Agriculture and Life Sciences Exploration

If you want to explore your options before choosing a major, consider starting your college career in Agriculture Exploration.

Adviser: Tom Polito (515) 294-2766

Agricultural Biochemistry

The curriculum in agricultural biochemistry combines training in the biological and physical sciences and mathematics with studies in agricultural sciences. The major provides preparation for advanced study or employment in biotechnology and other areas of agricultural science in which biochemistry is of fundamental importance.

Adviser: Donald Beitz (515) 294-5626

Agricultural Business

In-depth course work covers topics such as the marketing (buying and selling) of agricultural commodities, the selling of agricultural products and services, the managing of farm and agribusiness operations and the lending of credit to agricultural firms. In addition, students will take courses in technical agriculture, agricultural policy, accounting, business finance, computerized record keeping, business marketing, agricultural law and resource economics.

Adviser: Ronald Deiter (515) 294-5771

Agricultural and Life Sciences Education

Agricultural and life sciences education combines food, agriculture, and life sciences with social sciences and communications. Some students choose the teacher certification option while others choose the communications option. Graduates enter a variety of agricultural careers that include working with people in agriculture, such as education, extension, agribusiness and public agencies.

Adviser: Ryan Anderson (515) 294-4139

Agricultural Studies

Agricultural Studies covers the broad spectrum of agriculture and life sciences with the flexibility for you to customize the major to pursue your career goals. With all the flexibility, you could choose an area of emphasis such as farm management, agronomy and crop production, agricultural law, agricultural systems and technology, or international agriculture. With a solid background in agriculture and life sciences, you are prepared for a career in many areas of agriculture from production agriculture to extension to agribusiness. The quality and flexibility of the program make this a popular major for incoming high school students as well as transfer students from community colleges.

Adviser: Ryan Anderson (515) 294-4139

Agricultural Systems Technology

Agricultural Systems Technology (AST), in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering prepares men and women for careers in agricultural machinery industries; construction companies; governmental agencies; grain, feed, seed, fertilizer and chemical businesses; production agriculture; and environmental organizations. AST teaches skills in decision making, problem solving, creative thinking, communications and technology assessment. Courses include microcomputers, water quality, energy, electrical safety, fluid power systems, precision farming, electrification, animal production and manure management systems, machinery management and tractor power, as well as business, sciences, mathematics and communications.

Adviser: Jenny Macken (515) 294-5196


Agronomy integrates the science and practical application of crop production, soil management and climatology in the production and utilization of food, feed and fiber within an environmentally sound system. Agronomy majors can choose Management & Business, Agroecology, Soil & Environmental Science, Research & Development, and Plant Breeding & Biotechnology.

Adviser: Stephanie Zumbach (515) 294-3846

Animal Ecology

Animal ecology is the study of the relationships of wild animals to their environment and the major applies this knowledge to wildlife and environmental management. Graduates of this biological science curriculum pursue career opportunities with natural resource and environmental protection agencies, organizations and businesses. Curriculum emphases may be taken in wildlife biology, fisheries biology, aquatic sciences, interpretation of natural resources, or preveterinary and wildlife care.

Adviser: John Burnett (515) 294-3681

Animal Science

The animal science curriculum focuses on the understanding of the life-cycle of companion and production animals, through study of the fundamentals of behavior, growth and development, lactation, genetics and breeding, nutrition and reproduction. The curriculum integrates enterprise management and marketing aspects of the animal industry. In addition to animal management, career options include agribusiness, biotechnology, dairy foods and meat science, pet food and feed industry, marketing, or research. Many students complete their pre-veterinary medicine requirements in the animal science curriculum.

Adviser: Jodi Sterle (515) 294-7997


Offered as a BS degree in both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, our high quality academic program offers the flexibility to accommodate a range of career goals in areas like plant biology, zoology, genetics, cell and molecular biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Our degree can prepare students for further studies in graduate school or in human medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy or pharmacy. Students who are interested in marine biology or tropical studies can participate in summer programs at affiliated institutes.

Adviser: Jim Holtz (515) 294-2558

Culinary Science

Culinary science is an interdisciplinary degree combining a strong food science foundation with basic culinary skills development. You will study fundamental sciences, including chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, microbiology, and biochemistry. At the same time, you'll take courses in quantity food production, fine dining management, and food safety and sanitation. In addition, you'll gain real-world experience by completing two internships - one in food science and the other in the culinary industry. Culinary scientists are qualified to work as a food research manager, quality research manager, product development chef, culinary research technologist, and food marketing and sales specialist.

Adviser: Mickie Deaton (515) 294-4465

Dairy Science

The dairy science curriculum provides training for a variety of career opportunities in agriculture, particularly those involved with dairy cattle or associated industries. Although many graduates own or manage dairy operations, the majority find employment in such career areas as agribusiness management, biotechnology, dairy foods manufacturing, marketing, publicity and promotion, or research. Pre-veterinary medicine requirements may be completed in the dairy science curriculum.

Adviser: Jodi Sterle (515) 294-7997


Undergraduate didactic program in dietetics, approved by the American Dietetic Association. Graduates are eligible to apply for admission to dietetic internships/supervised practice programs. Upon successful completion of the experience program, graduates are eligible to take the national examination to become a Registered Dietitian.

Adviser: Mickie Deaton (515) 294-4465

Diet and Exercise

The Diet & Exercise program combines the study of nutrition and exercise science. The program allows students to concurrently complete courses for the B.S. while also completing courses and a thesis for a M.S. degree. Careers for students who complete this program include work with cardiac rehabilitation programs, school nutrition/wellness programs, corporate health programs, health clubs, public health programs and clinics, preventative health programs, and sport enhancement programs.

Adviser: Mickie Deaton (515) 294-4465

Environmental Science

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offer this integrated approach to the study of environmental systems. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for positions of leadership in this rapidly changing discipline. Majors complete foundation courses in chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, plus a major consisting of an integrated core of environmental science courses and additional advance course work from departmental offerings.

Adviser: Sue Sprong (515) 294-3651

Food Science

Food science is a discipline in which the principles of biological and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of their deterioration, and the principles underlying the processing and preparation of food. It is the application of science and technology to the provision of a safe, wholesome, and nutritious food supply.

Adviser: Mickie Deaton (515) 294-4465


The program in forestry provides you with an understanding of the following areas: forest ecosystems, wood technology and products, forest resource management, agro-forestry, urban and community forestry, biodiversity, water quality, wilderness areas and wildlife. One of the best features of the program is the fall forestry sequence, where you take 15 credits of forestry classes, including a 16-day off-campus forestry camp held at one of several locations across the country. This experience introduces you to practical techniques and exposes you to new landscapes and cultural circumstances. The five options that are available in the program are Urban & Community Forestry, Forest Ecosystem Management, Sustainable Materials Science and Technology, Interpretation of Natural Resources, and Natural Resource Conservation.

Adviser: Doug Stokke (515) 294-2115


The curriculum in genetics is based on preparation in biology, chemistry and biochemistry, as well as genetics. Students receive an understanding of modern methods of genetic engineering and are prepared for jobs in industry and for further work in the biological sciences, including graduate, veterinary or medical school.

Adviser: Lois Girton (515) 294-1606

Global Resource Systems

Global Resource Systems is an interdisciplinary major that emphasizes global and cross cultural engagement while equipping students with strong technical competency in a resource area of their choosing. This major prepares students to work on complex global resource issues through leadership positions in international non-governmental organizations, global businesses, government agencies engaged in international trade and development, and globally engaged foundations, educational institutions and volunteer organizations. The major allows students to develop a core set of technical competencies in a resource area selected from among the 21 minors offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Students choose a world region in which to specialize, develop competency in a relevant language, participate in a significant cross cultural living and working immersion experience in their chosen world region, and carry out a senior project related to their resource specialization within the context of the world region.

Adviser: Gail Nonnecke (515) 294-0037


The horticulture curriculum is the part of plant agriculture concerned with turfgrasses, nursery crops, greenhouse crops, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Also, it involves landscape horticulture and management, interiorscaping, botanic garden management, public garden management, plant breeding and molecular biology. Course subjects vary from understanding the mechanisms of the cell to production and management of horticultural crops.

Adviser: Barb Osborn (515) 294-5624

Industrial Technology

The industrial technology curriculum prepares students for professional positions that emphasize technical management, applications, development, and engineering in industry, business, or government. Options within the program focus on manufacturing technology and occupational safety technology. The Industrial Technology program provides a hands-on, collaborate learning environment that helps our graduate develop the workplace competencies necessary to be successful in today's competitive world. Graduates obtain high paying jobs with a wide variety of companies and agencies.

Adviser: Tamara Kerns (515) 294-0462


Microbiology is the study of the biology of microorganisms and how they interact with their surroundings. Microbiologists work in areas related to agriculture, the environment and medicine. The major provides a strong background in the basic sciences with flexibility for development of individualized interests.

Adviser: Nancy Boury (515) 294-6831

Nutritional Science

Offers students a strong basic science and general education which enables them to gain knowledge and skills necessary to work in research laboratories; curriculum can serve as a preprofessional program for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or graduate study in nutrition or biological sciences.

Adviser: Mickie Deaton (515) 294-4465

Public Service and Administration in Agriculture

PSA is an interdisciplinary major with an emphasis on social sciences. It prepares students for careers with public and private agencies concerned with public services in rural and agricultural areas.

Adviser: Carmen Bain (515) 294-9895

Undeclared Agriculture

If you want to explore your options before choosing a major, consider starting your college career in Agriculture Exploration.

Adviser: Tom Polito (515) 294-2558


Secondary Majors

A secondary major is taken in conjunction with a primary major in another agricultural or life-science discipline.

Environmental Studies

Environmental studies deal with the relationship between humans and nature, or between humans and natural systems. The curriculum is designed to give students a broader appreciation of the environment and an overview of critical environmental issues.

Adviser: Sue Sprong (515) 294-3651

International Agriculture

The international agriculture secondary major provides students with a global perspective. Students will prepare for careers overseas or for careers in the United States with multinational companies and agencies like the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Adviser: Robert Martin (515) 294-0896

Seed Science

Administered by the Departments of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology. The seed science program is designed for students with career interests in one or more aspects of the seed industry. Areas of study include: seed production, conditioning, pathology, physiology, quality control, and marketing, as well as seed plant designs.

Adviser: Melissa Stolt (515) 294-3846


Preprofessional Programs

Preprofessional course requirements can be completed while students pursue coursework for their primary major.


The courses suggested for premedicine are mainly from the basic sciences with the addition of communications, social sciences, and humanities. Students may enroll in any curriculum in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to complete these courses.

Adviser: Donald Beitz (515) 294-5626


The courses suggested for prelaw are mainly from the social sciences and humanities with the addition of science courses and agriculture courses. Students may enroll in any curriculum in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to complete these courses.

Adviser: Tom Polito (515) 294-2766

Preveterinary Medicine

Preveterinary medicine prepares students for application to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Course work is mainly from the basic sciences with the addition of communications, social sciences and humanities. Students may enroll in any curriculum in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to complete these courses.

Adviser: Jodi Sterle (515) 294-7997