Agroecology MS Core Curriculum

Our core curriculum consists of two three-credit courses, a one-credit seminar that all students take three times, and an intensive one-credit weeklong field study course that precedes the fall semester.  Those courses are described below.   All Agroecology students must also satisfy independent study and breadth coursework requirements, as detailed in the Program Tracks Page and the Student Handbook.

Agroecology 701: The Farm as Socioenvironmental Endeavor

Any farm can be usefully analyzed as an intentional entity shaped by the opportunities and constraints presented by its social and biophysical contexts. As such, this course takes the perspective of the farmer looking out on the world.  It provides the analytic tools for understanding how the diversity of farms across the world emerges from such contextual opportunities and constraints. (Typically Fall semester, 3 credits)

sample syllabus 

Agroecology 702: The Multifunctionality of Agriculture

Agroecological systems provide a variety of social, economic, and ecological functions to society, which can conflict or complement each other in varying degrees and ways. This course takes the perspective of the world looking in on the farm as students explore methods of evaluating these diverse functions and perspectives, with a special focus on participatory methods for the wise renegotiation of agriculture's conditions. (Typically Spring semester, 3 credits)

Visit the 702 web site 

Agroecology 710: Seminar in Agroecology

Offered both fall and spring semester, this course relies heavily on student-driven content.  Fall semester seminar is organized around some important issue in Agroecology (e.g. eutrophication, current policy issues, biodiversity, organic production). Spring seminar focuses on student presentations and critiques, with occasional guest speakers. (Fall and Spring semester, 1 credit - all students must take three semesters of the 710 seminar)

sample syllabus

Agroecology 720: Agroecology Field Study

This course provides a graduate-level, field-based introduction to the agroecology of farming systems in Wisconsin, including both diversified and industrialized approaches. The bulk of the class time is a week-long sequence of field trips to farms, mostly as day trips out of Madison but also including one overnight stay. (Fall semester*, 1 credit)

sample syllabus

* Note: this class takes place the last week of August but students enroll as part of the fall semester.  The Program strongly recommends that students take 720 before their first semester, as it is a crucial opportunity to build bonds with the incoming cohort.