Bridging the study of agriculture with ecology


Agroecology, which emerged as a cross-disciplinary field over the last 40 years, bridges the study of agriculture with ecology. While Agroecology is based on the natural sciences, it lends itself to cross-disciplinary studies. Students interested in Agroecology are required to enroll in the Agroecology Summer Term, which is based at the College's Jenner Farm, about 15 miles from Prescott. The curriculum of the Summer Term is designed around 1. making conventional agriculture more resource-efficient and sustainable and 2. challenging the assumptions underlying conventional and even small-scale agriculture in designing systems that fundamentally mimic the natural systems of a particular region. Students in Agroecology need to demonstrate a synthesis of theory and application.  It is essential that an understanding of ecological principles forms the foundation of any degree in Agroecology.  Also essential is the ability to gain the skills for hands-on application of working with the land. 


Required Courses

(16-course minimum; 8 UD minimum.) (LD = Lower Division; UD =  Upper Division)

For Ecology requirement, Natural History and Ecology of the Southwest (8 credits; LD)

  • Summer Studies in Agroecology: Agroecology (UD)*
  • Summer Studies in Agroecology: Field Methods for Agroecology (UD)*
  • Summer Studies in Agroecology: Food Preservation and Seed Conservation (UD)*
  • Summer Studies in Agroecology: Insect Ecology (LD)*

For Skills of Application, Permaculture for Drylands (LD) and/or Principles of Small-scale Agriculture (LD) (or approved demonstration of significant hands-on experiencein horticulture or agriculture)

Senior Project (UD) will demonstrate a combination of theory and application

*indicates courses that are taken together in the intensive Agroecology Summer Semester

Core Courses

(select at least two courses)

  • Agroecosystems of the Arid Southwest (LD)
  • Biological Principles (LD)
  • Botany (LD)
  • Earth Science, Introduction to (LD)
  • Organic Evolution (UD)
  • Plant Propagation Methods (UD)
  • Soil Science, Introduction to (LD)

Other Supporting Courses

  • Geographic Information Science (LD)
  • Geographic Information Science, Advanced (UD)
  • Small-scale Energy Solutions and Photovoltaic System Design (UD)
  • Statistics for Research (UD)

Recommended Distribution Courses

Life Sciences (select at least two courses)

  • Animal Biology (LD)
  • Conservation Biology (UD)
  • Environmental Restoration (LD/UD)
  • Field Methods for Plant Ecology (UD)
  • Flowering Plants, Introduction to (LD)
  • Form and Pattern in Nature (LD)
  • Systematics of Seed Plants (UD)
  • Wetland Ecology and Management (UD)

Earth and Physical Sciences (select at least two courses)

  • Earth System Science and Policy (UD)
  • Earth Science, Introduction to (LD)
  • Geologic Evolution of the Southwest (LD)
  • Geology of Arizona (LD)
  • Geomorphology, Topics in (UD)
  • Global Environmental Change (LD/UD
  • Weather and Climate (LD)

Personal Values and Social Systems (select at least two courses)

  • Ecological Design, Introduction to (LD)
  • Ecological Design, Cultural Perspectives (LD/UD)
  • Ecological Economics, Principles of (LD/UD)
  • Ecology of Human Evolution (UD)
  • Ecopsychology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Ecopsychology, Advanced (UD)
  • Energy and the Environment (LD)
  • Environmental Ethics (UD)
  • Environmental Politics (LD)
  • Global Development Issues and Energy Economics (UD)
  • Human Ecology, Introduction to (LD)
  • Human Ecology, Advanced Topics (UD)
  • Ideologies of Nature (UD)
  • Issues of Global Food Production (LD)
  • Land Stewards (LD)
  • Nature and Psyche (UD)

Sample Sequence of Courses for Agroecology

Year 1: Biological Principles, Natural History and Ecology of the Southwest, Soil Science, Earth Science, Issues of Global Food Production

Year 2: Botany, Human Ecology, Land Stewards, Weather and Climate

Year 3: Summer Studies in Agroecology (four courses)

Year 4: Permaculture for Drylands, Senior Project


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