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College of Agriculture & Life Sciences


Sharron S. Quisenberry, Dean
Associate Dean & Director of Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station:
Craig Nessler
Associate Dean & Director of Virginia Cooperative Extension:
Mark A. McCann
Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of International Research and Development: S.K. De Datta
Associate Dean & Director of Academic Programs: Mary A. Marchant
Director of Agricultural Technology: Mary A. Marchant
Associate Director of Agricultural Technology: Stephanie W. White

Hutcheson Hall


    The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provides an education in the science and business of life. Basic life sciences and animal, plant, and food sciences – not to mention biotechnology, environmental sciences, human health and nutrition, and rural development – are just some of the choices available to you as an undergraduate major. If your ultimate goal is to apply to veterinary school, you will want to explore the excellent pre-vet preparation offered in many of the college’s majors. Excellent faculty and academic advisors are eager to work with you. You will also find more than 30 student organizations and nationally-competitive teams in the college. The college offers the educational environment and learning experiences graduates need in order to develop skills for addressing the challenges facing society and the world today. You may work beside scientists in their laboratories or participate in internships with business or industry.

Undergraduate Programs

    The undergraduate program in the college is organized into majors designed for students with widely different interests. These majors permit the student to achieve a satisfactory degree of specialization while providing the fundamentals necessary for continuing professional growth after graduation.

    Undergraduate majors are offered in agricultural and applied economics, agricultural sciences, agricultural technology, animal and poultry sciences, biochemistry, crop and soil environmental sciences, dairy science, environmental science, food science and technology, horticulture, and human nutrition, foods, and exercise. Some students may be assigned special advisors if their objective is to prepare for graduate study in entomology, plant pathology, plant physiology, weed science, or integrated pest management.

    Freshman students also may enter the college with the designation LFSC (Life Sciences, Undecided). Upon completion of the freshman year, a college major must be selected.

    Students interested in pre-veterinary medicine may satisfy course requirements in several departments within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    See College of Engineering for Biological Systems Engineering.


Graduate Programs

    At the graduate level, the college offers educational programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. Complete information on these programs may be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Cooperative Education

    The Cooperative Education Program is available to qualified undergraduates in the college. Information on the program is listed in the chapter, "Academics." Courses of study included in the Cooperative Education Program are: agricultural engineering, animal science, biochemistry and nutrition, dairy science, food science and technology, horticulture, and poultry science.

International Study Opportunities

    The Academic Programs Office in the college, in cooperation with the Office of International Research and Development, offers several avenues for students both in and outside the college to gain international knowledge and experience. These study opportunities allow students and faculty to become aware of and develop basic knowledge of food, fiber, and environmental issues in the world. Specific activities include study abroad programs and courses, international internships, formal student exchange programs, seminars and workshops on campus, and courses in the college which focus on international topics. In addition, the Concentration in International Agriculture is available which involves selecting 18 credit hours of study from a selected list of courses. Students wishing to explore this concentration should contact the Office of Academic Programs in the college.

    Selected departments in the college offer recognized options in international development. The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics offers the International Trade and Development Option, and the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences offers the International Development Option. Students wishing to explore either of these options should contact the coordinating advisor in those departments.


Honors Program

    During the junior and senior years, departments may invite a selected number of majors to candidacy for a degree "in honors." At this time, a student's work focuses on the major interests and part of the work is in independent study. Areas offering work leading to a degree "in honors" are agricultural economics, animal and poultry sciences, biochemistry, crop and soil environmental sciences, dairy science, food science and technology, and horticulture.

Core Curriculum Requirements

    The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences requires bachelor's degree students to complete the following minimum core curriculum which includes the Curriculum for Liberal Education (a.k.a. university core curriculum). Semester hour credits required are listed at right.

Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Laboratory in Nat. Sci.1
Humanities/Fine Arts and Social Sciences
Ideas, Cultural Traditions, and Values
Creativity and Aesthetic Experience
Critical Issuers in a Global Context
Total in Major and Restricted Electives (max.)
Free Electives (minimum)
Total Requirements for Graduation

1 Most majors require 8 credits each of chemistry and biology with laboratories. Refer to departmental check sheets for exceptions.
2 Placement may reduce the minimum credits required in freshman English but does not change the total credits required for graduation.
3 The majors in the Department of Biochemistry are exempt from this requirement and may substitute another approved course to satisfy Area 3 of the Liberal Education (a.k.a. University Core) requirement.

    Students who plan to transfer to Virginia Tech and major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences after two years of community or junior college enrollment are encouraged to complete as many of the core curriculum courses as possible before they transfer.

Agricultural Technology Program

    The Agricultural Technology Program offers a concentrated academic experience for individuals pursuing an associate degree in preparation for careers in the agricultural and green industries. Students can specialize in either Applied Agricultural Management or Landscape and Turf Management. Additional information is available at the program’s website at www.agtech.vt.edu. The program handles its own admissions. Applications and inquiries should be addressed to: Brenda French, Admissions Coordinator, 1060 Litton-Reaves Hall (0334), Blacksburg, VA 24061, or call 540-231-7649.