As consumer, industry, and society engagement with organic agriculture expands, the Certificate in Organic Agriculture provides undergraduate students excellent opportunities for learning on a variety of levels, including hands-on experiences. While the certificate focuses on the production and processing approaches that define organic agriculture, students can also explore other dimensions including economic, environmental, health, food systems, and policy. This interdisciplinary certificate can help UW students from various majors to develop employment opportunities in organic agriculture businesses (farm to fork), policy, public and non-governmental agency work, individual wellness and health initiatives, and sustainable development efforts.
University of Wisconsin - Madison undergraduate students of any major are welcome to pursue the Certificate in Organic Agriculture. Students are eligible to declare the certificate once they complete AGROECOL/AGRONOMY/C&E SOC/ENTOM/ENVIR ST 103 Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture with a grade of B or better.
Students who meet the eligibility criteria must contact the Certificate Advisor to declare the certificate and be assigned an adviser. Students are encouraged to meet with the Certificate Advisor at any stage of their interest in the certificate.
Students cannot declare the Certificate in Environmental Studies or Certificate in Food Systems and the Certificate in Organic Agriculture.
- Minimum of 15 credits and successful completion of all course requirements
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in certificate coursework is required
- Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail option will not count toward completion of requirements.
|AGROECOL/AGRONOMY/C&E SOC/ENTOM/ENVIR ST 103
|Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture
|PL PATH/A A E/AGRONOMY/HORT 367
|Introduction to Organic Agriculture: Production, Markets, and Policy
|Seminar in Organic Agriculture
|PL PATH 499
|Independent Study in Organic Agriculture
|Electives (complete 6 credits from the following list - courses can be chosen from any topic area)
|Public Policy & Administration
|The Environment and the Global Economy
|The International Agricultural Economy
|Food Laws and Regulations
|Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy
|Evidence-Based Policy Making
|Analytic Tools for Public Policy
|Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
|Agricultural Systems Management
|Cooperatives and Alternative Forms of Enterprise Ownership
|Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors
or GEN BUS 311
|Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors
|Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management
|Food Service Operations
|Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability
|Introduction to Entrepreneurial Management
|Organic Production & Processing
|Forage Management and Utilization
|Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
|Global Food Production and Health
|Quantitative Techniques for Biological Systems
|Food Production Systems and Sustainability
|Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development
|Principles of Economic Entomology
|Greenhouse Cultivation Lab
|Fruit Crop Production
|Tropical Horticultural Systems
|Introduction to Plant Pathology
|Diagnosing and Monitoring Pest and Nutrient Status of Field Crops
|Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management
|Plant Nutrition Management
|Food, Culture, and Society
|Issues in Food Systems
|Labor in Global Food Systems
|Global Environmental Issues
|People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
|Indigenous Foodways: Food and Seed Sovereignty
Certificate Completion Requirement
This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.
- Describe the history of current organic systems and how it influences the way that organic farms and industries work.
- Explore the biological, ecological, and agricultural underpinnings of organic production systems
- Examine how organic systems, social initiatives, and regulations are developed and how they shape business activities, community development efforts, and human and environmental health outcomes.
- Evaluate the benefits and limitations of organic systems, social initiatives, and regulations from environmental, social, economic, and racial justice perspectives
- Apply knowledge of organic production through experiential opportunities within local, national and/or international communities.
Advising is an essential resource for students in the Certificate for Organic Agriculture and helps students shape their unique Wisconsin Experience and career path by making the most of their time at UW-Madison. Advisors can help students make well-informed decisions about coursework and academics, share strategies for success, support them as they encounter challenges, connect them to resources, and provide information about campus policies and procedures. Students are encouraged to regularly meet with their advisor to help ensure that they are aware of opportunities and progressing in their academic and career goals.
Advising is typically done through individual in-person appointments, but advisors are also able to meet with students over the phone or through video conferencing if needed. Quick questions can be answered via email, but an appointment should be scheduled if a conversation is needed.
The knowledge and skills developed through the Certificate in Organic Agriculture equips students for success in a range of career paths. Some certificate graduates may use this background to go into organic production, while others may choose a career path in relation to economics, policy, environmental stewardship, health, food systems, and beyond. This certificate has the potential to positively impact the employability of UW students across a variety of disciplines that intersect with organic agricultural production, policy, marketing, business, management, wellness, and community development.
Because an interest in organic agriculture can lead to many different careers, students are encouraged to begin the career exploration process early in their UW-Madison journey by working with advisors, faculty, and career resources on campus. These resources can help students reflect on their values and goals, identify career paths, and outline strategies for pursuing their goals.
Tom Bryan (Teaching Faculty, Agronomy)
Julie Dawson (Associate Professor, Horticulture)
Paul Mitchell (Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics)
Chuck Nicholson (Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics)
Erin Silva (Associate Professor, Plant Pathology)
Bill Tracy (Professor, Agronomy)
Allee Hochmuth (Advisor)
Anders Gurda (Outreach Manager)
Students who are engaged in the Certificate in Organic Agriculture can be involved in an array of opportunities across campus. In addition to the hands-on experiences in the Certificate program, students are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with out-of-classroom experiences such as research, volunteering, and study abroad.
The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in organic agriculture, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning:
- Association of Women in Agriculture
- GreenHouse Learning Community
- Women in Science and Engineering Learning Community
- F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture
- Slow Food UW
- Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences - MANRRS
- UW Horticulture Society
- Collegiate Future Farmers of America - FFA, UW chapter
- CALS Study Abroad
- Badger Volunteers
- UW Student Organic Farm