The Master of Science in Agronomy is a degree that will prepare the student for very important work in the agriculture industry. This degree is not the easiest to earn however, as dedication, drive, and a passion for agricultural science are almost certainly necessary.
What exactly is a master of science in agronomy? Let’s take a look at some of the basics.
“Agronomy” is the official term for the scientific study of crop growth. An agronomist therefore is a professional working in the field of agronomy. Agronomists spend most of their time studying crop growth and ways to improve it. As discussed by the American Society of Agronomy, aside from basic plant growth, the science also gives specific focus to soil and all other natural resources relevant to the science of crop growth. Understanding all aspects of agronomy and using these principles to the advantage of humans and nature is the ultimate goal here.
Master’s of Science in Agronomy
The master of agronomy science is a valuable credential to have. First, one must earn it though. The degree itself consists of core competency classes in science, math, and English. Beyond these core classes, more specialized courses abound. A look at the renowned Iowa State University’s course list for the MS in agronomy gives quite an accurate feel as to what these courses entail. Students will take courses such as:
- Chemistry, Physics, and Biology of Soils
- Integrated Pest Management
- Agronomic Systems Analysis
- Crop Protection
- Soil-Plant Environment
Such specialized subjects of study will prepare the learner for their career in modern agronomy. In the end, this degree program will typically require four to six years of college dedication. A few of the nation’s top colleges for agronomy majors include Iowa State University, Cornell University, the University of Florida, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For those interested in other college choices here, there are also several other alternatives to choose from in the field.
Subsequent Career Paths
The most direct application of an MS in agronomy is through a career as an agronomist. The private agronomist is a valuable asset to any companies that are in the agricultural business. Again, the agronomist provides ongoing study and research in the science of crop growth, and in this case, provides the results of these efforts to their employer. The employer here may be a small farming company, a soil amendment company, or even a major produce supplier.
In agriculture, a field manager is one who is responsible for the overall growing conditions of a given land plot. The field manager gathers agronomy data from this specific area and uses the resulting data in order to maximize growing potential here. In this pursuit, they may enact many different policies, provide continuous directives to other workers there, and report regularly to the upper levels of the operation.
Another career matched perfectly to holders of the MS in agronomy is that of the line breeder. Line breeders, or plant breeders are responsible for the evolution and creation of new, more beneficial forms of the plants we know and consume today. By identifying desired and unwanted traits in a specific plant, the breeder can then use agronomy and agricultural skills to selectively breed the plant to a more desirable, future form. The ultimate goal of such breeding practices is simply the continued evolution towards the “perfect” plants and growing results for future generations.
These are the ins and outs of the MS in agronomy as well as the job opportunities afforded by its receipt. As our world grows, such experts will continue to be needed in order to keep the masses happy and fed. More information regarding this field and the Master of Science in Agronomy can be found by contacting any one of the aforementioned colleges specializing in these areas.