Andre BritoASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Andrew ConroyPROFESSORProgram Coordinator - Applied Animal Science
A. Stuart GrandyPROFESSOR
Vanessa GrunkemeyerCLINICAL ASSOCIATE PROFESSORProgram Coordinator - Animal Science | Director - UNH Pre-Veterinary Advising Program
Iago HaleASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Chris HernandezAssistant ProfessorAssistant Professor of Plant Breeding
Cheryl ParkerBREWERY MANAGER
Anissa PoleatewichASSISTANT PROFESSORGraduate Program Coordinator
Rebecca SidemanFull Extension State Spec/ProfProgram Coordinator - Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Horticulture Production
Richard SmithASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major (B.A.)
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major (B.A.)
What is sustainable agriculture and food systems?
Sustainable agriculture and food systems is a broad field integrating the natural sciences, social sciences, and business skills, plus much more. Sustainable agriculture and food systems are key to solving many of the major challenges facing the world, such as producing food to meet the needs of an ever-growing populations while conserving land, water, and other natural resources. An understanding of these challenges and potential solutions can enhance any career.
Why study sustainable agriculture and food systems at UNH?
Our B.A. degree program is ideal for students interested in developing a broad base of knowledge and experience in modern agricultural and food systems with the flexibility to take courses from a variety of disciplines or to pursue a dual degree, second major or minor. Each student develops their own customized emphasis area within sustainable agriculture and food systems: agroecology, horticulture, animal agriculture, agriculture and food systems policy, and entrepreneurship are some examples. Most of our students also gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge research taking place at our top-notch agricultural research facilities including two working dairy farms, horticulture and agronomy farms, greenhouses, and the UNH brewing science laboratory.
- Agricultural business management/entrepreneurship
- Agricultural research
- Agricultural services and support
- Education and outreach
- Grant writing
- Production of food and fiber
University of New Hampshire
129 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824
Curriculum & Requirements
The SAFS B.A. program structure includes FOUR major components: foundation courses, courses in a student-designed emphasis area, program elective courses, and a capstone. You must earn a minimum grade of C- in all courses required for the major.
Foundation courses include 36 credits, which satisfy 5 of the University Discovery requirements.
Student-Designed Emphasis courses include 20 credits that make up a cohesive emphasis or focus area. Courses may be selected from the List of Approved Program Electives, but do not need to be on that list. Each student will define their emphasis area in consultation with their advisor and submit it to the SAFS program committee for approval prior to the start of their 6th semester.
Program Elective courses include 16 credits, chosen from the List of Approved Program Elective courses.
|B.A. Foundation Courses||36|
|ANSC 421||Introduction to Animal Science||4|
|BIOL 528||Applied Biostatistics I||4|
|or EREC 525||Statistical Methods and Applications|
|CHEM 411||Introductory Chemistry for Life Sciences 1||4|
|or CHEM 403||General Chemistry I|
|EREC 411||Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives||4|
|or ECON 402||Principles of Economics (Micro)|
|NR 501||Studio Soils||4|
|SAFS 405||Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production||4|
|SAFS 421||Introductory Horticulture||4|
|SAFS 620||Food Systems & Community Resilience||4|
|Student-Designed Emphasis Area||20|
|At least 20 credits, proposed using the emphasis area declaration form (see your advisor) at least 1 year prior to planned graduation date.|
|Select 16 credits from the approved electives list.|
|Select one from the following:|
|ANSC 750||Collaborative Farm Design and Development||4|
|or SAFS 733||Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture|
Some courses (e.g. genetics, microbiology) require CHEM 403 and CHEM 404 as a prerequisite. If you intend to take these courses, you should take CHEM 403 rather than CHEM 411.
|AAS 421||Large Animal Behavior and Handling Techniques||2|
|AAS 423||Dairy Selection||2|
|AAS 425||Introduction to Dairy Herd Management||4|
|AAS 432||Introduction to Forage and Grassland Management||3|
|AAS 434||Equipment and Facilities Management||3|
|AAS 439||Fundamentals of Animal Health||2|
|ANSC 510||Integration of Culture and Agriculture in Ireland: Past, Present, and Future||2 or 4|
|ANSC 546||Animal Business Applications||4|
|ANSC 548||Agricultural Business Management||4|
|ANSC 600||Field Experience||1-4|
|ANSC 602||Animal Rights and Societal Issues||4|
|ANSC 603||Introduction to Livestock Management||4|
|ANSC 605||Poultry Production and Health Management||4|
|ANSC 609||Principles of Animal Nutrition||4|
|ANSC 612||Genetics of Animals||4|
|ANSC 625||Animal Diseases||4|
|ANSC 650||Dairy Industry Travel Course||1|
|ANSC 690||Livestock and Wildlife in Namibia: Challenges, Opportunities and Geography||4|
|ANSC 698||Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM)||4|
|ANSC 701||Physiology of Reproduction||4|
|ANSC 708||Ruminant Nutritional Physiology||3|
|ANSC 710||Dairy Nutrition||4|
|ANSC 715||Physiology of Lactation||4|
|ANSC 724||Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination||4|
|ANSC 727||Advanced Dairy Management I||4|
|ANSC 728||Advanced Dairy Management II||4|
|ANSC 750||Collaborative Farm Design and Development||4|
|BIOL 409||Green Life: Introducing the Botanical Sciences||0 or 4|
|BIOL 510||Mushrooms, Molds, and Mildews: Introduction to the Fungal Kingdom||4|
|BIOL 566||Systematic Botany||4|
|BIOL 701||Plant Physiology||4|
|BIOL 704||Plant-Microbe Interactions||3|
|BIOL 709||Plant Stress Physiology||3|
|BIOL 720||Plant-Animal Interactions||4|
|BIOL 752||New England Mushrooms: a Field and Lab Exploration||4|
|BMS 503||General Microbiology||3|
|BMS 504||General Microbiology Laboratory||2|
|CEP 415||Community Development Perspectives||4|
|CHE 410||Energy and Environment||4|
|ECOG 401||Introduction to Ecogastronomy||4|
|EREC #600||Field Experience||1-4|
|EREC 601||Agribusiness Economics and Management||4|
|EREC 680||Agricultural and Food Policy||4|
|FORT 576||Forest Products and Wood Science||4|
|FORT 577||Forest Harvesting Systems||4|
|FORT 579||Wildland Fire Ecology and Management||4|
|GEN 604||Principles of Genetics||0 or 4|
|GEN 772||Evolutionary Genetics of Plants||4|
|GEN 774||Techniques in Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology||4|
|GEOG 670||Climate and Society||4|
|HMGT #403||Introduction to Food Management||4|
|HMGT 570||International Food and Culture||4|
|MGT 520||Topics in Management||4|
|MKTG 530||Survey of Marketing||4|
|NR 425||Field Dendrology||4|
|NR 435||Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness||4|
|NR 504||Freshwater Resources||4|
|NR 506||Forest Entomology||4|
|NR 527||Forest Ecology||4|
|NR 602||Natural Resources and Environmental Policy||4|
|NR 643||Economics of Forestry||4|
|NR 650||Principles of Conservation Biology||4|
|NR 706||Soil Ecology||4|
|NR 749||Forest Inventory and Modeling||4|
|NR 760||Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources||4|
|NR 761||Environmental Soil Chemistry||4|
|NR 765||Community Ecology||4|
|NR 782||Forest Health in a Changing World||4|
|NR 785||Systems Thinking for Sustainable Solutions||4|
|NUTR 400||Nutrition in Health and Well Being||4|
|NUTR 405||Food and Society||4|
|NUTR 550||Food Science: Principle and Practice||4|
|NUTR 600||Field Experience in Nutrition||1-4|
|NUTR 720||Community Nutrition||4|
|NUTR 730||From Seed to Sea: Examining Sustainable Food Systems||4|
|RMP 724||Research, Evaluation, and Data-Driven Decisions||4|
|SAFS 410||A Taste of the Tropics||4|
|SAFS 415||Introduction to Brewing Art and Science||4|
|SAFS 510||Agriculture and Development in the Neotropics||4|
|SAFS 515||Technical Brewing||4|
|SAFS 517||Advanced Aspects of Brewing||4|
|SAFS #600||Field Experience||0|
|SAFS 601||Fruit Crop Production||4|
|SAFS 632||Urban Agriculture||4|
|SAFS 651||Plant Pathology||4|
|SAFS 670||Systems Thinking: Land Use Capability and Sustainability in Aotearoa New Zealand||4|
|SAFS 671||Agroecology and Sustainable Land Management in Aotearoa New Zealand||4|
|SAFS 672||Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in Aotearoa New Zealand||4|
|SAFS 673||Agricultural Production and Business Practice in Aotearoa New Zealand||4|
|SAFS 679||Food Production Field Experience I||4|
|SAFS 680||Food Production Field Experience II||4|
|SAFS 689||Greenhouse Management and Operation||4|
|SAFS 733||Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture||4|
|SAFS 760||Insect Pest Management||4|
|SAFS 799||Honors Senior Thesis||1-4|
|ZOOL 610||Principles of Aquaculture||4|
|MEFB 772||Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management||4|
In addition to meeting the SAFS major requirements, students must satisfy all University requirements including those that pertain to the minimum number of credits, grade-point average, writing-intensive courses, the Discovery Program, and foreign language (only for B.A. students).
- Students will demonstrate a working understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of agriculture and food systems and the basic principles underpinning sustainability including: economic viability, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and the trade-offs between competing metrics of sustainability.
- Students will demonstrate in-depth knowledge, critical thinking and analysis, and effective written communication in a self-declared area of emphasis within the program.
- Students will gain an applied understanding of agriculture and food system sustainability by engaging in an experiential education opportunity.
- Students will be able to independently interpret, evaluate, and engage with research in the agricultural sciences, including its biological, physical, social, and/or economic aspects.
Explore Program Details
Why study Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS)?
Encompassing everything from land use, natural resource management, food production, processing, distribution, policy, consumption, and human health, the food system is one of the most complex and vital underpinnings of society. The SAFS major is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of this complexity so that they may effectively engage in the ongoing evolution of our food system to meet future economic, social, and environmental challenges.
What kinds of jobs do SAFS graduates get?
Since the program began in 2010, our SAFS graduates have gone on to pursue a wide variety of exciting and fulfilling careers. Most (80%) are working in production agriculture or another sector of the food system. Some have chosen to pursue post-graduate degrees in agricultural science, nutrition, law, and related fields. Many are entrepreneurs or managers of food and agricultural businesses and many others are educators, communicators, or advocates who support agricultural enterprises or consumers.
What are the opportunities in SAFS for "hands-on" learning and courses that would give me practical experience working in agriculture?
There are many!
For students interested in animal agriculture, there are numerous experiential courses, where students manage and care for animals as part of course requirements. All the following courses also include lectures and traditional assignments, but students take what they learn and apply it daily to the animals kept at UNH. These courses include Introduction to Livestock Management with a flock of sheep on campus in the spring semester, PEEP (Poultry Experiential Education Program) where students raise broilers over the course of the fall semester, and CREAM (Cooperative Real Education in Agriculture Management), where students manage (including feeding and milking) a herd of dairy cows for the entire school year.
For students interested in horticulture or plant-based agriculture, students in our Food Production Field Experience courses apply their knowledge of crop scheduling and planning to Farm to YouNH. Each student works in open-field and protected agriculture environments to produce crops year-round for UNH dining and catering.
Is it possible to add a double major, dual major or minor and still graduate on time?
Yes! The SAFS major is relatively flexible, and it is usually possible to add a dual major or minor as well as the SAFS major within four years. It is also possible, but a bit more challenging, to add a double major. This is more difficult for students transferring from other institutions or other majors if they have taken many classes that do not meet major requirements.
How big is the program?
The SAFS program currently has about 60 majors, so approximately 15 students graduate each year. We feel this is large enough to offer a cohesive group and critical mass, while also being small enough to offer personalized attention and small classes. There are currently faculty members representing a wide range of disciplines who teach and advise SAFS students. And our students benefit from a having a broad selection of courses as they pursue their specific interests within the program.
Are there opportunities to work closely with faculty?
Yes! Most of our majors do research in the labs of one or more faculty members while they are here at UNH. UNH hosts one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the nation, and it is a great opportunity to share research results with other students, faculty members, and the broader community.
Are there opportunities to get hands-on experience working on farms, or internships with agricultural businesses or other sectors of the food system?
Yes! Many of our faculty have relationships with the agricultural community and the broader food system, and we post and share job opportunities on a regular basis.
There are also many jobs available on the UNH career database, Handshake. The College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is also home to the St. Martin Career Exploration Office, a terrific resource offering professional development for students.
Some of our SAFS majors have also taken advantage of Semester in the City, a UNH program that involves a semester in Boston with internships in urban agriculture and organizations working to enhance food security. Finally, UNH maintains numerous farms on or just off campus where students are strongly encouraged to apply for work-study positions, where they can work with animals, crops, and assisting faculty on research projects in the field.
Are there opportunities to study abroad within the SAFS program?
Yes! We have many exciting opportunities to study abroad, ranging from a three-week January course that studies agriculture in Costa Rica to a full semester studying sustainable agriculture in the context of the food system in New Zealand.
Other opportunities have included Spring Semester courses such as The Integration of Culture and Agriculture in Ireland and a new course called Livestock and Wildlife Management in Namibia due to start in Spring 2021. Both courses have classroom components all semester on campus, with a 10-day study abroad component during Spring Break or at the end of the semester.
What is the process for transferring into the SAFS program from another 2- or 4-year institution?
It is easy. Once a student is accepted to UNH, an official credit evaluation will be completed to determine the total credits transferred and any Discovery Requirements that have been fulfilled. Then, we determine which courses from other institutions will be accepted towards fulfilling major requirements. We are happy to talk about what this might look like before you apply – please contact the program coordinator if you’d like more information.
If I am interested in a specific aspect of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, can I focus on that?
Yes! Instead of having specific pre-determined “tracks” or “options”, each student defines and names their own emphasis area that comprises a cohesive group of courses. Recent emphasis areas declared by our students include dairy management, crop production and management, horticulture business operations, agricultural policy, agroecology, community nutrition and food systems, educational methods in agriculture, and many more.
How does the process of “declaring an emphasis area” work?
Typically, near the end of their junior year, each student develops a proposal, writing an essay that explains how the courses chosen represent a cohesive emphasis area, and how this relates to the student’s personal and professional goals beyond UNH. A committee of faculty reviews and approves each emphasis area.
Is there a minor in SAFS?
Yes! We do offer a minor in SAFS, consisting of five courses. We also offer two other related minors: Environmental Horticulture and Brewing Science.