AGRICULTURE AND BIO-RESOURCES PROGRAMS IN CANADA

Credential
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management (BBRM)
  • Bachelor of Technology (BTech)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc)
  • Bachelor of Commerce in Agricultural Business (BCom)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Combined Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education (BSc/ BEd)
  • Associate of Science (ASc)
  • Diploma/ Certificate
Program Length
  • 4-5 years for combined bachelor's degree
  • 4-5 years for bachelor's degree
  • 2-3 years for associate's degree
  • 2-3 years for diploma
  • 12-52 weeks for certificate
Entry
  • Combined Bachelor's degree - entry after 1-2 years of study
  • Bachelor’s degree – direct entry; entry after 1 or 2 years of general foundation studies; enter into third year with associate’s degree
  • Associate's degree - direct entry
  • Diploma/Certificate – direct entry
Areas of Study
  • General agricultural sciences, environmental sciences, animal and plant biology
  • Specialization areas include forestry/ forest business management, environmental biology, earth science, nutrition and food science, food business management, agribusiness, biotechnology/ genetics, agronomy, environmental/ agricultural economics and policy, natural resources management, environmental geography, conservation biology, land reclamation, agricultural engineering, horticulture, veterinary technology, aquaculture, environmental chemistry, waste management, pest management, crop production/ management, viticulture/oenology.
Special Features
  • on-site animal, aquaculture and plant facilities
  • field trips
  • international exchange/ study abroad
  • co-op/ work placement/ industry internships

Just as there are many uses and applications of living things (i.e., bio-resources), there are many educational paths in the bio-resource and agriculture field. At the university level, competitive four-year bachelor’s degrees are offered either in the Faculty of Science or in Faculties (sometimes known as schools or colleges) specifically dedicated to agricultural or other bio-resource studies.

One option, therefore, is to take a general Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with a major in forestry/ forest business management, human ecology, animal biology, environmental science or biology, earth science, nutrition and food science, plant biology or biotechnology. You can also take a BSc (Agri.) in food science, food business management, organic agriculture, animal science, environmental biology, agronomy, environmental or agricultural economics and policy or sustainable agricultural systems. The Bachelor of Science in Environment or Environmental and Conservation Sciences--BSc (Env.)--covers natural resources management, earth and atmospheric science, ecology, environmental geography, conservation biology and land reclamation. Additional options are a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in agricultural economics, Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in agricultural business; Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management (BBRM); Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in environmental engineering or bio-resource engineering (with specializations in bio-environmental, food & bioprocess, soil & water and agricultural engineering); and a five-year combined Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degree (BSc/BEd).

Universities may also offer two-year Associate of Science (ASc) degrees in environmental science, as well as associate diplomas in agriculture, environmental management, equine studies, horticulture, veterinary technology, and food/nutrition. These diplomas provide courses in applied science, business management, production and marketing, and are designed to prepare graduates for positions in the agriculture and food industries. As well, two-year pre-veterinary medicine programs allow students to receive all requirements for application to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, or they can choose to complete a four-year BSc degree.

Similarly, community colleges often have agricultural or natural resource faculties, but there are also specialized agricultural colleges. In general, community colleges have smaller classes, and also offer a variety of four-year degrees in agricultural and bio-resource fields in association with partner universities. In addition to the BSc (Agri) and BSc (Env.), you can take a four-year Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in environmental horticulture, which includes tree care, landscape construction/ maintenance, and nursery or greenhouse production. As well, a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) in agribusiness or horticulture may be available.

Community colleges also offer two-year technical diploma programs in plant science, enterprise management and veterinary technology. These are skills-based, career-directed courses, but which also allow for specializations in areas such as edible horticulture, agronomy, companion animals, farming, dairy farming, equine, greenhouse and nursery. The veterinary technology program prepares students to write certain credentialing examinations.

Other possibilities include one- to two-year certificates and diplomas in agribusiness, renewable energy, ecosystem survey skills, animal health technology, GIS environmental technologies, land and water management, forest technology, arboriculture, agricultural mechanics, environmental protection technology, or fish and wildlife technology. Some programs are industry-specific such as beef cattle or pork production. Community colleges may offer one- to two-year diplomas and certificates in regionally- or culturally-specific land resources issues such as coastal resources or First Nations land stewardship, as well as apprenticeship and applied certificate programs.

Career colleges offer veterinary assistant and veterinary technician programs, and vocation-specific colleges in horticulture, nutrition, environmental studies or other agricultural and bio-resource fields provide diploma and certificate training for specific jobs in various aspects of the industry.

At all levels, study generally combines classroom theory and learning with hands-on field and lab work in specialized facilities. Field trips, co-ops and industry partnerships/ internships are often part of the curriculum, and a number of program-specific scholarships are available.