A doctoral program in agriculture is an advanced research degree usually requiring three to five years of study beyond receiving a Bachelor's degree. PhD's in agriculture play an important role in maintaining North America's food supply by ensuring agricultural productivity and safety. Agriculture PhD's are employed in education and in senior research positions in industry.
PhD work in agriculture is quite challenging and in most cases those achieving a PhD in agriculture will spend anywhere from one to three years studying advanced coursework in their chosen subject field, prior to commencing their doctoral thesis. Generally, time spent on coursework tends to be less if one has earned a relevant Master's degree first. These advanced studies may eliminate the need to take certain courses. However, some agriculture doctoral programs tend not to accept students who have not already completed a Master's degree. Others are more likely to accept students with a Bachelor's degree. The decision on who to accept into a PhD program is highly variable.
Selected majors/areas of research for a PhD in Agriculture and Agriculture Sciences include
Agriculture Economics - agribusiness management, agriculture economics, agriculture finance, farm management, food industry marketing and management, quantitative agriculture economics, sales and marketing Agriculture Education Agricultural & Biological Engineering Agronomic Sciences and Business - agronomic business and marketing, applied meteorology, environmental soil science, international agronomy, plant genetics and plant breeding, soil and crop management, soil and crop science Animal Sciences and Business - animal agribusiness and sales, animal production, animal products, animal science, biotechnology, research, animal welfare and behaviour Botany and Plant Pathology Entomology Food Science - food manufacturing operations, food science Forestry/Fisheries/Natural Resources/Wildlife - fisheries and aquatics sciences, forestry, natural resources, wildlife, wood products manufacturing technology Horticulture Sciences and Business - horticulture production and marketing, horticultural science, landscape horticulture and design public horticulture
Students in an agriculture doctoral program must pass a written and oral qualifying exam and then complete and formally defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research. In general, all agriculture PhD programs require that successful candidates for the degree demonstrate:
The ability to conduct independent research at a high level, leading to completion of a dissertation which is defended before a committee of scholars. Because examinations given as part of a PhD curriculum assess expert knowledge, they are created and evaluated by a committee of experts, each of whom holds a PhD degree Proficiency in the tools necessary to carry out this research, including but not limited to computer skills and bibliographic competence Mastery of general and specific subject matter in the field of study before a committee of scholars
Part- and full-time study options, along with various delivery modes - residential programs, distance education programs and online programs - are also available. North American PhD programs welcome foreign students in agriculture. However, fluency in spoken and written English is critically important.
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