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Can You Get an Agriculture Degree Online?

An image of an agricultural field for our article "Can I get an agriculture degree online?"Can you get an agriculture degree online? The answer is yes! Dozens of universities offer online agriculture degrees. Although agriculture might seem like a hands-on field of study, there are ways to learn about agriculture using distance learning, especially with today’s technology. Also, agriculture is an incredibly broad field. While some areas are hands-on, others are more academic in nature. Majors such as apiculture (also known as beekeeping) or aquaculture (raising fish) are more difficult to find online, due to the hands-on nature of these areas of study. Areas of agriculture that are often studied are described in more detail below, but some examples of majors that are offered online include agricultural economics, farm and ranch management, and crop production.

An online degree is especially advantageous because of the way that it is structured. Often, online degrees are made to be flexible for those who have other responsibilities, such as work. If classes are scheduled synchronously, they take place at set and specific times, often using video calls on an online platform such as Zoom. In order to make classes more easily accessible for students with busy schedules, synchronous classes are often scheduled on weekends or in the evening. Asynchronous classes do not take place at a specific time. Instead, an instructor will often give out required reading and have students write a response to it. They may also give students videos to watch, either from an external source or pre-recorded by the instructor.

How long does it take to get an associate’s online agriculture degree?

An associate’s degree usually takes two years to finish. Most often, it is accomplished over the course of four semesters. An online agriculture associate’s degree has many advantages. While it does require a commitment of time and money, it only requires about half the time that it would take to get a bachelor’s degree, and consequently is much less expensive. The advantages of earning an online agriculture associate’s degree, especially relating to less time and financial constraints, are detailed elsewhere in this article. This may help those who are considering the advantages and disadvantages of an associate’s degree, and those who are wondering, “How long does it take to get an associate’s online agriculture degree?”

Can you get an online agriculture degree at the bachelor’s level?

Yes! Quite a few universities offer online bachelor’s degrees in agriculture. A bachelor’s degree typically takes about four years. Often, online degrees also have the option to be earned on a part-time basis. This means that you will take more time to earn the degree, but you will also be able to continue doing other things, such as working, at the same time. If you are wondering, “Can you get an online agriculture degree?” because of scheduling reasons, remember that online agriculture degree programs are designed with busy schedules in mind. This means that the universities that offer these online agriculture degree programs will be doing everything they can to make it easier on their students.

Is there such a thing as an online agriculture master’s degree?

Quite a few universities offer online agriculture master’s degrees. Master’s degrees usually take around two or three years, with a varying number of semesters needed. Usually, a master’s degree has an independent research component that is not found in bachelor’s or associate’s degrees. A master’s degree is for someone who wants to study their chosen topic in a more in-depth manner. Often, an online agriculture master’s degree will be more specific than a bachelor’s degree and hone in on a particular facet of the area of study – in this case, agriculture. Agriculture is such a broad field that there are almost limitless areas to learn more about.

What kinds of courses will you take in an online agriculture degree?

It depends on what major within the field of agriculture you are planning to pursue. There are so many different concentrations and majors within the field that the course options will be very broad. The following general sample is from Colorado State University’s website. Some of the courses in that university’s online agriculture degrees are: agricultural and resource economics, agriculture, animal science, horticulture, landscape architecture, and soil and crop sciences. To hone in on one area, some classes offered at that university for those pursuing a master of extension education include American agricultural values and ideology, principles of cooperative extension, evaluation and applied research, and others. The area of agriculture is so broad that it is difficult to pin down just a few courses. If you are interested in finding out what courses you will take in any of these online agriculture degrees, consider narrowing down your options and determining what kind of degree you plan to earn. Then you can research that specific area and discover what courses you will take. Often, a program’s website will have information on what courses students will be expected to take.

What majors are available for an online agriculture degree?

Many, many different areas are available for those who would like to earn an online agriculture degree. Besides of all the different levels at which education takes place, there are dozens of areas to study in an online agriculture degree. Many different personalities, and many people with different skills, can find a degree that fits them. Here are just a few.

Agricultural and Food Products Processing

In this area, students learn about business, and how it relates to food and agriculture. In this major, students might take courses like commodity futures, cooperative management, ag law & economics, farm management, and consumer behavior (taken from the Kansas State University website.) This is a good major for those that are interested in the link between where food comes from and where it is delivered to consumers. This is often listed as an agribusiness degree, which means that there will be business and management courses, as well as agriculture- and food-related courses.

Agricultural Economics

Agricultural Economics is basically an agribusiness degree that focuses largely on economics. Some of the courses that might be taken in this degree include food animal science, food – from farm to table, agricultural and resource economics, principles of animal biology, agricultural policy, and international agricultural trade. (These sample courses were taken from Colorado State University’s website.) This might be a good degree for someone who is interested in both the agriculture industry and the way that it relates to how wealth is created and distributed.

Agriculture, General

This is a degree that covers some of everything for those who want to earn an online agriculture degree. Some courses that might be taken in this kind of degree (taken from the website of Northwest Iowa Community College) include principles of agronomy, survey of the animal industry, fundamentals of soil science, agricultural finance, issues in agriculture, farm equipment management, and other courses. The student will gain an understanding of many different areas in the agriculture industry with this online agriculture degree.

Plant and Soil Science

This major is, not surprisingly, the study of plants and soil. Plants and soil play a huge part of everyone’s lives every day, whether directly or indirectly. This major is for those who want to find out more about these two areas. For a typical agriculture degree, the focus is often on how to make the soil a better place for plants to produce more. In a degree with a more sustainable focus, the student may learn how to use the relationship between plants and soil to revitalize the environment and make both plants and soil more sustainable. Sample courses include principles of horticulture, principles of chemistry, urban soil, agricultural statistics, management of horticultural enterprises, biology of plants, crop physiology, and more. (These sample courses are taken from the Texas A&M University website.)

Agricultural Communication/Journalism

Agricultural communication and journalism involves teaching the public about agriculture. It may help bridge the gap, often all too wide, between those who produce food and those who consume it. It may also involve communication in a specialized way for those within the agricultural world. For those with a passion for both communication and agriculture, this is a degree worth looking into. Some courses you might take with this major (taken from the Texas A&M University website) are introduction to agricultural communication; editing for agricultural audiences; design for agricultural media; agricultural public relations; introduction to radio broadcasting, production, and audience analysis; communicating agricultural information to the public; web authoring in agricultural communication; television production for agricultural journalists; and more.

Are these the only online agriculture degrees available?

No! These are just a few of the options for online agriculture degrees. Agriculture encompasses such a wide range of careers, majors, skills, and areas that there are almost unlimited options for what specific part of agriculture to go into. For more agriculture online degree options, visit this page on the College Navigator website. This is a list of colleges that offer some form of online degree. To reach a list of possible majors, click on “Browse for Programs.” This will show a list of degree options. If the box beside “Only find schools that offer these selections as Distance Education” is selected, the degree options will be available online. This is where you can find out more about what specific area of agriculture interests you most.

How much does an agriculture degree online cost?

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific cost for an online agriculture degree. There are many factors that go into a program’s cost, including the school’s location, the degree level, whether a student is from inside the state or outside, and other components. According to U.S. News, the average cost range for an online bachelor’s degree is $38,496 to $60,593. This varies depending on whether the school is in-state or out-of-state, and according to other factors, such as whether the online degree is being offered by a public or a private school.

Can you get scholarships for online agriculture degree programs?

According to scholarships.com, a great many scholarships are available for those studying agriculture or agribusiness. Award amounts in the list range from $500 to $50,000. The website does not differentiate, in the list, between which scholarships are available to online students and which ones are available to on-campus students; please check with each scholarhip’s website to see which ones apply to online students. Some scholarships require an essay, while others do not.

What careers are available with an agriculture degree online?An image of a woman holding a computer in front of a field for our article answering the question, "Can I get an agriculture degree online?"

An article by aghires.com lists the top 40 careers for those with an agriculture degree online. There are numerous ways that agriculture plays out, and there are many different facets of the agriculture world that can be explored. Whether you would like to work in an office or would prefer to work hands-on, there is something here for you. The four main areas for agriculture careers are education, communication, and government services; food and biomaterials production; management and business; and science and engineering. Some education, communication or government services careers are: high school agriscience teacher, plant and animal inspector, agricultural extension educator, and natural resources conservation specialist. Some science and engineering careers are: food scientist, veterinarian, insect biologist, and watershed scientist. Management and business careers in the agriculture field include farm labor specialist, agricultural economist, marketing specialist, and sales and service representative. In the area of food and biomaterials production, careers include farmer, rancher, forest manager, crop management consultant, aquaculturist, and range manager, among others. These are just a few of the many careers available to those with an agriculture degree online!

In a nutshell . . .

Agriculture degrees are quite commonly offered online, at several levels. An online degree can be very advantageous, especially for those who have scheduling limitations or who want to save money. Many different types of majors are available in the area of agriculture, leading to many different career opportunities. Whether you are interested in science, business, journalism, education, or hands-on work with animals, you are sure to find an area in agriculture that fits your skills and interests.

OAD Staff
July 2021

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This concludes our article answering the question, “Can you get an agriculture degree online?”