Soil and Crop Sciences Bachelor of Science
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
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OVERVIEW OF MAJOR
Are you interested in how the plants we eat grow, and how to grow them bigger, better, safer, and more efficiently? Would you like to understand the composition of soil and how it relates to plant or crop growth? Would you like to know more about conserving our soil and water? Do you enjoy the sciences? Would you like to solve problems concerning agriculture? Are you interested in how to make crops more resistant to pests and drought? Are you concerned about our environment? Interested in international agriculture? If you answered yes to any of the above, you may want to consider a major in Soil and Crop Sciences.

Soil and Crop Science, the study of field crops and soils, is the foundation science underlying the production and management of food, feed, and fiber crops to meet human needs and to protect the environment. The work these scientists do is of great importance worldwide due to the rapidly increasing population, the demand on land for food supplies, and the demand for environmental quality to enhance human comfort and well-being. Special emphasis is placed on improved production efficiency and the conservation of soil, chemicals, energy, and water. The curriculum offers broad-based coverage of the basic natural and social sciences, communication skills and opportunity to explore interests and leadership potential. Six concentrations allow for specialization in the major – agronomic production management; applied information technology; soil ecology; international soil and crops; plant biotechnology, genetics, and breeding; and soil restoration and conservation. However, students do not have to choose a concentration but are given the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to their individual interests. This provides opportunities for students to have a second major in a related discipline.

Undergraduate Concentrations:

The Agronomic Production Management concentration prepares students for careers in production agriculture or agribusiness by combining basic science, business and economics with technical soil and crop science courses and experiences. The use of new tools such as precision agriculture and biotechnology are an integral part of the learning experience. Career areas include agronomic business managers in seed, chemical, and fertilizer companies, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural consultant services.

Applied Information Technology educates students in utilizing advanced information technology to make better decisions in crop, soil, and environmental management systems as well as meet the expanding needs and technological opportunities in industry (consulting/GIS/ GPS/remote sensing). Students will take course work in computer science, data management, business, and various electives in their discipline choice (crop science, soil science, animal science, horticulture, pest management, and related disciplines) to utilize application of advanced information technologies. This understanding will lead to improved environmental stewardship and profitability. Career opportunities exist with equipment companies, consulting firms, state and federal agencies, and agricultural data management firms.

The Soil Ecology concentration emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of soils through the study of soil organisms and their interactions with each other and the soil physical and chemical environment. These interactions affect the cycling of elements including carbon and nitrogen, the release (or consumption) of greenhouse gases, water quality, soil formation and structure, and plant productivity. The curriculum includes a solid core of mathematics, biology, physics and chemistry courses, as well as specialized electives and ecology courses that allow students to tailor the concentration to their interests. Career opportunities exist in academia, state and federal health and environmental agencies, natural resource agencies (water and soil), state and national parks services, private industry as environmental assessors, and in the rapidly growing environmental consulting profession.

The International Soil and Crop Sciences concentration prepares students for exciting and challenging careers in developing nations by understanding appropriate soil and crop science practices compatible with the climate and socioeconomic constraints of the host country. The curriculum focus is an appropriate blend of basic science and social science courses with technical Soil and Crop Science courses. CSU’s international reputation in working with developing countries through the Peace Corps provides excellent opportunities for career development. There is a wealth of knowledge from faculty who have international experience.

The Plant Biotechnology, Genetics, and Breeding concentration focuses on the rapidly changing science of plant genetics and the application of biotechnology to crop improvement. The curriculum for this concentration places emphasis on genetics, biotechnology, and plant breeding and important allied fields such as chemistry/biochemistry, plant physiology, entomology, and plant pathology. Career opportunities, available in both the public (USDA, universities), and private sectors, include basic research, plant breeding, product development and sales, and many other areas.

The Soil Restoration and Conservation concentration prepares students for careers in planning, conservation, and management of soil and water resources. The curriculum focus is on the application of basic science with technical Soil and Crop Science courses to Soil and Water Resource Management. Career emphasis is on interpretation of land suitable for agricultural, urban, industrial, recreation, waste disposal and water management systems.

The Soils, Land Use and Climate Change concentration prepares students to become critical thinkers, address new and emerging issues, and be versatile in multidisciplinary settings, while having a deep understanding of soils and soil processes, being knowledgeable of global and cultural issues, and possessing specialized technical skills in agricultural GHG management and inventory. A broad base of course work in soils, agriculture, ecology, statistics, economics, and climate change science as well internship opportunities will prepare students for the climate change work force

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CHARACTERISTICS AND SKILLS
* Interest in and aptitude for the natural sciences
* Enjoy working outdoors
* Enjoy doing research
* Problem solving abilities
* Analytical skills
* Ability to work as part of a team or independently
* Strong oral and written communication skills

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POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS
Participation in internships and cooperative education opportunities is highly recommended to enhance your practical training and development. Paid summer internship positions exist for all students in this major, and often lead to jobs after graduation. The job outlook for graduates is very optimistic, with more job openings than can be filled in some areas of study. Graduates work for a variety of federal, state, or local government agricultural agencies, state agricultural colleges or research stations, agricultural service companies, commercial research and development labs, and seed companies. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels. Some of the career opportunities available include:
* Agronomic production manager
* Cooperative manager
* Genetic engineering scientist
* Land reclamation specialist
* International agronomist
* Land-use planner
* Plant geneticist
* Plant breeder
* Seed, chemical and fertilizer consultant
* Soil conservation specialist
* Soil surveyor
* Waste management specialist
* Water quality specialist
* Crop production
* Chemical fertilizer sales
* Crop consultant
* County agricultural extension agents
* Agricultural products inspector
* Farm manager

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RELATED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
* Agronomy Club
* Agribusiness Association Club
* SUSDEV Sustainable Development Group

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MORE INFORMATION
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences
C127 Plant Science Building
1170 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170
970-491-6517
http://www.soilcrop.colostate.edu/
* Academic and career advising for majors


Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
TILT Building
801 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1033
970-491-7095
http://www.casa.colostate.edu/
* Academic advising/Major exploration


Career Center
120 Lory Student Center
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-5707
http://career.colostate.edu/
* Major and career exploration/Job search information


Admissions and Undergraduate Recruitment
Ammons Hall
711 Oval Drive
8008 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-6909
http://www.admissions.colostate.edu/
* Admission applications/University visits and tours


General Catalog Online
http://www.catalog.colostate.edu/

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