Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2007-2009 Courses and Programs

Iowa State University Catalog

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College of Agriculture

Wendy Wintersteen, Dean

Departments of the College

Agricultural Education and Studies
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Animal Science
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Genetics, Development and Cell Biology
Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Plant Pathology

Students enrolled in the College of Agriculture are provided a broad-based education that includes coursework in communications; biological, physical, and social sciences; humanities; and technical subject matter.

Upon graduation students find diverse career opportunities because of the well balanced education they have received as undergraduates. Opportunities for graduates include production agriculture, business and industry, public agencies, education, biological and environmental sciences, value-added processing, natural resource management, rural development, animal and human health professions, and graduate studies.

High School Preparation

Requirements for students entering from high school or transferring with less than 24 college credits into the College of Agriculture include four years of English; three years of mathematics which must include one year each of algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra; three years of science which must include one year each of biology and chemistry, or biology and physics, or chemistry and physics; and two years of social studies. No foreign language is required for admission to the College of Agriculture.

Majors in the College of Agriculture

A student has many majors from which to choose. Each major is unique but there are courses common to many. This is helpful to students in that they may transfer from one agriculture major to another before the second year with little, if any, loss of credits. Options and areas of specialization further define the majors and required coursework within some majors. In all cases, majors are designed to help students succeed in their chosen professions. Majors in agriculture are:

Primary Majors

Agricultural Biochemistry
Agricultural Business
Agricultural Education
Agricultural Studies
Agricultural Systems Technology
Animal Ecology
Animal Science
Dairy Science
Environmental Science
Food Science
Industrial Technology
Nutritional Science
Public Service and Administration in Agriculture

Secondary Majors

Environmental Studies
International Agriculture
Seed Science

A secondary major must be taken in conjunction with a primary major.


Agricultural Biochemistry
Agricultural Education and Studies
Agricultural Systems Technology
Animal Ecology
Animal Science
Emerging Global Diseases*
Entrepreneurial Studies*
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies
Food Safety*
Food Science
Industrial Technology
International Agriculture

*The College of Agriculture participates in these interdepartmental minors. See statement on minors in the Colleges and Curricula section of this catalog.

Special Programs

Agriculture Exploration

Agriculture Exploration is a starting place for students who wish to pursue careers in the life sciences, food science, natural resources, production agriculture, business, or communications but who are unsure of which majors to choose. Students entering this program will be advised in the Agriculture Student Services Office until they select their majors.

Preveterinary Medicine

Students in the College of Agriculture may complete the requirements for admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine by enrolling in any major within the college. Because a solid foundation in the sciences is basic to the program in veterinary medicine, those majors that emphasize the sciences are usually more compatible with preveterinary medicine (see College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog for specific admissions requirements).

Students who are undecided about choice of major may enroll in general preveterinary stud-ies (Gen PV). These students will also enroll in an orientation course, which describes the various college majors. A Gen PV student has up to 1.5 semesters to select a major.

Preveterinary medicine students also have an opportunity, with careful planning, to complete the requirements for a bachelor of science degree in an individual curriculum within the College of Agriculture after admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine. This may be done by completing the prescribed course of study established by an individual major. Students also may meet degree requirements of an individual major through the College of Agriculture Honors Program. Further details are available from an academic adviser or from members of the College of Agriculture Honors Committee.

Honors Program

The College of Agriculture Honors Program provides an opportunity for students of high ability to maximize their educational experience by individualizing their program of study. (See statement on Honors Program in the Colleges and Curricula section of this catalog). For more information, contact the chair of the College of Agriculture Honors Committee, or a department Honors contact person.

Off-Campus Programs

Coursework leading to a master of science degree in agricultural education, master of agriculture degree in professional agriculture and a master of science degree in agronomy are offered to students who choose to study off-campus; see Extended and Continuing Education for further information.

Study Abroad and International Travel Opportunities

Agriculture is being transformed into a highly interconnected global system; decisions made in one agricultural sector have profound impacts worldwide. It is important for students to develop an understanding and appreciation for the global system and the central role that U.S. agriculture plays in providing a safe and predictable food supply for a growing world population. The College of Agriculture provides study abroad and international travel opportunities in several locations around the world. For additional information, contact the Office of Global Agriculture Programs in the College of Agriculture.

Internships and Cooperative Education Programs

Practical work experience can provide a unique learning opportunity that complements academic coursework. This experience is provided through internships or cooperative education programs. For additional information, contact a departmental adviser or internship coordinator.

College of Agriculture Core Curriculum and Electives

All curricula in the College of Agriculture lead to a bachelor of science degree. Each major has specific degree requirements for graduation based on department and college student learning outcomes. College of Agriculture core curriculum requirements for the four areas listed below are established to provide the foundation for successful accomplishment of both departmental and college level learning outcomes.

Students pursuing a primary major in another college and taking a second major in the College of Agriculture must fulfill the core curriculum requirements of the College of Agriculture and all the requirements of the second major. The College of Agriculture core curriculum follows.

Minimum Degree Requirements
9.5 Interpersonal and public communication skills
6 credits of English composition with grades of C or better; 3 credits of speech fundamentals with grades of C or better; 0.5 credit in Lib 160
17 Mathematical and computer science
3 credits of mathematics; 3 credits of statistics; 5 credits of physical science (e.g., chemistry, geologi-cal and atmospheric sciences, physics); 6 credits of life science (e.g., biochemistry, biology, botany, ecology, genetics, microbiology, physiology, zoology).
12 Humanities, social sciences
3 credits of humanities; 3 credits of social sciences; 3 credits of U.S. diversity from an approved list; 3 credits of international perspectives from an approved list.
3 Ethics
Requirement met in one of two ways designated by the student’s major program of study: 1) 3 credits from a college-approved list; or 2) a course in foundational elements of ethical/critical thinking offered by the Department of Philosophy specifically to meet this requirement for College of Agriculture majors, AND a course designated by the student’s major program designated to coordinate with this foundational course.Refer to the College of Agriculture web site for details of the ethics requirement.

All students graduating with majors within the College of Agriculture are expected to be proficient in the following college level outcomes:


  • Be able to speak and write clearly and persuasively.
  • Demonstrate the skill necessary to prepare effective visual presentations.
  • Be able to receive information effectively through reading, listening, and observation.

Problem-Solving/Critical Thinking

  • Be able to work effectively with others on complex, issue-laden problems requiring holistic problem-solving approaches.
  • Demonstrate an ability to: Distinguish verifiable facts from value claims, Determine the accuracy of statements, Identify assumptions and detect bias, Distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, Prioritize needs.
  • Be able to summarize, analyze, and interpret simple research data.


  • Develop an ethical perspective and sense of moral responsibility and values.
  • Be able to discuss contemporary ethical and moral issues in professional and private life.
  • Be able to critically evaluate their own arguments and those of others.

Environmental Awareness

  • Understand the physical and biological properties of the environment and how these properties are interlinked within ecological systems.
  • Understand how human activities, such as modern agricultural practices, impact the environment and how societies are affected by environmental change.

International/Multi-Cultural Awareness

  • Have an awareness and understanding of cultural diversity within our own nation and around the world.
  • Develop a global perspective on agricultural, environmental, economic, and natural resource issues.

In addition to the College level learning outcomes, each department within the college has additional discipline-specific outcomes that apply to graduates of that department.


Students use electives to broaden their education or to strengthen an area of specialization. Electives may be used to meet the requirements for a double major (see statement on double majors in this catalog). Those who wish to change their major, or who decide to graduate with a double major, must be enrolled for the last two semesters in the curriculum in which they expect to graduate. Students in ROTC may apply ROTC credits toward elective requirements.


Each student in the College of Agriculture works closely with an academic adviser who is associated with the major in which the student is enrolled.

All entering students are strongly encouraged to participate in the summer orientation program in which they will have the opportunity to meet and work with academic advisers in planning their first semester schedule of classes.

The advisers also assist students in making personal adjustments to university life, offer suggestions on academic and co-curricular choices, and provide information on career choices. Advisers make a special effort to adjust course schedules in accordance with students’ interests and capabilities.
A student may wish to prepare for admission to a professional program such as law, medicine, or veterinary medicine while pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Agriculture. This may be accomplished through several majors; however, it is recommended that the student work closely with an academic adviser.

Each department prepares a guide to help students chart their long-term programs and to specify the exact requirements for graduation. Visit the college web site

Graduate Study

Graduate study in agriculture is conducted through the Graduate College. Details are found in the Graduate College section of this catalog.

Various departments in the College of Agriculture also participate in the following graduate-level interdepartmental offerings:

Biorenewable Resources and Technology
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Environmental Science
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Nutritional Sciences
Plant Physiology
Professional Agriculture (off-campus)
Seed Technology and Business
Sustainable Agriculture
Technology and Social Change (interdepartmental minor)
For details, consult the Graduate College section of this catalog.