Agricultural Science Major

A hands-on approach to the wide world of agricultural science.

A broad background in the science, management, business, philosophy, and practice of agriculture. Graduates thrive in every imaginable ag-related business, lead government agencies, teach aspiring ag professionals, or continue to grad school.

A broad agricultural education, with a laser focus.

Agriculture is a moving target. Demand for products and services, and the expertise needed to get it all done, changes daily. The Agricultural Science major provides a hands-on, science and business look at the full spectrum of agriculture, so you have an incredible range of knowledge to draw on. As trends shift, you’ll have the background to adjust.

You won’t be a jack of all trades, master of none. Every Agricultural Science major completes a minor to concentrate on a specific area that matches professional aspirations and personal interests.

Agricultural Science is the right major if you’re:

  • seeking the broadest possible exposure to all areas of agriculture
  • interested in tailor-making an academic experience that matches your passions and professional interests
  • preparing for a career in agribusiness or other aspects of the food and fiber industries
  • planning to continue on to professional schools
Become part of an industry that's a world leader in providing food and fiber to millions of people.

A premier academic experience.

Career-Driven Curriculum

The formula for success as an agricultural professional is the mastery of the science, leadership skills, and emerging trends critical to successful ag enterprises. Those are the competencies we teach.

Example Courses

  • Developing Youth Leadership through Organization and Program Structure
  • Introduction to International Agriculture
  • Food Facts and Fads
  • Plant Stress: It’s Not Easy Being Green
  • Introduction into Ethics and Issues in Agriculture
  • The Fungal Jungle: A Mycological Safari From Truffles to Slime Molds

Minor

Students majoring in Agricultural Science must complete an 18-21 credit minor. This is an incredible opportunity to customize your curriculum, separate your résumé from the pack, and dig deep into your interests.

Minors to broaden and focus your Penn State Ag experience

  • Agribusiness Management
  • Agronomy
  • Animal Science
  • International Agriculture
  • Leadership Development
  • Poultry and Avian Science
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation—Food and Bio-Innovation

See the complete list of minors offered by the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Ag Journeys

“The Ag Science major gives me a taste of everything.”

– Mitchell Valentin

The syllabus is only a starting point.

Grads let us know that what they learned outside the curriculum has a huge impact. There are clubs and teams for just about any interest you can imagine. Dive in, learn, meet people, and have fun.

Same goes with our internship opportunities. Companies compete to bring Penn Staters onboard for the summer, and many students return to campus with a summer of practical experience and a job offer waiting in the wings. There are also research and study abroad opportunities to gain experience and academic credit. 

Craft your experience.

Related clubs and teams 

  • Agribusiness Management Club
  • Collegiate 4-H
  • Horticulture Club
  • Livestock Judging Team
  • Student Farm
  • Sustainable Agriculture Club
  • See all clubs and teams

Recent internships

  • Agribusiness companies
  • Extension offices
  • Farms
  • Non-profits
  • Plant Production
  • Public agencies
  • Universities

Popular study abroad 

  • Belize (Agricultural Education)
  • Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand (Agricultural Sciences, Animal Science, Ecosystems, Food Science, Plant Science)
Agricultural science students enjoy study abroad opportunities such as hiking a tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico. Penn State students enjoying a rainforest experience in Costa Rica. Penn State students marveling at the Angkor Wat water management system.

A practical, workforce-ready degree—and a college experience you’ll love.

Penn State Agricultural Science grads are leading family farms, running greenhouses, walking the halls of government, thriving in graduate programs, and teaching others, all over the world.

Our alumni out in the world

  • Agriculture sales companies
  • Agricultural finance
  • Cooperative extension
  • Conservation agencies
  • Food, agricultural, and natural resource–related commodity groups
  • Government agencies
  • International agricultural agencies
  • Land-use and appraisal organizations
  • Production farming
  • Public relations

Agricultural Science Career Options

Harness the power of a truly unique education at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Here are just a few examples.

Organic farm certification specialist

An organic farm certification specialist determines if agricultural operations meet government and industry organic standards.

What will I do?

  • Review applications from farm operations desiring organic status
  • Inspect farms to determine if the equipment, materials, plants, animals and producers meet recognized organic standards
  • Stay current on organic farming practices, regulations, and laws

Agricultural loan officer

An agricultural loan officer services farm loans offered by government agencies and/or banks.

What will I do?

  • Loan servicing, counseling and technical assistance to borrowers and manages an extensive portfolio of loans
  • Determine a borrower’s financial soundness and assist borrowers in achieving loan approval
  • Expand access to farm loans to farmers who are unaware of eligibility for farm program loans.

Farm manager

A farm manager oversees all aspects of a farm business, including the maintenance of all buildings and equipment, the well-being of livestock and the safety of farm employees.

What will I do?

  • Set and monitor animal nutrition programs
  • Coordinate veterinary care
  • Maintain equipment
  • Hire, train and supervise farm employees
  • Maintain records
  • Remain up-to-date on industry trends and regulations

Industrial sales representative

An industrial sales representative sells specialized equipment and services to customers ranging from multinational corporations to family farms.

What will I do?

  • Solicit potential customers and travel to customer locations
  • Demonstrate products and services and close the sale
  • Stay current on competitor offerings
  • Assist customers with any questions or concerns after the sale

Agricultural Science students in the news

November 12, 2019

First-year student awarded study abroad funding as Borlaug-Ruan intern

Emma Steely, a first-year environmental resource management student in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica through her participation in the Pennsylvania School for Excellence in the Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.

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October 6, 2019

Penn State senior shares his passion for landscape contracting

Jack Pohutsky, a senior in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, was attracted to the rewarding, hands-on work of landscape contracting, and he took to the major immediately. Through small, student-focused classes, which touched on subjects such as horticulture, biology and design software, he has gained valuable knowledge and experience.

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October 4, 2019

From Mount Nittany to Patagonia: Students prep for study abroad in Chile

Over winter break, Penn State students in the embedded course, “ERM 499: Natural Resources in Chile/Patagonia,” will spend two weeks exploring the culture of Chile and the vast region of Patagonia with a focus on natural resources, climate and sustainability.

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September 25, 2019

Animal science class will explore animal industries in Belgium, the Netherlands

For students interested in embedded courses through Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the spring 2020 semester will include a new animal science class that features a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands.

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