Education

Best Online Agriculture Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Agriculture programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Agriculture is the science and art of producing food, fiber, and other products from plants and animals. Agriculture degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in agriculture, including farming, ranching, and agricultural science.

Agriculture degrees offer a broad overview of the field of agriculture, covering topics such as animal science, plant science, and agricultural economics. Students in agriculture degree programs learn about the different aspects of producing food, fiber, and other products from plants and animals. They also learn about the legal and regulatory environment in which agriculture businesses operate.

How to Choose the Right Agriculture Program

When it comes to choosing the right agriculture degree program, there are a few key factors that students need to consider. The first is the cost of the program. Agriculture programs can be expensive, so students need to make sure they can afford the tuition and associated costs. The second is the location of the program. Some programs are located in rural areas, while others are in urban areas. Students need to consider whether they want to be in a rural or urban environment. The third is the time to degree. Some programs can be completed in as little as two years, while others may take four years or more. Students need to consider how long they are willing to spend in school. Finally, students need to consider the specializations offered by each program. Some programs offer specializations in areas such as animal science, crop science, and soil science. Students need to choose a program that offers the specialization they are interested in.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Agriculture Programs

The best online programs for Agriculture ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from the University of Minnesota blends a strong base of agriculture, business, and general education courses while maximizing flexibility that allows students to choose electives to fit their career interests and expectations.

Rank 2
Murray State University
Murray, KY

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science from Murray State University is offered in both a traditional and 100% online format. Students in the online program have the flexibility to complete coursework at times that are most convenient for them. Those pursuing their degree on the Murray campus can get involved in organizations such as the Agribusiness Club, Collegiate FFA, and Alpha Gamma Rho. The school has extensive facilities, including four farm complexes located within a mile of campus, and offers students the opportunity to participate in research and discovery projects.

Rank 3
The University of Tennessee-Martin
Martin, TN

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business degree gives students instruction in the agricultural sciences, agricultural economics, accounting, finance, policy, marketing and management. The curriculum emphasizes training related to the management phases of agricultural industry and business.

Rank 4
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences from Oregon State University is a flexible program that allows students to design their own degree. The program is rooted in more than 150 years of agricultural teaching expertise and is delivered through a top-ranked online learning platform. Students can choose from a variety of agriculture-based credits and electives, such as crop and soil science, agricultural sciences and natural resources communications, leadership or agricultural business management. The College of Agricultural Sciences’ broad-ranging course offerings enable students to explore topics across the agricultural spectrum or specialize in a few areas of emphasis based on their interests and career goals.

Rank 5
Greenville University
Greenville, IL

The Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness from Greenville University is an online applied business management degree adapted for the agribusiness industry. The program provides hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for success in domestic and international agricultural business environments. The curriculum is industry-driven and grounded in interdisciplinary learning. Students have the opportunity to serve in consulting roles for leading agribusiness companies by participating in the Experience First program. The program includes studies in business and market plan development, entrepreneurial lab exercises, and agricultural commodity market simulations.

Rank 6
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Leadership degree from Oklahoma State University is a degree completion program designed for students who have earned an associate degree in an agriculture-related field. The program is delivered entirely online and provides students with the flexibility to complete their coursework around their schedules. The curriculum for the program follows the same curriculum as the on-campus agricultural leadership program and provides students with the opportunity to customize their coursework according to their career interests. The program requires students to complete a six credit-hour internship experience prior to graduation.

Rank 7
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from Fort Hays State University provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the agricultural industry. The program consists of 120 hours, and students can join at any time during the year. The curriculum includes general education courses, agricultural courses, business cognates, and free electives. Upon completion of the program, graduates have a 99% job placement rate.

Rank 8
Illinois College
Jacksonville, IL

The Bachelor of Arts in Agribusiness Management from Illinois College is an online degree program that prepares students for business roles within the agricultural sector. The curriculum combines essential business and agricultural topics, giving students a broad understanding of successful practices in all aspects of the field. The program can be completed in 18 months and includes a required internship.

Rank 9
Utah State University
Logan, UT

The Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness from Utah State University is a versatile degree that gives students a strong foundation in business. The program covers topics such as agricultural economics, principles of management information systems, natural resources and regional economics, firm finance and records analysis.

Rank 10
The University of Tennessee System
Knoxville, TN

The Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The University of Tennessee System is an online program that can be completed in as few as four semesters. The program is designed for students who already have an associate’s degree and want to pursue a career in agriculture. The program requires a minimum of 60 undergraduate credit hours, and includes coursework in agricultural leadership, education, and communications.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Agriculture Program

Online agriculture programs typically require between 120 and 128 credits for graduation. Most schools offer a 4-year plan of study, but some accelerated programs allow students to complete the degree in as little as 3 years. The curriculum covers topics like animal science, crop science, soil science, and agricultural business.

In addition to general education classes, students must complete a number of major-specific courses, such as introductory and advanced animal science, introductory and advanced crop science, and agricultural economics. Students might also be required to take classes in agricultural mechanics and farm management. Some programs offer concentrations that allow students to focus their studies on a specific area of interest, such as animal science or agribusiness.

Common Agriculture Courses

The coursework for an agricultural degree will depend on the focus of the program. However, there are some common core classes that are typically required for all students. The following is a list of five courses that are often found in agricultural degree programs.

Plant Science

This course covers the study of plant science with an emphasis on the role of plants in the biosphere. Topics include plant cells and tissues, growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, and environmental factors affecting plant growth. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationships between plants and the environment. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of plant science and its role in the biosphere.

Farm Management

This course covers the application of business management principles to farm and ranch operations. Topics include financial analysis, record keeping, marketing, risk management, and government regulations. Upon completion, students should be able to apply business management principles to the operation of a farm or ranch.

Principles of Agricultural Economics

This course covers the basic economic principles as they apply to the agricultural and food industries. Topics include an introduction to microeconomics, demand and supply, production and cost, market structures, farm management, agribusiness management, and current issues in agriculture. Upon completion, students should be able to apply economic principles to analyze and understand issues affecting the agricultural and food industries.

Soil Science

This course covers the formation, composition, and classification of soils; the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils; and the principles of soil fertility and tillage. Emphasis is placed on the role of soils in the environment and their management for agricultural production, water quality, and other uses. Upon completion, students should be able to identify the major soil-forming processes, classify soils using the USDA Soil Taxonomy, and interpret a soil map.

Principles of Animal Science

This course covers the scientific study of domestic animals with an emphasis on their biology, management, and products. Topics include animal anatomy and physiology, growth and development, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, animal health, animal products, and current issues in animal agriculture. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of animal science principles and their application to the management of domestic animals.

Career Options for Agriculture Graduates

Graduates of agriculture programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including farming, ranching, and agriculture. They may also work in fields such as food science, food production, and food safety.

Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers apply engineering principles to solve problems related to agriculture. They might work on issues like water quality, food safety, soil conservation, or agricultural production. Agricultural engineers might design new ways to store or process food, develop more efficient irrigation systems, or come up with new ways to reduce crop damage from pests. They might also work on projects related to biotechnology or renewable energy.

Animal Breeder

Animal breeders work with a variety of animals to improve the quality of future generations by selecting for desirable traits. This process is called selective breeding. Animal breeders often specialize in a particular type of animal, such as cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, horses, birds, or fish. They typically work for zoos, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, or farms. Some breeders also work for companies that produce animal feed, pet food, or pharmaceuticals.

Farm Manager

Farm managers are responsible for the overall operation of a farm. This can include everything from planting and harvesting crops to raising livestock and managing the finances. Farm managers typically work for large farms or agricultural companies and often oversee a team of workers. In addition to being responsible for the day-to-day operations of the farm, farm managers also develop long-term plans for the farm, such as deciding what crops to plant and when to plant them.

Agricultural Salesperson

Agricultural salespeople sell products and services related to farming, ranching, and other agricultural endeavors. They may work for companies that sell equipment, seed, and other supplies to farmers, or they may work for companies that provide services like crop insurance or farm management software. Agricultural salespeople typically spend a lot of time traveling to meet with clients, so they should be comfortable being away from home for long periods of time. They also need to be knowledgeable about the products and services they’re selling and be able to answer questions about them.

Animal Scientist

Animal scientists conduct research to develop new ways to improve the quality of life and safety of animals. They also work to improve the efficiency of animal production and to find new uses for animals and animal products. Animal scientists typically work in laboratories and office settings. They may work for government agencies, universities, or private companies.

Insights From an Agriculture Graduate

Beatrice Palmer is a Farm Manager at Green Earth Farms. She has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University. Beatrice has over 20 years of experience in farm management and agriculture.

ClimbtheLadder: What would you recommend that students do in addition to their degree program, in order to stand out to employers?

Beatrice Palmer: I would recommend that students get involved in as many practical applications of their degree as possible. This can be done through internships, research projects, and extracurricular activities. Employers want to see that you have put your knowledge to use and that you have a passion for the field.

In addition, I would recommend that students get involved in the community. There are many organizations that focus on agriculture and the environment. Getting involved in these organizations shows employers that you are committed to the field and that you care about the issues that are important to them.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Agriculture career?

Beatrice Palmer: I would say that a successful person in an agriculture career is someone who is passionate about the industry, has a strong work ethic, and is always willing to learn.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Beatrice Palmer: The most challenging course I took was Agricultural Economics. The course was very difficult because it was all about numbers and I’m not very good at math. My advice to students who are about to start this course is to really focus and study hard. If you can get through this course, you can get through anything.

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