Students generally find nutrition and agriculture master's programs in a university’s department of agriculture or at a school of nutritional science. These degree programs offer an interdisciplinary look at how agriculture, nutrition and food sciences affect communities and public health. Completion of a graduate degree related to agriculture and nutrition can prepare a student to have a career as a researcher, policy analyst, consultant or advocate.
Importance of Graduate Nutrition and Agriculture Degrees
Nutritional and agriculture graduate degree programs are about more than just farming techniques. According to Tufts University, their program prepares the next generation of leaders in the food, agriculture and environmental science industries. These programs prepare students to influence food and agriculture policies, to implement social change and to teach communities about sustainable agricultural practices. Graduates leave with knowledge about the politics behind food production and distribution, local food systems and the public’s behavior as it relates to food and the environment.
Types of Degrees Offered
Nutrition and agriculture graduate programs vary by educational institution. In general, graduates earn a Master of Science in specializations such as agricultural education, agribusiness, environmental horticultural science or community nutrition. Some universities also offer graduate degrees in hospitality and tourism administration. This type of graduate degree equips a student with knowledge about food tourism, farm-to-plate models, food production and consumption patterns in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Graduate Program Prerequisites
The prerequisites required to earn a graduate degree in nutrition and agriculture differ by program. In addition to earning an undergraduate degree and completing the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, a graduate school may call for the completion of specific undergraduate science, agricultural science and/or food and nutrition courses. Some graduate schools may also require applicants to have professional or volunteer experience in an agriculture- or nutrition-related field.
The specific courses that graduate students studying nutrition and agriculture take depend on the university program and concentration chosen. In general, the classes teach students about agricultural, science-related policy issues and the policy-making processes related to energy, soil, pest management, forestry, plant breeding and livestock reproduction. Students may learn about the history of agriculture production and nutrition in the U.S., as well as become knowledgeable in nutritional science. Depending on the graduate program, a student may need to participate in an internship program or research project, which requires them to apply the concepts learned in the classroom and to refine the skills they've gained. Some graduate programs also require the completion of a thesis project.
- Southern Illinois University: Food and Nutrition
- California Polytechnic State University: Graduate Programs of Study
- Tufts University: Agriculture, Food and Environment, Overview
- Tufts University: Agriculture, Food and Environment, Curriculum
- Tufts University: Agriculture, Food and Environment, Eligibility
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