Undergraduate Studies

Find your future here

Are you interested in playing a role in the US agri-food system? Your future could involve management, marketing, logistics, finance or policy.

Do you have an interest in the wise management of our land, water and other natural resources? Your future could include working for an organization dedicated to solving environmental problems.

Find your future through our undergraduate majors, concentrations, and minors all focused on preparing you for a successful future.

Majors & Concentrations


Food and Agricultural Business Major

Students majoring in food and agricultural business are prepared for a wide variety of career opportunities. The focus of their studies is on the functioning of the agri-food sector in the global economic system and the economic principles for decision making by business managers, consumers, policymakers, and others within that sector. Students complete a curriculum designed to provide them with a broad-based education and the specialized skills necessary for a successful career in the agri-food industry or with a related organization or public agency. The curriculum builds upon the university-wide general education requirements by adding a set of directed electives from within the Herbert College of Agriculture, a set of core courses from within the Haslam College of Business, and a set of required courses within the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Students customize their program by selecting among upper-division electives within the department. General elective hours in the curriculum allow flexibility for students to pursue a minor within some area of technical agriculture or another field such as communications. Students have ample opportunity to develop strong microcomputer skills and gain practical real-world experiences through case study analyses, the NAMA marketing team, internships, and extracurricular activities. Students must complete an experiential learning requirement involving either an internship, an undergraduate research project, or a study abroad experience.

Concentrations

Agricultural Production and Technology Management Concentration

Compared to the base major, this concentration requires courses within the department in futures/options markets and agricultural commodity policy, along with a capstone course in agricultural production and technology management. Outside the department, courses in animal science and plant science are required, along with an additional six hours of coursework in areas related to production agriculture. This concentration would be appropriate for students who expect to be involved in management of a farm or agricultural production facility and for students who are pointing toward a career in the farm input supply sector.

Law and Policy Concentration

Compared to the base major, this concentration requires courses in two of three areas of law (agricultural, business, environmental) and two of three areas of policy (commodity, conservation, and food). Two additional courses related to law and/or policy are also required from a list of directed electives. This concentration would be appropriate for students pointing toward law school or a graduate program in public administration or public policy. Students seeking to work for a government agency or and industry organization would also benefit greatly from pursuing this concentration.

Finance and Risk Management Concentration includes Business Administration Minor

Compared to the base major, this concentration requires departmental courses in rural real estate appraisal, agricultural law, futures/options markets, and commodity policy. This concentration builds in a Minor in Business Administration that includes courses in management, marketing, and finance. This concentration would be appropriate for students 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.

Food Industry Management Concentration includes Business Administration Minor

Compared to the base major, this concentration requires departmental courses in food industry management and marketing as well as food policy. A course in food laws and regulations is also required. This concentration builds in a Minor in Business Administration that includes courses in management, marketing, and finance. This concentration would be appropriate for students interested in employment with companies engaged in the processing of agricultural commodities or the manufacturing, wholesaling, or retailing of food products.


Natural Resource and Environmental Economics Major

Students majoring in natural resource and environmental economics are prepared for a variety of careers in both the private and public sectors. With increasing competition for limited land, water, and other natural resources in the U.S. and throughout the world, as well as growing concern about environmental degradation of various sorts, there is a growing need for professionals who can assist in the process of balancing economic and environmental tradeoffs. Private firms face serious challenges in meeting stricter environmental regulations and achieving self-imposed environmental goals. Public agencies must continually seek to design policies so that society’s resource conservation or environmental quality goals are achieved in a cost-effective manner.

The curriculum builds upon the university-wide general education requirements with a set of core courses in business and economics. Students then take advanced and specialized coursework that focuses on the economic foundations for policies designed to foster natural resource conservation or enhance environmental quality. The curriculum is highly interdisciplinary. Courses are required in the physical and environmental sciences covering subject matter such as conservation, ecology, and forestry, as well as soil and water resource issues. Coursework is required in environmental ethics, environmental law, and other social science disciplines such as sociology. Students gain skills using tools such as geographic information systems for analysis of spatially-referenced data.

Accelerated BS-MS Program

We offer an accelerated 5-year Bachelors of Science and Masters 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 9 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 22 credit hours of graduate work. Students are typically considered for conditional admission to the BS-MS Program during the third year of undergraduate studies at The University of Tennessee. The MS Program requires that a student complete a thesis project of original research. Therefore, a student is required to start developing a thesis research project in consultation with a thesis advisory committee immediately following their third year of undergraduate studies.

Students seeking admission into the Program must meet the following BS-MS Program requirements:

  • Declared major in Food and Agricultural Business or Natural Resource and Environmental Economics
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Completed MS Graduate Program prerequisites MATH 125, STAT 201 or STAT 207, ECON 311, and AREC 324 with a B or better in each course before taking graduate courses as an undergraduate
  • Completed at least 90 hours of coursework toward a BS degree with a major in Food and Agricultural Business or Natural Resource and Environmental Economics
  • Three letters of recommendation to be sent directly from the letter writer to the Director of Graduate Studies in Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Complete an interview with the members of the Undergraduate and Graduate Committees in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Obtain a commitment from a faculty member in Agricultural and Resource Economics to serve as their major professor and at least two other faculty members to serve on their thesis advisory committee. The major professor serves as mentor and advisor for the MS degree portion of the Program.

Besides the aforementioned BS-MS Program requirements, the department may consider other factors such as applicant maturity and work experience before conditionally admitting a student to the BS-MS Program. Conditional admission of a student into the BS-MS Program must be approved by both the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Graduate School. Applicants are informed of the admission decision before the beginning of the fourth year of their BS.

Any course taken for graduate credit before satisfying all of the requirements for the BS degree must be approved by both the Director of Graduate Studies in Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Graduate School. The courses must be identified in advance, in consultation with the undergraduate advisor, proposed major professor, and thesis advisory committee members. The form “Agricultural and Resource Economics Conditional Admission 5 Year BS-MS” is available from the Graduate Director and must be completed, signed by the student and the Graduate Director before submitting to the Graduate School for approval and processing. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Senior Privilege rule imposes a maximum of 9 hours on the number of graduate- level hours that an undergraduate student may complete before completing an undergraduate degree and being formally admitted to the Graduate School. A student who is conditionally admitted to the BS-MS Program completes 9 hours of graduate credit during the student’s fourth year of undergraduate study, and applies those 9 hours to satisfy both BS and MS degree requirements. Conditional admission into the BS-MS Program does not guarantee acceptance into either the Graduate School or the MS Program. Students in the BS-MS Program must apply for admission to the Graduate School and to the MS Program during their fourth year of undergraduate study, following the same procedures that all other student applicants follow. Students will be fully admitted to the MS Program after they have been accepted both by the Graduate School and by the MS Program in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Students will not be eligible for graduate assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate students in the Graduate School.

Career Options

The job market is strong for graduates from both of our majors. With the variety of employment options available, the range on starting salaries is rather wide for our graduates, extending from around $35,000 per year to as high as $55,000 per year. In recent years, roughly 25 percent of our graduates have pursued graduate studies. Many continue in the M.S. program in our Department, in Agricultural Economics or Natural Resource Economics. A significant number over the years have gone on to successfully complete a law degree, an MBA or an M.S. degree in another field. See lists below for placement (internships and permanent employment) of recent graduates.

Food and Agricultural Business

Ardent Mills – Brickman (Landscape Management) – Cargill – Conagra Mills – Crop Production Services – Farm Credit Mid-America – Hertz Equipment Rental – Tennessee Farmers Cooperative – Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation – Tyson Foods – USDA National Agricultural Statistical Services – USDA Rural Development

Natural Resource and Environmental Economics

City of Knoxville Office of Sustainability – Cumberland Region Tomorrow (Nashville metro area) – Diamond Consulting (Energy) – Genera: Biomass Supply Services – IGS Energy – Knoxville Utilities Board – Monsanto – Mahle Engine Components (Environmental Health & Safety) – Natural Parks Conservation Association – University of Tennessee Extension

Internships & Study Abroad

Experience through Internships

An internship experience is encouraged for every student to gain practical experience, to enhance knowledge, and to further define career interests. An internship is a 10-12 week work experience usually done between the student’s junior and senior academic years.

Students might intern with an agribusiness firm; a local, state, or federal government agency; or an organization related to the student’s interest area. An internship could be with a local machinery dealership or be part of a national internship program hosted by a major ag chemical supplier. Working with a rural development agency or with the local co-op or extension agent are other possibilities. The opportunities are almost limitless.

As part of the internship, students complete a project agreed upon by their internship supervisor and faculty advisor. The project requires an in-depth analysis of a problem or challenge faced by the host company or organization. The report is presented to the internship supervisor. The student also makes a written and oral presentation of the project and internship upon returning to his or her college studies.

Internships are typically done during the summer, though some take place during the fall or spring semester. Participation in an internship commonly leads to an offer of full-time employment upon graduation.

Interns generally receive compensation during the internship period. The amount varies depending on the internship host. The student can also receive 3 hours of academic credit towards the degree program.

Internship Program Guidelines

AgCareers.com Internships

Amazing Experience

The Extension Area Farm Management Specialist internship provided me with an amazing experience this summer. Through farm visits, expos, and workshops, I was able to see first-hand how Area Farm Management Specialists are able to assist farmers in making better-informed decisions about their farm and family financial situations. I am thankful to UT Extension and the department for giving me this opportunity.
– Rachel
Class of 2015

Study Abroad

Students in agriculture and natural resources can participate in UT study abroad programs throughout the world. These experiences can include courses and other activities during the summer, mini-term and an entire semester or academic year. Find your path and begin your journey now by searching The Study Abroad and then contact your advisor, and/or Adam Willcox, Herbert Study Abroad coordinator.

Scholarships

Approximately half of our majors each year receive scholarships from departmental or college sources, averaging about $2,000 per student. This is in addition to the Hope Tennessee Lottery Scholarship and any guaranteed UT scholarships a student may receive. Students must submit an application by February 1 for the following academic year. Both merit and need are considered in the process of awarding scholarships.

Out-of-State Students: Academic Common Market

UT is a member of the Academic Common Market, which enables out-of-state students to pursue college degrees at discounted, in-state tuition rates. More than 1,900 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available through agreements among the states and schools. Even though a program is not listed in their directory for The University of Tennessee, you may petition to have it added to the Academic Common Market. If you have questions regarding Academic Common Market at the University of Tennessee, please contact onestop@utk.edu.

One Stop Express Student Services: Your Money

Curriculum

The core of the curriculum requirements is 36 hours of course work in the Department. The eight required courses cover agricultural economics, farm and agribusiness management, food and agricultural marketing, agricultural finance and quantitative methods. Students also choose four courses from areas such as agricultural law, professional selling, rural development, international trade, food and agricultural policy, precision farming technology and natural resource management. This core is complemented by a set of required courses and directed electives from three areas: the University-wide General Education categories, the Haslam College of Business (accounting, economics, and statistics) and elsewhere in the Herbert College of Agriculture (focusing on food and other related subjects).

Complete listing of courses offered by the Department

Curriculum Requirements and Advising Worksheets

Students may choose to follow the curriculum requirements from the catalogue for any fall semester in which they are enrolled at UT.

The Curriculum Requirements and Advising Work Sheets are listed below for each major and concentrations for the most recent fall semesters. The Curriculum Requirements include course requirements by year while the Advising Work Sheet includes course requirements organized by category (General Education, Business, Agricultural Economics, etc.) with columns to keep track of progress.

Food and Agricultural Business Major

Concentrations
Agricultural Production and Technology Management Concentration
Food Industry Management Concentration
Finance and Risk Management Concentration
Law and Policy Concentration
Accelerated BS-MS

Advising

The Department has a long-standing reputation for providing students with dedicated, personalized advising.

Students meet with one of the faculty advisors in the Department during freshman or transfer orientation and typically meet with that advisor on a regular basis throughout their academic program. These faculty advisors are also actively involved in the Department’s undergraduate teaching program. This extended interaction allows for very personalized advising with regard to course planning, scholarships, internships, extracurricular activities, graduate or professional studies and career placement. Working closely with a student over a period of years, the advisor can be a valuable advocate if issues or problems arise and provide a letter of reference or recommendation when requested.

Advisors also initiate requests for course substitutions, provide referrals to campus resources. (e.g., Student Success Center), and write reference letters for students when appropriate.

Advisors have an open door policy; however, it is best to make contact ahead of time and make an appointment.

Although UT requires students to meet with an advisor only once per year, the department strongly encourages visits at least once per semester, and more often as needed.

Minors

Minor in Food and Agricultural Business

Students from any major can complete a minor in Food and Agricultural Business, adding a complementary strength to their academic program and increasing their competitiveness for some types of careers in the business world. Building on introductory courses in economics and accounting, the remaining required courses in our Department provide students with exposure to the areas of management, marketing, finance, and one additional area of the student’s choice. Please contact our Department as early as possible for guidance in working these courses into your overall academic program.

Minor in Natural Resource & Environmental Economics

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 some types of careers in both the private and public sectors.The required courses in our Department provide students with exposure to the areas of agricultural and environmental law, policy, and one additional area of the student’s choice. Please contact our Department as early as possible for guidance in working these courses into your overall academic program.

Complete undergraduate courses listing

Transfer Into Our Program

A faculty advisor works carefully with any student looking to transfer into the major and seeks to be as flexible as possible in assessing how previous credits can count toward meeting curriculum requirements. The advisor takes the initiative in submitting substitution or waiver requests when appropriate.

From community colleges

Students who plan to transfer into one of our majors after one or two years at a community college should consult with a faculty advisor in our Department as early as possible. The Department has developed articulation agreements with several community colleges which provide guidance on courses to be taken in preparation for transferring into the major. Students should review the current articulation agreement between the community college and UT for guidance in choosing appropriate courses.

Find out about high school and college course work that may give you credit at UT, plus learn about our policies, agreements, and hours requirements for transfer students through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Credits that Transfer information.

Learn more about how to apply as a transfer student at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

From other majors at UT

Students transferring from other majors at UT should consult a faculty advisor to discuss how previous academic work will apply to our major requirements. The advisor will be as flexible as possible in seeking to assure that a maximum number of credit hours from previous academic work are applied toward meeting specific requirements in our majors.

Food & Agricultural Business Club

The Food & Agricultural Business Club provides students with the ability to meet with professionals in the agricultural business world, and gives students the skills to be successful at networking and job seeking in any industry in which they are interested.

Learn more about the club

NAMA Student Marketing Team

The NAMA Student Marketing Team prepares a total marketing plan for a product sold to or by farmers. The plan includes product definition, market competition, promotion program, financial analysis, evaluation, and contingency plan. The final presentation of the plan is made in oral, written, and visual format in competition with 30 to 35 other collegiate chapters at the National Agri-Marketing Conference held each spring in a major US city. Open to any student, the NAMA team works on the project during both fall and spring semesters. Academic credit can be earned for participation.

Advisor: Jon Walton

Contact Us

To learn more about our majors, scholarships and your career opportunities contact our Undergraduate Coordinator or our main office.

Jon Walton
Undergraduate Coordinator


302 Morgan Hall
865-974-7231 main office
arecundergrad@utk.edu

Apply Now

Incoming freshmen, apply early in your senior year of high school, anytime after August 1 and before either the November 1 Priority admissions deadline or the December 1 Regular admissions deadline.

Transfer students, apply by June 1 for fall semester enrollment and November 1 for spring semester enrollment.

For more information on procedures and deadlines check out the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Once admitted to UT students may declare either of the Departmental majors, concentration or minors immediately. No minimum GPA or prerequisite course requirements must be met.