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The Department of Agricultural Sciences at Sam Houston State University has a rich history. Founded in 1910 the department was one of the first programs in the nation authorized to train teachers in agriculture. Since then multiple program areas in Animal Science, Agricultural Business, Agricultural Engineering Technology, Plant and Soil Science, Agricultural Communication, Agricultural Education, Wildlife Management, and Equine Science, have been established. This wide array of distinct areas allow students to choose from a number of specialized majors and minors, offering the opportunity to tailor a degree program with specific career goals. The Department currently has more than 25 full and part-time faculty members. With the current enrollment exceeding 1200 undergraduate majors, we are one of the largest non-land-grant agriculture programs in the U.S and listed as the #2 agricultural program “for the money” in Texas.
Bachelor of Science Degrees are offered in six different emphasis areas, along with the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. Teacher Certification in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources may be added to many of these degree options. For those interested in graduate studies, a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences is available along with a 100% online Master of Agriculture program in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Environment (SAFE). Teacher certification in Agricultural Food and Natural Resources is available through the MS program. Additionally, we offer a Master of Business Administration in Agribusiness, which is a joint option with the College of Business Administration.
The department manages a number of facilities to prepare our students for their respective educational and career choices. The Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center, on the main campus, is home to administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and specialized laboratories. The Farrington Building, on the main campus, hosts the soils laboratory.
Our off-campus facilities offer space for hands-on learning and scientific research. The 1,740-acre SHSU Gibbs Ranch is an educational and research facility that includes an outdoor arena, goat and cattle show barns, ponds stocked with largemouth bass and catfish, covered livestock demonstration facilities for our purebred and commercial beef cattle herds, an olive orchard and a research area for forage and wildlife food plots. The William R. Harrell Agricultural Engineering Technology Center houses classrooms and laboratory facilities for teaching and providing hands-on experiences. The Agriculture Center on I-45 has an indoor arena, meat science lab, forages lab, equine unit, and greenhouse. The nearby Horticulture Center includes two additional greenhouses, a classroom, gardens, and fruit orchards.
We are very proud to have these facilities that serve as hands-on laboratories for learning technical skills. Not only do our students receive a first-class academic experience, but they also are expected to “learn by doing.” Business and industry demand “experience,” and in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, these experiences are built into each class. To further develop their career skills, students may complete internships in their field of study, participate in international study abroad or inter- and intra-state programs and complete undergraduate research projects. Additionally many students are engaged in the SHSU Honors and Academic Distinction Programs.
The Department of Agricultural Sciences takes pride in maintaining a culture of exceptional teaching and providing an active student-centered learning environment. Our students also have the opportunity to engage in organizational leadership, service to the community, and undergraduate and graduate research. We invite you to be a part of the Agricultural Sciences family and help in our endeavor to create high quality society-ready graduates.
Dr. Doug Ullrich, Department of Agricultural Sciences
Sam Houston State University