practices of the US influence the farming practices, food production, and agricultural development of countries around the world.
Agronomy is the study of how to use plants for food and fuel in order to produce food, develop healthier food products, manage the environmental impact of agriculture, and create reusable energy from plants. Graduate programs in this area emphasize the efficiency of production of agronomic crops, improve the quality of food, feed, and fiber available for humans and animals, and assist in the use and development of land resources. Programs in the area also develop an understanding of the basic soil-plant-animal climate complex of which humans are a part, and improve the overall quality of the human environment. There are a number of areas of specialization that students can pursue that include soil science, crop science, or soil and crop management. If you are a science buff, there are more technical areas of specialization you can choose from like chemistry, fertility, genesis and morphology, microbiology, mineralogy, physics, genetics, and ecology.
If you have ever been interested in making food healthier, taste better, and safer for consumers, an advanced degree in nutrition and food science might be right up your alley. Students complete a rigorous scientific curriculum that prepares them for the numerous job opportunities available in the food industry or for graduate studies in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences and medicine. In studying food sciences, students apply a fundamental understanding of biological, chemical, physical, and behavioral sciences to the processing, preservation, quality evaluation, public health aspects, and utilization of foods. Most master programs will require a student to participate in hands-on training and lab courses as well as participate in a research project working closely with a faculty member.
A degree in this field can lead to a rewarding career, especially in the international context. Organizations like the World Health Organization, the US Department of Agriculture and United Nations Food Programme work rigorously to reduce hunger, improve health and nutrition around the world, and ensure that people around the world have access to quality food.
Following are a few links to international agriculture programs:
University of Minnesota Center of International Food and AgriculturePolicy (CIFAP)
Michigan State University Institute of International Agriculture
Cornell University International Program in the College of Agriculture andLife Sciences (IP CALS)
University of Davis International Agriculture Development Program
University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resource
There are countless ways you can go with a degree in agriculture graduate studies, including organic agriculture, agricultural business communications and biological and agricultural engineering. Graduate-level agriculture degrees can lead to career opportunities in management, engineering and science specialties, education and government.
For more information and resources related to sustainable agriculture visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website.