The phenomenal demand for Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources graduates in the USA
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The phenomenal demand for Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources graduates in the USA

It’s always great when you read about your dream job being in popular demand. Students naturally worry about career prospects after graduation, but for those aiming to venture into the fields of environment, agriculture, and natural resources, you’ll be happy to know there is an extraordinary demand for qualified graduates in these industries.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, U.S. college graduates with expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and the environment are highly sought-after. In fact, the department has predicted almost 58,000 average annual openings for recent graduates over the next few years. Popular demand for students with specialized environmental expertise is hardly surprising as the country looks towards the next generation to address issues relating to food security, sustainable energy, and environmental quality.

Graduates in their respective fields will be addressing growing challenges and learning to demonstrate global leadership by providing solutions to sustainable food systems, sufficient water resources, and renewable energy. Choosing to study either environment, agriculture, or natural resources also provides students with a diverse range of career prospects. “There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture. Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities,” says Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture in the U.S.

 Image courtesy of University of Toronto

“Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050,” he concludes.

Intrigued to know more? Here some of the top universities in the U.S. specializing in environment, agriculture and natural resources education.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

The Kansas State University College of Agriculture prepares graduates to be leaders in industries related to agriculture, natural resources management, education, research and related sciences.  Industry leading professors instruct students in the classroom and facilitate students’ applying classroom knowledge through hands-on, experiential learning.

The College of Agriculture offers 16 undergraduate majors, one secondary major, 15 minors and five world-class certificates, in addition to its 18 graduate programs. Beyond the college’s outstanding academic experience, students will find a home away from home in the College of Agriculture.  Students experience individual academic advising, opportunities for undergraduate research, and countless opportunities for building community and networking with peers and industry leaders.  Use this guide to explore the majors and career opportunities

 Image courtesy of Kansas State University

FACULTY OF FORESTRY, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

As research leaders in forest conservation, the University of Toronto provides students with an education that understands, practices, and influences sustainable resource management, utilization and sustainable development. The award-winning Faculty of Forestry offers a graduate professional Master of Forest Conservation. In addition, it also offers a degree in Forest Biomaterial Science that will create graduates who are adept to the discipline of wood engineering science, technology and business while utilizing forest sustainably and benefit the economy.

While conservation and sustainability is important, the faculty ensures that every student who pursues a Forestry education will also learn about ecology, political science, economics, management, geography, psychology public health and more. The Faculty, which is a globally recognized powerhouse in scientific advancement and technological creativity, also offers international programs like internships and exchanges across five continents, with the aim of nurturing a new generation of diverse entrepreneurs.

SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

If you love the outdoors and are interested in natural resources, molecular genetics, or GIS, the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University is the perfect fit for you. Their highly-ranked school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees (MS and PhD) in areas that like Forestry, Wildlife, Ecology, Natural Resources Management, and Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. With a focus on providing students with hands-on experience in the field and in the lab, Michigan Tech provides outstanding programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and even allows students to achieve a postgraduate qualification with its five-year accelerated Master’s program.

Image courtesy of Michigan Technological University 

The School’s Master’s students can opt to pursue either coursework or a research project. The specialized PhD program, on the other hand, is designed to position graduates for jobs in research and in academia, while the professional Master of Geographic Information Science, and Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology prepares students for careers within these fast-developing fields.

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in a small town near the shores of the Great Lakes, the School boasts its own research and education forest, providing excellent opportunities for recreation the entire year through. What better place to gain an education to prepare for a successful career than being surrounded by the natural resources and accessible, beautiful lands of Upper Michigan!

FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, MCGILL UNIVERSITY

With more than 1,600 acres of land, the Macdonald Campus at McGill University is the largest green space on the island of Montreal and is home to the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES), the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Institute of Parasitology and the McGill School of Environment. The vast land of green is also home to plenty of ecological assets, like the Macdonald Campus Farm and McGill University Herbarium.

The faculty has nine departments, ranging from food science and agricultural chemistry to natural resource sciences, offering several undergraduate and graduate programs. Students here are given a personal and supportive academic experience due to a lower student to teacher ratio. They are also encouraged to get to know their professors and learn in a collaborative environment.

 Image via Shutterstock

ONTARIO AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

As Canada’s largest and most renowned agricultural college, the Ontario Agricultural College is a global leader in education, research and service in agriculture, food, environmental science and rural community development. Students at Ontario can choose from seven undergraduate programs and various graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees.

In addition to a solid education, the college is known for its powerful research, ranking as one of Canada’s top research institutions. The college incorporates six academic units; the Department of Animal Biosciences, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Department of Food Science, Department of Plant Agriculture, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, and School of Environmental Sciences.

STOCKBRIDGE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

In a rapidly changing world, students need to be equipped with knowledge that allows them to make positive change – and that’s the unique specialty of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. The School, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious agricultural programs in North America, seeks to nurture and develop students, practitioners, and scientists in order to prepare them for a sustainable future.

It also ensures that graduates are trained to become future leaders, decision makers and critical thinkers. Aside from that, the School provides hands-on and career-focused education, which is why employment rates of Stockbridge graduates are approaching 100 percent. Right now, Stockbridge offers a full range of degree programs from a 15-credit Certificate to Associate and Bachelor Degrees and Graduate Programs.

If you’re looking to make a positive contribution to the planet and help save the world, working in these fields will suit you very well. So, what are you waiting for?

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

Feature image via Shuttertock

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