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Agricultural Studies and Rural Life

Hampshire College
4 years
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available
On campus

About this program

Agricultural Studies and Rural Life

The study of food, agriculture, and rural life brings together faculty and students interested in the central intellectual, political, scientific, and cultural issues that dominate contemporary discussion of food and agriculture.

Students interested in agriculture studies at Hampshire College can take part in a diverse academic curriculum including practical experience at the. Hampshire College Farm Center, an organic working farm, and workshops with visiting writers, artists, and scholars. Students gain experience with the complex issues of sustainability through internships and apprenticeships with farms and advocacy groups.

Program content

Sample First-Year Course

Ecology, Agriculture, and Society

This course looks at agriculture as a set of ecological systems and issues. It refers to ecology in both the sense of interactions between organisms (e.g., crops, pests, and predators) and their environment, and in the larger scale sense of environmental impacts and related social and political issues. A broad range of topics will be covered, including pesticides and alternatives; soil fertility and erosion; the role of animals; genetically modified crops; biofuels; global vs. local; and more.

The course work will consist of readings; discussion; written assignments (with revisions as needed); work at the Hampshire farm; group and independent projects; guest lectures and films; and field trips. Given the field work, always be prepared to walk and be outside (e.g., sunscreen/rain gear, sensible shoes). Some field work may include other times and days to be arranged in class.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

  • Advanced Topics in Terrestrial Ecology
  • Agriculture, Ecology, and Society
  • Agriculture, Food, and Human Health
  • Biomass Energy
  • Change in the Valley
  • Colloquy on Sustainable Living
  • The Contested American Countryside
  • Ecology of New England Old Growth Forests
  • Farming in America
  • From Generation to Generation:
  • Seed-Saving in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Intro to American Studies
  • Kitchen Ecology
  • The Microbial Farm
  • Pesticide Alternatives
  • Seminar in Rural Studies
  • Soil: Science and Society
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Local, Organic Food Production and the Urban/Ex- Urban Interface
  • Sustainable Agriculture Seminar
  • Sustainable Living
  • The Unknown Microbial Majority

Through the Consortium

  • Agroecology (MHC)
  • Horticulture (SC)
  • Plant Biology (SC)
  • Plant Ecology (UMass)
  • Soil Chemistry (UMass)
  • Sustainable Agriculture (UMass)
  • Tropical Agriculture (UMass)

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the college website for more information.


Tuition fees per semester: $25,500

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About this institute

Hampshire College

Hampshire College is a small liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts that has been at the forefront of progressive higher education in the United States for over 50 years. Every Hampshire student designs a customized program of study in...

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Contact info

Hampshire College

West Street
01002 Amherst Massachusetts
United States of America

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