Today's businesses and industries in the agricultural and food sectors of the economy are growing rapidly. Agribusiness industries, such as those that supply farm inputs or process and market agricultural products, need staff who are educated in both business and agriculture. Students in agricultural business management also find employment in companies specializing in biological systems engineering, landscape architecture, biotechnology, food technology, food science, food marketing, and large-scale farm enterprises.

The bachelor of science degree program in agricultural business management enables students to obtain a strong foundation in economics to learn how businesses make decisions and minimize risk and how to use applied mathematics and statistics to analyze prices and markets. Agricultural and applied economics (AAE) courses constitute a substantial segment of the curriculum for the B.S. degree in agricultural business management. In addition to general college requirements, a major in ABM includes courses in economics, math, and statistics. ABM students will also take a minimum of 12 credits from the School of Business. (See Requirements tab for more information.) 

Agricultural business management emphasizes coursework in the functional areas of the business school: accounting, finance, marketing, management, and human resources. 

Students will learn:
Skills for running a business
Finance and economic decision analysis
Analytical and managerial tools
Organization of the food system
Commodity markets
Senior capstone project integrates learning from major coursework

A degree in agricultural business management prepares students for a career in agribusiness or other fields of business. The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics may be consulted for specific career information for the major.

Students completing the agricultural business management major are awarded the Bachelor of Science–Agricultural Business Management degree.

To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Specific requirements for all majors in the college and other information on academic matters can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 116 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3003. Academic departments and advisors also have information on requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies and Science), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics
This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus.
Select one of the following:5
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Select one of the following:3-4
Statistics: Measurement in Economics
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Business Analytics I
and Business Analytics II
SOC/​C&E SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I4
PSYCH 210 Basic Statistics for Psychology3
A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics3
or ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomics3-4
ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory4
or ECON 311 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory4
or ECON 312 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 419 Agricultural Finance3
A A E/ECON 421 Economic Decision Analysis4
ACCT I S 100 Introductory Financial Accounting 23
or ACCT I S 300 Accounting Principles
Select three of the following:9
Introduction to Finance
Business Law
Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
Marketing Management
Managing Organizations
Human Resource Management
Introductory Managerial Accounting 1
A A E 500 Senior Capstone Experience3
Total Credits63-65

ACCT I S 100 is a prerequisite for ACCT I S 211.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Use economic concepts to better understand real-world problems.
  2. Use appropriate quantitative techniques to analyze economic problems.
  3. Use computer systems to effectively analyze economic problems.
  4. Communicate results effectively in writing.
  5. Communicate results effectively orally.
  6. Think critically about economic issues.
  7. Contribute to public policy debates.

Four-year plan

Sample Agricultural Business Management Four-Year Plan

MATH 211 or 22115COMM B3
COMM A23Chemistry Course4-5
A A E 215 or ECON 10133-4CALS Science Requirement3
First Year Seminar1Electives3
 15-16 13-14
Total Credits 28-30
ECON 1023ECON 3014
Statistics Course3ACCT I S 100 or 3003
CALS Science Requirement5Electives8
 15 15
Total Credits 30
ECON 1023Business Core Course6
ECON 3024A A E 3223
Business Core Course53Electives6
Major Field Electives3 
 17 15
Total Credits 32
A A E 4193Capstone Course3
Major Field Electives6Major Field Electives3
A A E/​ECON  4214Electives9
 16 15
Total Credits 31

Students must complete MATH 211 Calculus or MATH 217 or MATH 221. Students may satisfy the required level of math proficiency through the math placement exam. On the other hand, this level of competence may require as many as three semesters of coursework in mathematics.


The communications requirement includes Communication Parts A & B.  Completing this requirement early will help the students with written and oral assignments in future courses.


Students should complete the basic courses in economics early in their programs so that they can have greater choice in courses in the major.


Students should choose electives that satisfy one of the UW requirements (ethnic studies or social sciences or humanities) or the college requirements.  See Requirements tab for details.


ABM students are required to take 9 credits from FINANCE/​ECON  300, GEN BUS 301, GEN BUS 310, GEN BUS 311, MARKETNG 300, M H R 300 (Organizational Behavior), M H R 305 (Human Resources), and ACCT I S 211.

For more information or to declare a major in agricultural business management, contact:                                         

Linda Davis
Undergraduate Student Services 
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics      
University of Wisconsin–Madison
424 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch Street
Madison, WI 53706


Barham, Bradford
Chavas, Jean-Paul
Cox, Thomas
Coxhead, Ian 
Deller, Steven
Foltz, Jeremy
Gould, Brian
Phaneuf, Daniel
Provencher, R. William
Rutherford, Thomas
Stiegert, Kyle


Alix-Garcia, Jennifer
Fletcher, Jason*
Hueth, Brent
Mitchell, Paul
Schechter, Laura
Shi, Guanming


Conroy, Tessa*
Du, Sheldon
Grainger, Corbett
Johnston, Craig*
Parker, Dominic
Tjernstroem, Emilia


Dong, Fengxia
Reynolds, Anne


Davis, Linda

*AAE Affiliate Faculty