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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Agricultural Sciences


The COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES conducts education and research programs dealing with the proper utilization of land and water resources for the production of crops, livestock, and forest products to meet food and fiber needs, as well as plants for aesthetic use; protection and management of the environment, with its many ecological systems, so that it may be enjoyed by all; operation of agriculturally related industries that provide professional services to producers who process and market farm products; and the development of human resources and community services.

Agriculture is a science, a business, and a profession that requires many well-educated people to meet the demand for animal and plant specialists, conservationists, food technologists, environmental resource managers, engineers, veterinarians, entomologists, farm and forest managers, and many other agricultural professions. The college carries out its responsibilities through instruction, research, and extension. These activities are described more fully below.



EDUCATION AND TRAINING in food, agricultural, natural-resource, and related sciences are as critical today as they ever have been. Experts forecast a 50 percent growth in world population to about 9 billion in the next forty years. That increase, combined with the predicted improvement in standard of living and diet across developing nations, will require a doubling in food production. 

Graduates in these fields have opportunities to help solve challenges related to the food versus fuel debate, the health of the Chesapeake Bay and other ecosystems, Marcellus Shale gas exploration, biofuels and other renewable energy production, use of technology in farming and food manufacturing, invasive species, sustainability, emerging diseases that affect people, animals, and plants, and many other issues. 

A wide range of majors in the College of Agricultural Sciences offers students almost unlimited opportunities to merge their natural inclinations, talents, and specific individual abilities.

First-year students in a four-year program in the College of Agricultural Sciences study basic courses common to all majors. By deferring the selection of a major until the end of the sophomore year, students are given the opportunity to explore their interest areas and to acquire a better basis for making a decision.

A faculty adviser guides each student in choosing his or her course of study. Advisers are available throughout a student's college career to help plan course schedules and to assist with scholastic problems.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS for the college are listed in the Admission portion of the General Information section of this bulletin. The Biological Engineering major is jointly administered by the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering. Students who are interested in this major should consult requirements for admission to the College of Engineering. MINOR programs enable students to supplement their four-year major. Minors are listed under the "Minors" heading on the left side of this page. 

TWO-YEAR MAJORS lead to the associate degree. See the heading "Associate Degrees" on the left side of this page. Students in these majors, who must begin study of technical subjects the first year, are given assistance in planning their work by their faculty advisers.

GRADUATE PROGRAMS -- Information on programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees is given in the Penn State Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin.

TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM -- Agricultural students may qualify for certification to teach in the public school systems of Pennsylvania by completing the minimum course requirements of a subject matter field and the professional education requirements, which include student teaching. Professional courses are taken in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, College of Agricultural Sciences, and the College of Education. Students who are interested in teacher certification should see Teacher Education Programs.

PRE-VETERINARY MEDICINE -- Students can prepare for admission to veterinary school through various majors in the College of Agricultural Sciences. In most cases, students are not accepted to veterinary school prior to the completion of four or more years of college. Because of the limited number of admissions to veterinary schools, each candidate should select an undergraduate program that offers alternatives as well as preparation for admission to the professional program. The wide number of electives allowed in undergraduate majors in the College of Agricultural Sciences provides students with the opportunity to obtain strong preprofessional preparation in majors such as Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Animal Sciences, and Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

Students who want to pursue studies in other disciplines of agriculture or in other colleges may obtain information about veterinary school admission requirements by contacting members of the faculty of the Departments of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, and Animal Science.



Recommended Academic Plans provide, in table form, the courses students might schedule semester by semester as they pursue a specific undergraduate degree. Each college or campus maintains Recommended Academic Plans for its own majors/degree programs. Links to these plans are on the Division of Undergraduate Studies website at: Questions concerning the Recommended Academic Plans should be directed to the college or campus involved or the Division of Undergraduate Studies.  



The college offers four certificate programs that provide training in agriculturally related occupations.

The Food Technology certificate program, conducted on the Berks campus, is a credit program of formal classroom and laboratory instruction. The program consists of 25 credits that focus on the areas of basic chemistry, introduction to microbiology, basic food sciences, communication, writing skills, and business administration or management. For further information, contact Dr. Hassan Gourama, associate professor of food science, 610-396-6121, or Penn State Berks, Continuing Education, Tulpehocken Road, P.O. Box 7009, Reading, PA 19610-6009; 610-396-6220.

The Golf Course Turfgrass Management certificate program consists of two eight-week winter terms a year for two years. To gain practical experience, a six-month on-the-job internship is required between the first and second years. High school graduates 17 or older are eligible to apply. Admission to the program is limited and competitive. Offers to enroll are based on scholastic achievement, work experience, letters of recommendation, and the applicant's personal goals. For more information, contact the Golf Course Turfgrass Management Program, 441 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA  16802; or Dr. John Kaminski, 442 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA  16802; 814-865-3007; or visit

The Turfgrass Management online certificate is a 15-credit minimum program of study. Early courses in the program introduce the field and cover turfgrass pest management, turfgrass cultural systems, and turfgrass edaphology. The final required course comprises a series of case studies in turfgrass management. The delivery method for the core courses in this program is "online group," with a group of students progressing together through each course. The courses are offered in a time frame comparable to a traditional semester schedule, with fixed start and end dates. The course content and activities are available in electronic format, and access to the web is required in order to complete this program. For more information, visit:

The advanced Turfgrass Management online certificate is a 30-credit program that builds upon the basic Turfgrass Management certificate. To earn this certificate, students must successfully complete 30 required turfgrass credits. Courses in the program cover turfgrass pest management, turfgrass cultural systems, and turfgrass edaphology, and case studies in turfgrass management. The delivery method for the courses in this program is "online group," with a group of students progressing together through each course. The courses are offered in a time frame comparable to a traditional semester schedule, with fixed start and end dates. The course content and activities are available in electronic format, and access to the web is required in order to complete this program. For more information, visit:



Agricultural conferences and short courses that may last from one day to several weeks are held regularly on the University Park campus and around the state. The Office of Conferences and Short Courses works with Penn State faculty, government agencies, rural and urban organizations, and farm groups in planning and organizing these meetings. Using University-based resources, the conferences and short courses help businesses, industry, and individuals keep abreast of the latest developments that affect their lives and livelihoods. Conference announcements may be obtained from the Office of Conferences and Short Courses, The Pennsylvania State University, 306 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802-2601; 814-865-8301; Fax, 814-865-7050.



The college, in association with its counterparts in other states and in federal agencies, supports research related to the production and use of food, fiber, and forestry products and to the economic and social well-being of those living in rural and urban areas. It has a primary role in providing research information for use by Penn State Cooperative Extension and other public educational institutions.

Not only does the college fund research to increase the economic and technical efficiency with which products are produced and utilized, but it also seeks ways of achieving greater agricultural abundance in harmony with the environment and of achieving an ever-increasing level of quality in those products. 

To a large extent, faculty researchers also are actively engaged in the resident education, short course, and extension programs. This interaction enriches the content of the instructional experience and also guides the research efforts toward the solution of broad social concerns.

The college maintains many specialized research facilities for students, faculty, and staff to use. Researchers work in a wide span of state-of-the-art facilities tailored to their focus areas, from livestock and domestic fowl facilities and three regional specialty-crop research centers to 13,800 acres of research forests and farmland. To learn more about laboratories and research centers in the college, visit



Cooperative extension is a nonformal, community-based educational resource of Penn State, funded cooperatively by state and county governments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more than seventy-five years, Pennsylvanians have turned to Penn State Cooperative Extension for new ways to address community and individual issues related to agriculture; natural resources and environmental quality; family development and resource management; leadership and volunteer development; and nutrition, diet, and health.

Each year, more than 2 million people participate in Penn State Cooperative Extension seminars, workshops, conferences, short courses, computer-assisted learning, learn-at-home programs and other activities. Countless others request information and guidance from county educators and staff, and many more receive extension-related information through newspapers, radio, television, publications, websites, and other media.

About 300 county extension educators, 130 paraprofessionals, and 50,000 volunteers help plan, deliver, and evaluate cooperative extension education programs in all sixty-seven Pennsylvania counties. Teams of extension educators and Penn State faculty develop and provide leadership for educational programs and materials.

Penn State Cooperative Extension 4-H youth programs reach about 120,000 young people between the ages of 8 and 19 through organized clubs, special or short-term programs, school enrichment activities, and individual study. About 11,000 adult and 1,600 teen volunteer leaders work with county 4-H extension educators to deliver these programs. Youth participants come from cities (22 percent), suburbs (11 percent), medium-sized towns (21 percent), small towns (40 percent), and farms (6 percent).




BARBARA CHRIST, Senior Associate Dean

TRACY S. HOOVER, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

GARY A. THOMPSON, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

DENNIS D. CALVIN, Associate Dean and Director of Penn State Extension

DEANNA BEHRING, Assistant Dean for International Programs

PATREESE D. INGRAM, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs



Agricultural and Biological Engineering -- PAUL H. HEINEMANN, Head

BioRenewable Systems -- NIKKI BROWN, Program Coordinator
Biological Engineering -- MEGAN MARSHALL, Program Coordinator [offered jointly with College of Engineering]

Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education -- C. DANIEL AZZARA, Interim Head

Agribusiness Management -- DAVID ABLER, Program Coordinator [offered jointly with Smeal College of Business]
Agricultural and Extension Education -- JOHN C. EWING, Program Coordinator
Agricultural Science -- JOHN C. EWING, Program Coordinator
Community, Environment, and Development -- LELAND L. GLENNA, Program Coordinator

Animal Science -- TERRY D. ETHERTON, Head

            Animal Sciences -- ROBERT MIKESELL, Program Coordinator

Ecosystem Science and Management -- MICHAEL G. MESSINA, Head

ELLEN A. MANNO -- Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs
Forest Ecosystem Management
Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Entomology -- GARY W. FELTON, Head

Food Science -- ROBERT F. ROBERTS, Head

Food Science -- RANIA AGIL, Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology -- CAROLEE T. BULL, Head

Plant Science -- ERIN L. CONNOLLY, Head

Plant Science -- DENNIS DECOTEAU, Program Coordinator
Landscape Contracting -- DAN T. STEARNS, Program Coordinator
Turfgrass Science -- ANDREW McNITT, Program Coordinator

Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences -- GARY H. PERDEW, Interim Head

            Immunology and Infectious Disease -- PAMELA HANKEY, Program Coordinator
            Toxicology -- JOHN VANDEN HEUVEL, Program Coordinator
            Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences -- LESTER C. GRIEL, Program Coordinator  


            Environmental Resource Management -- ROBERT D. SHANNON, Program Coordinator







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