CALS_Agronomy-WmTracy

Creating a Healthier, More PRODUCTIVE, MORE Resilient Agriculture FOR WISCONSIN AND THE WORLD.

That is the challenge taken up by the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Agronomy. 

We generate and apply knowledge about the plants that feed and benefit humankind. Agronomic crops are typically grown for grain to feed people and livestock, or are processed into products. Feed crops are grown specifically to meet the nutritional needs of livestock. Forage crops are grown for their stems, leaves, and other edible plant parts.

We find and implement solutions to problems and opportunities concerning efficiency and sustainability of crop production and in safe and environmentally sound ways.

We generate knowledge on the genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and physiology of plants.

We study the interactions among cropping systems, climate, and the environment. We emphasize sustainable agriculture, whether precision, traditional or organic, in order to reduce the impact on the environment and the inhabitants of our planet.

We work to ensure that agricultural systems and products in Wisconsin and the world are able to meet rapidly-changing needs and those of future generations.

Undergraduates in the Department of Agronomy earn a bachelor of science degree to prepare them for everything from pursuit of a graduate degree to careers in science, education, agriculture, agribusiness, and environment and conservation. 

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
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):3
Algebra
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
MATH 171 Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I5
MATH 211 Calculus5
MATH 221 Calculus and Analytic Geometry 15
Select one of the following:3
Introductory Statistics for Engineers
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Introduction to Biostatistics
Statistical Methods for Bioscience I
Chemistry
Select one of the following:4-5
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Biology
Select one of the following options:10
Option 1:
General Botany
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
Option 2:
Introductory Biology
and Introductory Biology
Option 3:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Economics
Select one of the following:3-4
Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Economics-Accelerated Treatment
Foundation
Select 8 credits from any foundation category8
Core
Principles and Practices in Crop Production
General Soil Science
Introduction to Plant Pathology
Select one of the following:3
Principles of Genetics
Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Entomology
Principles of Economic Entomology
Select one of the following:3-4
Grassland Ecology
The Vegetation of Wisconsin
General Ecology
Insect Ecology
Wetlands Ecology
Electives within the Major
Select 14 additional credits of Agronomy 114
Capstone
AGRONOMY 500 Senior Capstone Experience 22
Total Credits68-71
1

No more than 3 credits total in AGRONOMY 299 Independent Study, AGRONOMY 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education, AGRONOMY 699 Special Problems. Credits used to satisfy the Capstone experience may not count here. Recommended agronomy electives: BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy, BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology.

2

Requires AGRONOMY 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education or AGRONOMY 699 Special Problems as a prerequisite.

Foundation Courses

Ag Social Science

A A E 319 The International Agricultural Economy3
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 323 Cooperatives3
A A E/​ECON  421 Economic Decision Analysis4
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
C&E SOC/​SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
C&E SOC/​SOC  222 Food, Culture, and Society3
C&E SOC/​HIST SCI  230 Agriculture and Social Change in Western History3
C&E SOC/​AMER IND/​SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
C&E SOC/​SOC  650 Sociology of Agriculture3

Animal Science

AN SCI/​DY SCI  101 Introduction to Animal Sciences4
AN SCI 200 The Biology and Appreciation of Companion Animals3
AN SCI 250 Horse Science and Management3
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI 430 Sheep Production3
AN SCI 431 Beef Cattle Production3
AN SCI 432 Swine Production3
DY SCI 205 Dairy Cattle Selection2
DY SCI 305 Lactation Physiology3
DY SCI/​AN SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
DY SCI/​AN SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding2
DY SCI/​AN SCI  370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology4
ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology3

Atmospheric Science

ATM OCN 100 Weather and Climate3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  171 Global Change: Atmospheric Issues and Problems2-3

Biological Systems Engineering

BSE 201 Land Surveying Fundamentals1
BSE 216 Irrigation Systems - Design and Use1
BSE 243 Operating and Management Principles of Off-Road Vehicles3

Food Science

FOOD SCI 120 Science of Food3
FOOD SCI 440 Principles of Food Engineering3
A A E/​C&E SOC/​SOC  340 Issues in Food Systems3-4
NUTR SCI/​BIOCHEM  510 Biochemical Principles of Human and Animal Nutrition3

Management

ACCT I S 211 Introductory Managerial Accounting3
ACCT I S 301 Financial Reporting I3
ACCT I S 302 Financial Reporting II3
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 323 Cooperatives3
A A E 419 Agricultural Finance3
A A E/​ECON  421 Economic Decision Analysis4
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
GEN BUS 301 Business Law3
GEN BUS 302 Business Organizations and Negotiable Instruments3
FINANCE/​ECON  300 Introduction to Finance3
INTL BUS 200 International Business3
MARKETNG 305 Consumer Behavior3
MARKETNG 310 Marketing Research3
MARKETNG/​INTL BUS  420 Global Marketing Strategy3
MARKETNG 460 Marketing Strategy3
MARKETNG 635 Sales Management3
MARKETNG 640 Strategic Retailing3
M H R 420 Managing Change and Organizational Effectiveness3
M H R 422 Entrepreneurial Management3
M H R 612 Labor-Management Relations3
R M I 300 Principles of Risk Management3

Nutritional Science

NUTR SCI 132 Nutrition Today3
NUTR SCI/​AN SCI/​DY SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
NUTR SCI/​A A E/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
NUTR SCI 540 Community Nutrition Programs and Policy Issues1

Soil Science

SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3
SOIL SCI 325 Soils and Landscapes3

Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Genetics

MICROBIO 101 General Microbiology3
MICROBIO 102 General Microbiology Laboratory2
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory2
MICROBIO/​FOOD SCI  324 Food Microbiology Laboratory2
MICROBIO/​FOOD SCI  325 Food Microbiology3
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3

Ecological Sciences

F&W ECOL 100 Introduction to Forestry2
F&W ECOL 318 Principles of Wildlife Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin4
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology4
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3

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. Students will be able to articulate the role of biological processes, management systems, environmental influences, and economic and social factors on world food, feed, and fiber production.  Specific topics that all students should have knowledge of include: photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, genetic inheritance, and management and uses of primary U.S. crop species.
  2. Students will develop a global perspective and appreciate the interdependencies among individuals and their workplaces, communities, environments, and the planet; and an understanding of the role of science in society.
  3. Students will communicate effectively through writing and speaking, and will be able to identify and critically evaluate available sources of information.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to critically and creatively analyze problems and evaluate systems.
     

Four-year plan

Sample AGRONOMY Four-Year Plan

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
AGRONOMY 1004BOTANY/​BIOLOGY  1305
CHEM 103 or 1094-5CHEM 104 (or Elective)5 (3)
MATH 112, 114, or 17113-5Elective3
COMM A3ECON 101, 111, or A A E 2153-4
First Year Seminar1 
 15-18 11-17
Total Credits 26-35
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Foundation Course23Foundation Courses5
ZOOLOGY/​BIOLOGY  101 or 1022-3Social Science Course3
Statistics Course3Agronomy Course33
Ethnic Studies Course3COMM B3
 11-12 14
Total Credits 25-26
Sophomore
SummerCredits
Internship or Agronomy Independent Study1-3
 1-3
Total Credits 1-3
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Agronomy Courses6ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 or 3513-4
GENETICS 4663Agronomy Course3
SOIL SCI 3014International Studies Course3
Elective3Humanities Elective Course3
 Elective3
 16 15-16
Total Credits 31-32
Junior
SummerCredits
Internship or Agronomy Independent Study1-3
 1-3
Total Credits 1-3
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Agronomy Course3-4Agronomy Courses6-7
ZOOLOGY/​BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  4604Capstone2
PL PATH 3004Electives6-9
Humanities Course3 
Elective3 
 17-18 14-18
Total Credits 31-36
1

Determined by placement exam. Consult SOAR advisor.

2

Eight (8) credits of Foundation courses required. See Requirements tab for details.

3

Fourteen (14) credits of agronomy electives required. See Requirements tab for details.

Advising

The agronomy department is faculty-advised, meaning that faculty members take on the responsibility of guiding and advising undergraduates through graduation. Students and faculty are matched as closely as possible by interest. All new freshmen and transfer students are temporarily advised by the student services coordinator until the advising relationship between professor and student is established. If you would like to have a conversation about joining the agronomy department, please contact Joanna Schuth.

Joanna Schuth
Student Services Coordinator
608-262-1390
jschuth@wisc.edu


Faculty Undergraduate Advisors

Ken Albrecht
kaalbrec@wisc.edu

Natalia De Leon
ndeleongatti@wisc.edu

Shawn Kaeppler
smkaeppl@wisc.edu

Valentin Picasso
picassorisso@wisc.edu

Dave Stoltenberg
destolte@wisc.edu

William Tracy
wftracy@wisc.edu

Careers

An agronomy degree is an open door to careers in many related fields such as biotechnology, plant genetics, crop management, agricultural financial management, farming, seed sales, crop consulting, Certified Crop Advising, Certified Professional Agronomy, agribusiness, extension agronomy, agricultural education, government work, and international agronomy.

Genetics

The fastest growing sector of agriculture is plant breeding, genetics, and genomics. Plant scientists are working at the field, plant, cellular, and molecular level to create cultivars that are hardier, disease resistant, nutritious, and affordable. The industry's growth is currently outstripping the rate of graduation; graduates can take their pick of interesting, fulfilling careers in the public and private sectors.

Biofuels

The biofuel industry is also experiencing rapid growth, with research and development being focused on sugar-based biofuels, cellulosic biofuels, and biodiesels, made from plants as varied as switchgrass, sugar cane, corn, and wood pulp. These energy crops are harvested and processed into alternatives to fossil fuels.

Agribusiness 

In agribusiness agronomists take data and translate it into real world applications. They sell tools for crop production, provide agricultural loans, consult on crops, manage businesses, and much more. They are often responsible for translating technical research data into applications. Numerous agronomy graduates are also involved in the sale of agricultural products, which are vital to today’s economy. Other successful agronomists serve as crop advisers, farm managers, consultants, bank loan specialists, managers, and much more.

Research/Education and Extension

Agronomic educators specialize in teaching and working with high school and college students. They also teach and advise students who chose advanced studies for a master’s degree and/or Ph.D. They are extensively involved in research, publishing findings on a regular basis and making scientific advances.

Extension agronomists usually work for a state, local, or national government; they consult with farmers and others to help find answers to their specific problems and help farmers translate research results into usable management practices. Government-employed agronomists also work with farmers and ranchers to plan for soil and water conservation so crops and land can be managed efficiently and with minimal impact to the environment.

Department Manager

Sandy Bennett
skbennet@wisc.edu
608-262-9928

Student Services

Joanna Schuth
jschuth@wisc.edu
608-262-1390

Financial Specialist

Amy Cottom
amy.cottom@wisc.edu
608-262-7702

Administrative Services

Jillene Fisch
jrfisch@wisc.edu
608-262-1390

Professors

William Tracy
Chair
wftracy@wisc.edu

Ken Albrecht
kaalbrec@wisc.edu

Jean-Michel Ané
jeanmichel.ane@wisc.edu

Mike Casler
mdcasler@wisc.edu

Shawn Conley
spconley@wisc.edu

Stan Duke
shduke@wisc.edu

Cynthia Henson
cynthia.henson@ars.usda.gov

Randy Jackson
rdjackson@wisc.edu

Molly Jahn
molly.jahn@wisc.edu

Shawn Kaeppler
smkaeppl@wisc.edu

Chris Kucharik
kucharik@wisc.edu

Joe Lauer
jglauer@wisc.edu

Dave Stoltenberg
destolte@wisc.edu

Dan Undersander
djunders@wisc.edu

Associate Professors

Heidi Kaeppler 
hfkaeppl@wisc.edu

Natalia De Leon
ndeleongatti@wisc.edu

Mark Renz
mrenz@wisc.edu

Assistant Professors

Lucia Gutierrez
gutierrezcha@wisc.edu

Mali Mahalingam
mali.mahalingam@ars.usda.gov

Valentin Picasso
picassorisso@wisc.edu