Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major B.S.

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Major B.S.

detail of food

What is sustainable agriculture and food systems?

Sustainable agriculture and food systems is the study sustainable agricultural practices, sustainable food production and food policies, production of local and value-added agricultural products and the science and management of working landscapes, with an emphasis on foundational science courses. The B.S. degree program is well-suited for students interested in developing both a broad base of knowledge and experience in modern agricultural and food systems, and a strong foundation in the biological sciences.  

Why study sustainable agriculture and food systems at UNH? 

There is no better way to learn about agriculture and food systems than by doing. That’s why students in SAFS can choose from among many courses that take place in the field, work at the student-run dairy cooperative, and participate in cutting-edge research in aquaponics, aquaculture hydroponics, plant biology, horticulture, plant breeding, animal and dairy science, and more. Our field facilities include two horticulture and agronomy farms, a typical New England Holstein dairy, a diversified organic dairy farm, research/teaching greenhouses and the new UNH Brewing Science Laboratory. Our faculty, farms and facilities offer outstanding opportunities for hands-on experiential learning and research, as well as formal and informal outreach and engagement with stakeholders in our state and region. 

Potential careers 

  • Agricultural business management and entrepreneurship 
  • Agricultural research 
  • Agricultural services and support 
  • Education and outreach 
  • Grant writing 
  • Policy making  
  • Production of food and fiber


Rebecca Sideman

Program Coordinator - Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Horticulture Production
Phone: (603) 862-3203
Office: Cooperative Extension, Spaulding Hall, Durham, NH 03824
Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems
Kendall Hall
129 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824
  • Recent grad didn’t go far to find a rewarding job
    Pete Kane ’18 started managing the Farm to You NH high tunnels and half-acre field adjacent to the Fairchild Dairy in 2016, while he was still an undergrad.
    Recent grad didn’t go far to find a rewarding job
    Pete Kane ’18 started managing the Farm to You NH high tunnels and half-acre field adjacent to the Fairchild Dairy in 2016, while he was still an undergrad.
  • Advisor: Dr. J. Brent Loy Research Topic: Vegetative melon grafting for season extension I grew up on a NH farm and have a deep connection to the earth and wholesome food. I obtained my A.S. in Culinary Arts from Strafford University in VA, and after working in the preparation side of food for 20...
    Advisor: Dr. J. Brent Loy Research Topic: Vegetative melon grafting for season extension I grew up on a NH farm and have a deep connection to the earth and wholesome food. I obtained my A.S. in Culinary Arts from Strafford University in VA, and after working in the preparation side of food for 20...

Curriculum & Requirements

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems B.S. provides students with a strong foundation in biological sciences and a broad base of knowledge and experiences with modern agriculture and food systems. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems is an interdisciplinary field comprising the social, physical, and life sciences and beyond.  Agriculture is key to solving many of the major challenges facing the world; such as producing food to meet the needs of an ever-growing population while conserving land, water, and soil resources.
Our students get hands-on experience in applied coursework, and we encourage our students to conduct research alongside faculty. Our students become practitioners and entrepreneurs of agricultural and food businesses, researchers and policy-makers at state/federal agencies and non-profit organizations, laboratory technicians, and agricultural educators. Some go on to obtain an advanced degree in the agricultural sciences.

The SAFS B.S. 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. An appropriate group of courses transferred from a completed 2-year program such as TSAS could serve as an emphasis area. 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 20 credits, chosen from the List of Approved Program Elective courses.

A Capstone experience must take place during senior year.  There are two capstone options: SAFS 733 Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture or ANSC 750 Collaborative Farm Design and Development.  Your capstone MAY be counted towards elective or emphasis credits.

Of the Student-Designed Emphasis and Program Elective courses, at least 16 credits (not counting the capstone) must be earned at the 600-700 level

B.S. Foundation Courses
ANSC 421Introduction to Animal Science4
BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular4
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I4
or EREC 525 Statistical Methods and Applications
EREC 411Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives4
or ECON 402 Principles of Economics (Micro)
CHEM 403General Chemistry I 14
or CHEM 411 Introductory Chemistry for Life Sciences
CHEM 404General Chemistry II4
or BMCB 501 Biological Chemistry
or BIOL 541 Ecology
NR 501Studio Soils4
NUTR 405Food and Society4
or NUTR 400 Nutrition in Health and Well Being
or NUTR 730 From Seed to Sea: Examining Sustainable Food Systems
SAFS 405Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production4
SAFS 421Introductory Horticulture4
SAFS 502Agroecology4
Student-Designed Emphasis Area20
At least 20 credits, proposed using the emphasis area declaration form (see your advisor) at least 1 year prior to planned graduation date.
Program Electives20
Select 20 credits from the approved electives list
Senior Capstone Experience
Select one from the following:
Collaborative Farm Design and Development
Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture
Total Credits88

University Requirements

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, and the Discovery Program.

Approved Electives

AAS 402Introduction to Livestock and Poultry Management2
AAS 421Large Animal Behavior and Handling Techniques2
AAS 423Dairy Selection2
AAS 424Animal Law and Regulations3
AAS 425Introduction to Dairy Herd Management4
AAS 432Introduction to Forage and Grassland Management3
AAS 439Fundamentals of Animal Health2
AAS 535Animal Nutrition3
AAS 540Animal Breeding3
AAS 574Dairy Cattle Disease Seminar2
ANSC 510Integration of Culture and Agriculture in Ireland: Past, Present, and Future2 or 4
ANSC 546Animal Business Applications4
ANSC 600Field Experience1-4
ANSC 602Animal Rights and Societal Issues4
ANSC 605Poultry Production and Health Management4
ANSC 609Principles of Animal Nutrition4
ANSC 612Genetics of Domestic Animals4
ANSC 625Animal Diseases4
ANSC 650Dairy Industry Travel Course1
ANSC 698Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM)4
ANSC 701Physiology of Reproduction4
ANSC 708Ruminant Nutritional Physiology3
ANSC 710Dairy Nutrition4
ANSC 715Physiology of Lactation4
ANSC 724Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination4
ANSC 727Advanced Dairy Management I4
ANSC 728Advanced Dairy Management II4
ANSC 750Collaborative Farm Design and Development4
ANSC 795Investigations1-4
BIOL 409Green Life: Introducing the Botanical Sciences4
BIOL 510Mushrooms, Molds, and Mildews: Introduction to the Fungal Kingdom4
BIOL 541Ecology4
BIOL 566Systematic Botany4
BIOL 701Plant Physiology4
BIOL 704Plant-Microbe Interactions3
BIOL 720Plant-Animal Interactions4
BIOL 752New England Mushrooms: a Field and Lab Exploration4
BMS 503General Microbiology3
BMS 504General Microbiology Laboratory2
CAN 407Hospitality Sanitation and Safety1
CEP 415Community Development Perspectives4
CHE 410Energy and Environment4
ECOG 401Introduction to Ecogastronomy4
EREC 600Field Experience1-4
EREC 601Agribusiness Economics and Management4
EREC 680Agricultural and Food Policy4
EREC 760Ecological-Economic Modeling for Decision Making4
FORT 564Arboriculture3
FORT 576Forest Products4
FORT 577Forest Harvesting Systems4
FORT 579Forest Fire Control and Use2
GEN 772Evolutionary Genetics of Plants4
GEN 774Techniques in Plant Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology4
GEOG 670Climate and Society4
HMGT 403Introduction to Food Management4
HMGT 570International Food and Culture4
HT 554Sustainable Irrigation and Rain Harvesting3
MGT 598Topics (Topic: Thinking Like an Entrepreneur)4
MKTG 550Survey of Marketing4
NR 425Field Dendrology4
NR 435Contemporary Conservation Issues and Environmental Awareness4
NR 504Freshwater Resources4
NR 506Forest Entomology4
NR 527Forest Ecology4
NR 542Forestland Measurement and Mapping1
NR 602Natural Resources and Environmental Policy4
NR 621Field Description of Soils3
NR 643Economics of Forestry4
NR 650Principles of Conservation Biology4
NR 701Ecological Sustainability and Values4
NR 706Soil Ecology4
NR 729Silviculture4
NR 735Land Conservation Principles and Practices4
NR 749Forest Inventory and Modeling4
NR 760Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources4
NR 761Environmental Soil Chemistry4
NR 765Community Ecology4
NR 782Forest Health in a Changing World4
NR 783Forest Communities of New Hampshire4
NR 785Systems Thinking for Sustainable Solutions4
NUTR 400Nutrition in Health and Well Being4
NUTR 550Food Science: Principle and Practice4
NUTR 600Field Experience in Nutrition1-4
NUTR 720Community Nutrition4
NUTR 730From Seed to Sea: Examining Sustainable Food Systems4
NUTR 795Investigations1-4
RMP 724Grantsmanship, Evaluation, and Research4
SAFS 410A Taste of the Tropics4
SAFS 415Introduction to Brewing Art and Science4
SAFS 510Agriculture and Development in the Neotropics4
SAFS 515Technical Brewing4
SAFS 517Advanced Aspects of Brewing4
SAFS 600Field Experience0
SAFS 601Fruit Crop Production4
SAFS 632Urban Agriculture4
SAFS 651Plant Pathology4
SAFS 670Systems Thinking: Land Use Capability and Sustainability4
SAFS 671Agroecology and Sustainable Land Management4
SAFS 672Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems4
SAFS 673Agricultural Production and Business Practice4
SAFS 679Food Production Field Experience I4
SAFS 680Food Production Field Experience II4
SAFS 689Greenhouse Management and Operation4
SAFS 733Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture4
SAFS 740Aquaponics4
SAFS 760Insect Pest Management4
SAFS 795Investigations1-4
SAFS 799Honors Senior Thesis1-4
ZOOL 610Principles of Aquaculture4
ZOOL 772Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management3

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