Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Majors

The agricultural leadership, education and communications degree provides an opportunity for students to complete concentrations in four different areasagricultural education, agricultural extension education, agricultural leadership, and agricultural communications.

These concentrations prepare graduates for careers in both formal and nonformal education.

Career Opportunities:

  • Agricultural education teacher
  • Agricultural Extension agent
  • Loan agent
  • Field representative
  • Farm manager
  • News reporter
  • Communications consultant
  • Lawyer
  • News editor
  • Natural resources conservationist
  • Sales and marketing professional


Agricultural Communications

This concentration provides students with written and oral communication skills and prepares them to communicate in meaningful and effective ways about science, agriculture, and nature. Careers can be found in agricultural and scientific industries; agencies and operations that include scientific writing, agricultural promotion, and consulting; and agricultural planning and assessment.

Agricultural Education

This concentration prepares students for a career as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. Students earn a certification from the Tennessee Department of Education and a license to teach agriculture in one of Tennessee’s public schools that is also transferable to other states.

Community Engagement and Leadership Development

Prepares students to pursue careers in community or youth organizations, Extension, government, business/industry, or international environments by developing strong leadership skills and an understanding of how people learn and organizations function.

Two male students looks over a baby piglet.

The animal science degree provides hands-on animal experiences while preparing students for a wide variety of careers. This program, which focuses on livestock, prides itself on building and creating knowledge that integrates biology with animal care and productivity.

By combining a core animal science curriculum with a focus in other science, technology, or business-related courses, students can design their own program that best prepares them for their future.

Career Opportunities:

  • Veterinarian
  • Farm manager
  • Scientist
  • Sales professional
  • Extension agent
  • Field representative
  • Pre-harvest food safety technician
  • Nutritionist


Animal Industries

This concentration is great for pursuing careers in multiple agribusinesses, including pharmaceutical, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, farm/animal management, and pre- and post-harvest food safety, among others. It requires a minor with a business or communications focus, as well as an internship.


Bioscience is a highly flexible, science-focused concentration that is great for students who want to pursue graduate school or other professional programs, as well as careers in pre- and post-harvest food safety, wildlife, and nutrition, to name a few. Students may choose a minor for more in-depth knowledge.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Students gain hands-on experience with production farm animals while preparing to meet the admissions requirement for veterinary and other professional schools. More of our students are accepted into the UT College of Veterinary Medicine than any other program in the state!

Students working in lab

Biosystems engineering is the most “integrative engineering discipline available today, combining elements from biological, chemical, environmental, mechanical, civil, electrical, and other engineering disciplines to produce the broadest possible engineering skill set.

This engineering background is complemented with a focus on biologically based systems critical for solving problems involving energy, people, and the environment. Graduates are particularly qualified to work at the interface of technology and living systems—whether in fuel, food, and fiber production; environmental issues; or in a biological context.

Upper-level biosystems engineering students are uniquely positioned to pursue almost any area of engineering that interests them, including biofuels, environmental systems, machine design and optimization, soil and water conservation, instrumentation and sensors, bioreactors, waste treatment, or any of a host of other possibilities.

Career Opportunities:

  • Project engineer team leader
  • Product or process designer
  • Product marketing or management services consultant
  • Biosystems engineer in a government agency or education and research institution

Optional Concentration:


Students in the biosystems engineering major may choose to take classes to prepare them to apply to medical, dental, pharmacy, or other professional programs. In addition to providing a strong science foundation, this concentration offers students a unique perspective in their future medical careers.

Construction Science and Agricultural Systems is designed to prepare students for entry into the very broad and diverse range of management careers related to the modern construction industry.

Construction Science

Graduates from this concentration have the skills and knowledge to enter into construction management opportunities. The program relies on knowledge from engineering, construction, and business and gives students exposure to relevant technology such as CAD, GPS/GIS sensors, and electronic information transfer.

Students doing soil testing

The bachelor’s degree in environmental and soil sciences provides students with a strong foundation in basic sciences or engineering technology to prepare them for a broad range of possible careers.

Students study basic natural sciences and applied areas, such as ecology, soil sciences, and natural resources policy and build expertise with technologies, such as geographical information systems, global positioning systems, and computer applications in natural resource management.

Career Opportunities:

  • International agriculture
  • Urban agriculture
  • Crop consulting
  • Residential, agricultural, commercial, paving, and excavation construction
  • Off-road vehicle business
  • Wildlife management
  • Off-road vehicle equipment or material suppliers
  • Soil scientist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Peace Corps


Conservation Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability

This concentration is challenging, science-based, and emphasizes an ecosystem approach to crop production and sustainability of our precious natural resources. Students in this program study basic natural sciences, such as chemistry and plant sciences, as well as applied areas, such as integrated pest management, soil sciences, climate change, and natural resource policy.

Environmental Science

Students in this program study land, soil, and water resources and their role in natural and managed ecosystems. They understand the issues involved in protecting the environment—degradation, conservation, recycling, climate change, and renewal energy. Students also learn the societal issues related to the environment, such as policy, economics, and ethics.

Soil Science

Graduates of this concentration are trained to understand and manage soil and other natural resources, such as water, including soil and water conservation issues, land use concerns, best management practices for urban and rural lands, waste disposal, and reclamation of disturbed lands. Students learn to evaluate soil characteristics in the field and lab using industry-standard tests and techniques. They learn to survey, identify, classify, and map soils, and to predict the suitability of a soil for specific uses.

Food and Agriculture Business majors pose for a picture

Students majoring in food and agricultural business study the structure and function of markets within the global economic system with emphasis on the agri-food sector.

Students also study principles for decision making by business managers, consumers, policymakers, and others within that system. They have ample opportunity to develop strong microcomputer skills and gain practical, real-world experience through case study analyses, the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) marketing team, internships, and extracurricular activities.

Career Opportunities:

  • Food and agribusiness
  • Private company
  • Industry organization
  • Public agency

Optional Concentrations:

Agricultural Production and Technology Management

This concentration focuses on futures/options markets and agricultural commodity policy, as well as animal science, plant science, and other courses related to production agriculture. Possible careers include management of a farm or agricultural production facility or work in the farm input supply sector.

Finance and Risk Management

Students in this concentration are interested in working in some capacity within the finance, insurance, or real estate industries, or for the US Department of Agriculture agencies that administer the commodity and crop insurance programs. Classes include rural real estate appraisal, agricultural law, and commodity policy, and students earn a minor in business administration.

Food Industry Management

This concentration is appropriate for students interested in employment with companies engaged in the processing of agricultural commodities or the manufacturing, wholesaling, or retailing of food products. This program includes classes on food industry management, marketing, and food policy. Students also earn a minor in business administration.

Law and Policy

Law and policy is a great concentration for students interested in law school or a graduate program in public administration or public policy, as well as students interested in working for a government agency or industry organization. Students take courses in areas of law and policy in addition to the other food and agricultural business classes.

Five-Year BS/MS

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics offers an accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (BS-MS) program for qualified students. Students obtain a BS degree in agricultural and resource economics with a major in food and agricultural business or natural resource and environmental economics in seven semesters by completing 120 credit hours, including nine hours of graduate courses that count towards both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students then go on to obtain a thesis-based MS degree in agricultural and resource economics (agricultural economics concentration or natural resource economics concentration) in three semesters and one summer, completing an additional twenty-two credit hours of graduate work.

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Are you interested in developing new delicious and nutritional food products? Are you interested in improving the safety of the world’s food supply? Do you like science and/or engineering? When you finish college do you want to have a career that pays well and is rewarding? Then food science is the right major for you.

A food scientist applies chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to the production, processing, preservation, evaluation, and distribution of food products. Food scientists help ensure the availability of safe, convenient, desirable, and nutritious foods for the world’s consumers.

Career Opportunities:

  • New product research and development
  • Quality assurance and quality control
  • Production management
  • Marketing
  • Food/flavor chemistry
  • Microbiological food safety
  • Food engineering
  • Sensory evaluation
  • Food safety and quality inspection in state and federal government


Five-Year BS/MS Degree

For qualified students, the department offers a five-year BS/MS accelerated degree program with a BS major in food science and a thesis-based MS major in food science. This program allows students to take up to nine hours of graduate courses during their senior year that will count toward their BS and MS degrees.


Are you interested in attending medical, dental, pharmacy, or veterinary school? Students gain a strong science background that prepares them for graduate school while setting themselves apart with an understanding of how food processing affects our health.

Optional 3+1 Program

There is also an accelerated 3+1 pre-professional track that allows you to complete the admissions requirements and apply to a University of Tennessee professional school after your third year at the college. Once you have successfully completed your first year of professional school, your bachelor of science degree in food science is awarded.


This concentration takes a scientific approach to unlocking the mysteries of food chemistry. How do you add extra nutrients to food? How do you make a jellybean taste like buttered popcorn? The answer is SCIENCE! You will be prepared to solve these issues and more through careers in research or by pursuing advanced degrees.

The profession of forestry is the science, art, and practice of managing and using for human benefit the natural resources that occur on and in association with forest lands.

Our principal instructional objective is to provide the broad education needed to deal effectively with the complexity of forest resources. This program is the only forestry bachelor’s program in Tennessee and is highlighted by a semester-long field camp that takes students all over the southeastern United States for hands-on experiences.

Career Opportunities:

  • Forest biology
  • Forest business management
  • Forest economics
  • Forest inventory


Forest Resources Management

The forest resources management concentration involves the management of the broad spectrum of natural resources. In addition to core required courses, there are elective credit hours for broad studies or specialized training in one or more areas of forestry.

Restoration and Conservation Science

This concentration prepares students for a career maintaining and restoring the health of our natural landscapes. The program draws from many disciplines and emphasizes forestry, ecology, soil and waters, and wildlife. The curriculum includes an internship and courses in restoration and conservation, and students may specialize in wildlife habitats, watersheds, ecosystem construction, ecology, or biodiversity.

Urban Forestry

This concentration is an interdisciplinary program emphasizing forestry, arboriculture, horticulture, urban forest management, and urban wildlife. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates who can evaluate, plan, and resolve problems in urban and traditional forests. Foresters work closely with the public and private sector, so development of personnel management and communications skills is highly encouraged.

Wildland Recreation

This is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to work in natural resource-based recreation settings. Students can obtain specializations in complementary areas, such as education, cultural and natural history interpretation, communications and public relations, landscape design and ornamental horticulture, or business and public administration.

Scenery with a creek and a red barn

In the US and throughout the world, there is increasing competition for limited land, water, and other natural resources, as well as growing concern about environmental degradation of various sorts.

As such, there is a growing need for professionals who can assist in the process of balancing economic and environmental trade-offs. Natural resource and environmental economics prepares students to do just this within a variety of careers in both the private and public sectors.

Career Opportunities:

  • Environmental policy specialist
  • State or federal agency economist
  • Conservation economist

The curriculum is highly interdisciplinary, combining coursework in natural and environmental sciences, economics, business, and policy, allowing sufficient flexibility for students to tailor their program to their individual interests and career goals. Other subject matter includes conservation, ecology, and forestry, as well as soil and water issues. Students gain skills using tools such as geographic information systems for analysis of spatially referenced data.

Students graduating with this major may find employment in private firms with environmental compliance activities or conservation initiatives directed toward energy or other natural resources. Opportunities also exist with consulting firms that assist clients in meeting environmental objectives. Many nonprofit environmental organizations seek to employ staff with economic training. Several federal government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Energy, employ natural resource and environmental economists. Students are also well-prepared to pursue a professional program in environmental law.

Five-Year BS/MS Option

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics offers an accelerated five-year Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (BS-MS) program for qualified students. Students obtain a BS degree in agricultural and resource economics with a major in food and agricultural business or natural resource and environmental economics in seven semesters by completing 120 credit hours, including nine hours of graduate courses that count towards both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students then go on to obtain a thesis-based MS degree in agricultural and resource economics (agricultural economics concentration or natural resource economics concentration) in three semesters and one summer, completing an additional twenty-two credit hours of graduate work.

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Academic programs in the Department of Plant Sciences span the art, science, and technology of plant use in society.

With the increasing emphasis placed on plants in urban areas, we offer particularly extensive training in landscape horticulture: planning, implementation, and management for landscapes, turf, and gardens. We also offer comprehensive programs in plant biotechnology, bioenergy, and organic plant production.


Plant Genetics and Biotechnology

This concentration is designed for students wishing to pursue advanced degrees in plant molecular biology, bioenergy, biotechnology, and/or careers in the plant biotechnology industry. The curriculum will prepare students to be competitive for entrance into MS and PhD degree programs, preparing them for life as professional scientists. The plant biotechnology industry and biotechnology-affiliated industries have demand for competent BS-level scientists.

Horticulture Science and Production

This concentration includes production of ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables, nursery and greenhouse management, medicinal plants, and plant breeding. Additional preparation in the business of the green industry is available.

Sustainable Science and Production

This concentration positions students for careers through which they impact the way in which we live, work, and play and shape the health of our environment through the applied arts and sciences of the designed landscape. Studies include plant materials, design development and communication, construction methods, environmental science, and ecological systems.

Organic Production

This concentration integrates plant science with soil science, agricultural economics, entomology, ecology, and plant pathology, giving students the knowledge and skill needed for production and management of organic cropping systems. This concentration is suitable for those interested in food policy, food production, agronomy, and the business of organic food production.

Public Horticulture

This concentration is for students interested in professional careers that promote horticulture and emphasize people and their education and enjoyment of plants. Diverse classes prepare students for a wide variety of careers in horticulture and related fields.

Turfgrass Science and Management

This concentration is for students interested in a variety of careers in the turfgrass industry, including managing golf courses, athletic fields, industry-wide sales and services, and commercial and residential turf programs. It is a diverse program combining the study of grasses, soils, water, and pests. A programming focus is the production and maintenance of grasses for recreational, aesthetic, and environmental uses.

Horticulture Therapy Certificate Program

The Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program at the Herbert College of Agriculture offers a robust learning experience in a hybrid accelerated format. Students will learn about horticultural therapy techniques, types of programs, and how to develop a program themselves. An in-depth study of stakeholders, theoretical foundations, adaptation methods, and assessment strategies for programs are integral parts of coursework. Participants will also learn how to design accessible outdoor and indoor spaces. The goal of the certificate program is to educate successful horticultural therapists and explore ways to grow this meaningful profession.

Sustainable Landscape Design

This concentration offers an innovative education in contemporary landscape studies. Its curriculum prepares students to plan, design, implement, manage, and evaluate contemporary landscapes. These landscapes manage storm water and improve water resource quality, regenerate and remediate degraded sites, and promote public health and healthy urban ecosystems while creatively shaping the aesthetics of the public realm.

To learn more about this program, visit the department’s website.

Are you interested in wildlife ecology, aquaculture, zoology, or conservation biology? Perhaps wildlife and fisheries science is the right choice for you!

Wildlife and fisheries science is the application of ecological knowledge to populations of vertebrate animals and their plant and animal associates in a manner that strikes a balance between the needs of populations and the needs of people. Students develop a broad understanding of biology, ecology, physical sciences, and applied natural resources management. Courses in human dimensions and natural resource policy provide students with the ability to understand the motivations of, and communicate with, diverse public on natural resource issues.


Wildlife and Fisheries Management

These students study the science and art of maintaining populations of wild animals at levels consistent with the best interests of both wild species and people. Management goals may be aesthetic, economic, or ecological.

Wildlife Health

This concentration provides training for biologists interested in ensuring the health of wildlife and fisheries populations, conserving wild species, and protecting domestic animals and humans from diseases spread by wildlife. Wildlife health is a challenging aspect of wildlife management, and students are encouraged to continue with a graduate or veterinary degree after completing this undergraduate program.

Undergraduate Minors

The agricultural and natural resource communication minor gives students a broad background in the foundations of agricultural communications as well as an introduction to visual and strategic communication in agriculture. Careful selection of the directed electives allows the student to emphasize visual design, marketing, or other communication skills and strategies.

The agricultural extension minor provides a broad background in the foundations of agricultural extension as well as an introduction to positive youth development and adult learning theory.

This agricultural leadership minor develops transferable leadership skills that are useful within any agricultural sciences and natural resources career.

The student will receive a broad background in physiology, nutrition, and management with the animal science minor.

Courses in this biosystems engineering technology minor prepare students in other disciplines to apply very basic elements of elementary engineering principles, techniques, and systems approaches to agriculture and natural resources.

The entomology and plant pathology minor is designed to provide students insight into the crucial role that insects and plant pathogens have in human affairs and the environment. It is available as an elective to all UTK students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs. Students who have an interest in entomology, plant pathology, and/or are majoring in fields associated with natural resource management, animal sciences, veterinary medicine, public health, anthropology/forensic science, food and fiber production, agriscience education, biodiversity, and ecology should consider enrolling. Successful completion of this minor will help prepare students for graduate studies in entomology and plant pathology and related fields, or careers in agriscience, environmental science, or biology, such as secondary education, pest control, industry, and Extension.

Food science minor

Forestry minor

Coursework and experiential programming is offered by the Herbert College of Agriculture leading to an honors food, agricultural, natural resource, and human sciences (FANHS) minor. The program is designed to develop future leaders through a student-centered program in research, leadership, international programming, and/or Extension that includes co-curricular programming emphasizing soft skill refinement. Students will be able to articulate inter-connection among FANHS disciplines and demonstrate skills necessary to do independent research in FANHS. This minor is restricted to Herbert students who qualify for University Honors Programs or Herbert students who have a 3.5 GPA after their first year. Students wishing to declare the minor must contact the Herbert honors coordinator.

Globalization and feeding the world’s projected 2050 population of nine-billion has made international experiences nearly obligatory for students to excel in the professional workforce. This international agriculture and natural resources minor will prepare undergraduate students to sustainably meet the challenges of global food and natural resources security while concurrently conserving ecosystems and biodiversity.

The learning outcomes of this minor are:

  • Understanding the interdependency across nations to produce food and natural resources,
  • Appreciating the connectedness of food and natural resources production on natural ecosystems and global processes, and
  • Comprehending strategies by which agricultural products and natural resources can be sustainably procured.

More information on the minor can be obtained on the Herbert College of Agriculture website or by contacting the Herbert student international experiences coordinator, Adam Willcox, at awillcox@utk.edu. Students wishing to declare the minor must contact the student international experiences coordinator for advising. The minor may also fulfill multiple requirements for the University of Tennessee Peace Corps Prep Program.

Students from any major can complete a minor in natural resource and environmental economics, adding a complementary strength to their academic program and increasing their competitiveness for careers in both private and public sectors. The required courses in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics provide students with exposure to the areas of agricultural and environmental law, policy, and one additional area of the student’s choice. Please contact the department as early as possible for guidance in working these courses into your overall academic program.

Global one health initiatives have been developed to ensure global health security by creating transdisciplinary collaborations among human, animal, plant and environmental sectors. This One Health minor is for undergraduate students who will develop skills to prepare them for One Health-related careers in agricultural, environmental, and human sciences, scientific policy and communication, human and veterinary medicine, engineering and economics, and many more. Information on advising and how to declare the minor can be obtained from the UT One Health Initiative website.

Growing awareness of the complexity of water quantity and quality issues related to human activities leads to dealing with those issues on a watershed scale. The watershed minor is for undergraduate students wishing to develop expanded skills in watershed science/engineering, planning and design, and culture and policy issues related to water. These skills are especially useful for careers in natural resource policy, water and land management, sustainable development and design for private industry, and storm water management for government agencies.