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Minors in CALS

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Looking for a minor to round out your undergraduate experience?

Customize your education and explore some of your interests by adding one of our minors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Choose from 4 of our college-wide interdisciplinary minors, or from our many departmental minors listed below.

College wide minors

The Civic Agriculture and Food Systems minor provides the opportunity for both interdisciplinary and community-based learning, as well as active engagement in and outside the classroom. Housed within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ (CALS) Office of Academic Programs, the CAFS minor embodies a commitment to developing and strengthening an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture and food system. This interdisciplinary minor provides students with knowledge and skills to promote the academic enhancement, personal growth, and civic engagement through reflection and experiential practice to address and solve ‘real-world’ problems.

Contact: Dr. Peter Ziegler,

The Global Food Security and Health minor is an interdisciplinary program that explores the biophysical, technological, and institutional drives that contribute to global food security and population health. The minor also provides students with directed, internationally-oriented experiential learning opportunities, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internship, or service-learning placement.

Contact: Contact: Dr. Ozzie Abaye,

This minor promotes overall well being, academic enhancement, personal growth, and application while strengthening a student’s capacity to learn about integrative health systems through reflection and experiential practices

Contact: Dr. Susan Sumner,, 540-231-5290

Students focus on agricultural issues affecting less developed countries. They will learn about problems affecting these countries, like environmental degradation, competition for resources, etc, and finding solutions to alleviate these problems.

Contact: Dr. Susan Sumner,, 540-231-5290

Departmental minors


Students are introduced to the world's largest industry: the food industry. Courses supplement an agricultural economics base and provide the skills needed to become managers, business owners, and more in the agricultural sector.


Contact: Normand Adams –, 540-231-0913


Students learn the fundamentals of economics and how it applies to everyday decisions in a variety of industries including the food, natural resources, government, and communities.


Contact: Normand Adams –, 540-231-0913

Provide students with the opportunity to pursue hands-on learning related to the animal science field. Students develop a general understanding of the biology, industry structures, and uses of production and companion animals.

Contact: APSC Undergraduate Program Director,

Students in this minor will gain essential knowledge about crop and soil science and their management in agricultural systems. This is a great minor for anyone who wants to learn more about the production of crops used to feed the world.

Contact: Karen Drake-Whitney,, 540-231-8943

Hands-on learning while working with dairy cattle. Students from all backgrounds are welcome. This minor makes any pre-health student’s resume unique and broadens opportunities for careers in nutrition, repro, genetics, or ag finance.

Contact: Kathy Duncan,, 540-231-4769


Provides students with a multidisciplinary background in the fast-growing areas of international trade and development. Students will complete courses in international trade, global monetary issues, and rural development


Contact Normand Adams –, 540-231-0913

Students explore the world of insects as they relate to horticulture, fisheries, and wildlife, forestry, medical and veterinary fields. This minor offers a unique opportunity for students to dive into entomology through beekeeping, insect collecting, and experiential learning

Contact: Dr. Sally Paulson,, 540-231-8035


Students are introduced to the problems of rural poverty, use of natural resources, and provision of public services to non-urban areas. Courses include topics on resource use, public policy, sustainability, and environmental justice.


Contact: Normand Adams –, 540-231-0913

Students take both basic and applied courses related to the environment. This minor exposes students to the important physical, chemical, and biological processes that control nutrient and contaminant cycling

Contact: Dr. Matt Eick,, 540-231-8943

Students are provided with the opportunity to pursue hands-on learning related to the equine science field. Students will develop a general understanding of the biology, industry structures, and uses of horses.

Contact: APSC Undergraduate Program Director,

Students will study the physical, microbiological, and chemical makeup of food, and ultimately learn the techniques required to develop safe, nutritious foods, and innovative packaging.

Contact: Herbert Bruce,, 540-231-9570

This minor includes the study of plant growth and plant interactions with the environment to improve human life through the cultivation of crops and the maintenance of a sustainable environment.

Contact: Karen Drake-Whitney,, 540-231-8943

This minor embraces a commitment to diversity and an agenda for social change. Develop a theoretical foundation combined w/ practical knowledge and skills needed to lead in a complex global work environment.

Contact: Austin Council,, 540-231-8188

This minor focuses on managing plant health in response to a variety of stress such as pathogens, weeds, insects, and environmental conditions.

Contact: Karen Drake-Whitney,, 540-231-8943

The minor for Teaching and Learning in Agriculture will capture the interest of individuals interested in learning how to apply practical educational pedagogy in diverse career settings across all areas of agriculture and life sciences. Completion of the minor will offer students job market opportunities beyond those specifically associated with their major.

The minor in Teaching and Learning in Agriculture requires the completion of 18 credits; 12 credits required courses and 6 credits of free electives from the list below. All courses must be taken and passed on an A-F basis unless only offered on a Pass/Fail basis.

Contact: Ginger Dempsey,, 540-231-6337

This minor offers career opportunities specialized in plant protectants, fertilizers, seed, sod, landscaping equipment, and multiple-facility property management.

Contact: Karen Drake-Whitney,, 540-231-8943

This minor serves students interested in grape production and wine-making and provides an interdisciplinary learning experience in wine grape production, wine-making, and wine business and marketing

Contact: Karen Drake-Whitney,, 540-231-8943

Students will further their understanding of the processes that effect the creation of wetlands and wetland soils, including groundwater hydrology, identification of hydrophytic vegetation, and classification of Wetland soils.

Contact: Dr. Matt Eick,, 540-231-8943

The Ecosystems for Human Well-Being (EHWB) minor allows students to examine the world from multiple perspectives in the context of a critical global and ethical issue: the planet’s life support systems. Students will explore the connection between ecosystems and the services they provide to communities, the impact of culture on the environment, and the pathways associated with human and animal health risks. The minor is appropriate for students from numerous disciplines across campus, but especially those with an interest in the “One-Health” concept. 

Contact: Dr. Matt Eick,, 540-231-8943 or  Renee Eaton,, 540-231-5987

Visit the following link to see minors checksheets: