Agriculture and natural resources brings together a wide range of disciplines including animal and land management, food science, economics, horticulture, technology, and environmental conservation. Following inventions and innovations ranging from the seed drill to fertilising crops by drone, the past few centuries have seen farming become a science.
Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. It is also crucial to economic growth: in 2018, it accounted for 4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and in some developing countries, it can account for more than 25% of GDP.
Changes don’t appear overnight, that’s why it’s essential for the current and next generation of changemakers to be equipped with forward-thinking strategies and agricultural theory. A degree in this dynamic field is your opportunity to use science, technology and business to tackle critical sustainability issues and build a career with lasting impact. Here are four universities in North America that teach just that:
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University
Do you have an interest in plant science innovation? North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is quickly becoming the global hub for plant science education, research, innovation, and solution development and delivery.
The university’s unique location in North Carolina — which has the third most diverse agricultural economy in the US, with over 90 commercial crops and a large animal agriculture presence — makes them uniquely qualified to tackle the grand challenges in agriculture. CALS is globally recognised for their quality in teaching and for moulding professional leaders and preparing students for graduate research.
NC State University recently launched the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative, which aims to improve the world through plant science innovation. This is done with support from over 44 agricultural organisations and assistance from long-standing partners. The university is home to 18 research stations with collaborative research conducted in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service and the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services scientists.
NC State University is globally known for their plant breeding programmes, but they also boast a broad research portfolio of over US$130 million in annual expenditures, supporting 600 active projects. Much of that research involves graduate students, offering opportunities for hands-on learning and research.
The university serves as a unique training ground for a new breed of problem-solvers. Students can choose from a selection of programmes including Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Plant and Microbial Biology; Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences; and Plant Pathology.
Purdue University, College of Agriculture
A 96% rate of employment or enrollment in advanced degree programs within a year of graduation. Transformative experiences that change your outlook and world view, with options ranging from undergraduate research to studying abroad to leadership training and internship opportunities. Administrators, faculty and staff dedicated to student support and advocacy and committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture set within a highly ranked and world-renowned university.
These features define Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, one of the world’s leading colleges of agricultural, food, life and natural resource sciences.
Purdue Agriculture offers over 30 majors in a wide range of disciplines, such as business and marketing; wildlife and forestry; food and fermentation sciences; landscape architecture; animal sciences; environmental and natural resources engineering; plant sciences; sustainable food and farming; and biochemistry.
As a Purdue Agriculture graduate, you can capitalize on the strong employment market for graduates with interests and expertise gained from the majors offered here. To learn more about how Purdue Agriculture prepares students to make a difference, click here.
College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
If you’re interested in carving out a career in conservation and natural resources, there’s no better place to develop the foundations for a strong career than at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point’s College of Natural Resources.
The College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point has been a leader in the field for over 50 years. It is an education and research organisation focusing on the environment and sustainability. Its strength lies in its interdisciplinary approach and emphasis on hands-on field experiences. As a result, UW-Stevens Point equips its students to live sustainably, think critically, and realise long-term career success in a diverse world.
The College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point offers six distinct academic disciplines and delivers a well-rounded fundamental education in Conservation Law Enforcement, Environmental Education and Interpretation, Fisheries and Water Resources; Forestry; Natural Resource Planning; Paper Science and Chemical Engineering; Soil and Waste Resources; Sustainability; Wildlife Ecology, and Wildlife Education.
These specialisations provide students numerous career opportunities ranging from conservation wardens, fisheries biologists, research scientists, conservationists, foresters, wildlife technicians, soil scientists to water resource managers and many new and developing career fields. Their graduates find employment across the globe in various natural-resource and conservation fields as well as the paper science and engineering industries.
Its unique location, at the crossroads of the Wisconsin River Valley and the Central Sands region of Wisconsin, makes it an ideal place to study conservation and natural resources.
University of Wyoming
Founded in 1886, the University of Wyoming is a nationally recognised land-grant research institution with an expert faculty, top-ranked academic programmes and world-class facilities. If you seek the smart solutions to today’s environmental issues, start with the university’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
Here, you’ll be immersed in UW’s proactive leadership in education and scholarship to cultivate healthy, sustainable systems for Wyoming’s agriculture, environment and natural resources, and rural communities. This is a place where you can put your knowledge into practice, as UW equips agricultural students with the tools they need to tackle current environmental crises.
The college is assisted by their interdisciplinary university-wide departments including the departments of Agricultural and Applied Economics; Agricultural Communications; Animal Science; Ecosystem Science and Management; Family and Consumer Sciences; Molecular Biology; Plant Sciences and Veterinary Sciences.
In 2021, the college is adapting to COVID-19. “Campus certainly has a different feel compared to this time last year, but our faculty members and students are finding creative ways to adapt to what seems like a constantly evolving situation,” wrote John Ritten, Interim Associate Dean and Director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, in the college’s magazine “Reflections.”
“While we are looking forward to putting this behind us, please know we are doing our part to keep the college moving forward while working to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff and faculty members.”