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Agronomy and Crop Science

Program Description

Just the Facts

Agronomy and Crop Science. A program that focuses on the chemical, physical, and biological relationships of crops and the soils nurturing them. Includes instruction in the growth and behavior of agricultural crops, the development of new plant varieties, and the scientific management of soils and nutrients for maximum plant nutrition, health, and productivity.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Students in agronomy and soil science programs learn to look at a field and see the possibilities. They study the science behind agriculture.

Soil science is the study of the chemical, physical and biological properties of soil. Agronomy is the study of the relationship between plant life and soils.

Jane King is a professor of forage agronomy and physiology. She says soil science is a more narrow field than agronomy. Soil science focuses on things like soil chemistry, soil physics and soil hydrology. Agronomy looks at all aspects of crop production.

Students learn how plants and soils work. They study ways to manipulate plants to increase crop productivity. They also study pest management and learn how to control insects, diseases and weeds.

"The students will also gain an understanding of crop ecology, sustainable agriculture and biotechnology," says William Tracy. He is an agronomy professor at the University of Wisconsin.

They also get hands-on training. "We strongly emphasize internships and independent study, so actual hands-on skills will depend on the interest of the student," says Tracy.

"Many students will work in the field in the summer and gain skills in crop and pest management and farm machinery. They then will work in a laboratory during the academic year and get hands-on experience in biotechnology and molecular genetics," he adds.

Students will learn more than just science, King says. "They will understand how crops fit into the agricultural system and how agriculture is influenced by and influences the larger society," she says.

You'll need a strong background in math and science. "Biology, chemistry, mathematics and English are essential. Physics would be nice," says King.

There are also extracurricular activities that will help you prepare for this major. King recommends joining a 4-H program or environmental group.

In addition to tuition and books, there may be fees for the use of lab equipment.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Agricultural and Food Scientists

Soil Science Society of America
Find information for wise land use and more

Sustainable Agriculture Network
Working to make farming environmentally friendly

American Society of Agronomy
Information and resources dedicated to sustainable agriculture


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