The general agriculture program is designed to serve students who wish to pursue a college education in the broad area of agriculture. Traditionally, students who have been undecided about their future plans have selected this major to explore the various career options available to them in agriculture before selecting a major. Some students desiring to tailor a degree to meet their career objectives in production agriculture have majored in general agriculture. In addition, some transfer students from two-year institutions find the greater flexibility of the general agriculture major useful in obtaining a bachelor's degree.
General agriculture provides for an exploratory program in agriculture or may serve as a degree-granting major. Students undecided about which of the 19 majors available in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources is best for their individual plans may choose the exploratory program. This program provides for completion of many General Education requirements while students enroll in introductory courses within several disciplines in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. Many students following the exploratory program transfer to one of the academic disciplines (such as agricultural economics, agricultural systems management, animal sciences, crop and weed sciences or horticulture) before completing their sophomore year.
Some of the students entering general agriculture complete the degree requirements with a general agriculture major. Students receive broad exposure to four or more disciplines and have a large number of unrestricted electives that may be utilized to prepare for specific careers. The flexibility of the curriculum is a point of interest for many students. Several students transferring from two-year institutions have found that they could complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree in less time. However, transfer students are still encouraged to consider majors in specific disciplines if that is their career objective.
General Agriculture Exploratory Program
The exploratory program in general agriculture is intended for those students who know they are interested in agriculture but are undecided as to their preferred discipline to pursue. This program is designed to expose students to several agricultural disciplines and thereby various career options. New students are encouraged to enroll the first year in at least three introductory courses in different agricultural disciplines. In addition, students must complete general education requirements in English, math, chemistry, social and behavioral sciences, and humanities and fine arts. By following the exploratory program, a student may be phased easily into a specific discipline by the end of the sophomore year.
Faculty and Facilities
General agriculture does not have a faculty or a course per se. General agriculture relies on departments to teach basic and advanced courses within their disciplines. A coordinating committee with faculty representing most areas of agricultural sciences administers the general agriculture program. Advisors for students are selected within various disciplines. These faculty members work with students in developing an appropriate plan of study and assist students in exploring various career opportunities. Once an exploratory student chooses a major, an appropriate advisor from that major is selected by the student.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study are available through the NDSU Office of Student Financial Services. Students requiring financial assistance should contact the Office of Student Financial Services or Bison Connection directly. In addition, the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources has several scholarships available for outstanding students based primarily on academic performance. Contact the Office of the Dean, College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources for information and application forms.
Extra Curricular Activities
General agriculture does not have a specific student organization. However, students are highly encouraged to become active members in at least one student organization, several of which are sponsored by the academic departments in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources.
Employment opportunities for students in general agriculture remain strong and are similar to those of other production agriculture majors. Generally, the demand for graduates from the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources exceeds the number of available graduates. Students can greatly enhance their employability by obtaining at least one summer internship during their formal education.
Employers indicate that the most important characteristics desired in graduates include excellent oral and written communication skills, ability to meet and work with people under a variety of conditions, initiative, work ethic, and an adequate background. Most recent general agriculture majors have returned to the farm; therefore, we do not have a reliable sample for typical starting salaries. The Career Center reported that the average starting salary for general agriculture graduates in 2011 was $43,000 per year.
General Education RequirementsCredits
|First Year Experience |
|Agri. 189 - Skills for Academic Success
| Comm. 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking
|Engl. 110, 120 - College Composition I, II
|| 3, 3
|Engl. 320 - Business and Professional Writing
|Science & Technology |
|Chem. 117, 117L - Chemical Concepts and Applications or
Chem. 121, 121L - General Chemistry I and Lab
| 3, 1|
|CSci. 114 - Microcomputer Packages or
CSci. 116 - Business Use of Computers
| 3 or 4|
|PlSc. 315 - Genetics
|Humanities & Fine Arts
|Social and Behavioral Sciences Sciences
|| 2 |
| Cultural Diversity
|| - |
|Agri. 150 - Agriculture Orientation
|Math. 103 - College Algebra
|Additional Science and Math Requirements
|Discipline Area Courses
The following introductory agricultural science courses are recommended: Econ. 201, AgEc. 242 or 244; ANSC 114 or 223; ASM 115 or 125; CFS 210; Ent. 210 or 350; Micr. 202 and 202L; PlSc. 110, 111, 210 and 211, or 225; PPth. 324; Soil. 210; or VetS. 135, 136, or 150. Students are encouraged to select at least one course within most disciplines.
Basic science courses in biology, chemistry, entomology, microbiology, botany or zoology are recommended.
General Agriculture Minor
A minor in general agriculture may be obtained by satisfactorily completing 24 credits with at least six credits in each of any four disciplines offered by the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources.
This sample curriculum is not intended to serve as a curriculum guide for current students, but rather an example of course offerings for prospective students. For the curriculum requirements in effect at the time of entrance into a program, consult with an academic advisor or with the Office of Registration and Records.
Dr. David Buchanan
Associate Dean for Academic Programs
College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources
North Dakota State University
Morrill Hall 315
Dept. #2200, PO Box #6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: (701) 231-7426
Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Dept 5230, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: (701) 231-8643
Fax: (701) 231-8802