Agricultural Education

Ag students with faculty



The Southwest Minnesota State University School of Agriculture is proud to have established Agricultural Education (Ag Ed) as our newest major on campus. This program will help meet the critical need for qualified Ag Ed teachers. The SMSU Ag Ed program is multidisciplinary. It is founded on a strong liberal education program that emphasizes critical thinking, effective communication and a well-rounded knowledge base. Through active learning, the Agricultural Education Teacher Licensure Specialization directly prepares students to become agricultural teachers and FFA Advisors in Minnesota’s secondary schools. The core of the Ag Ed major is a balanced and well-designed program of study that includes core courses in science, agriculture, educational methodology and leadership development. 


The Agricultural Education program is unique in that it places a strong emphasis on partnerships with other Minnesota State institutions. SMSU works together with Minnesota State’s Two-Year Colleges to offer articulated applied courses as part of SMSU’s major requirements. Students attending these Minnesota State colleges will have clear pathways for transfer to SMSU for degree completion.­ 


The SMSU School of Agriculture offers an array of academic scholarships thanks to the generosity of SMSU Alumni, SMSU Farm Seminar donors, our regional Ag partners and SMSU faculty. In Spring Semester 2016, SMSU was able to award a total of $30,000 in ag-related scholarships for our students who ranged from new incoming freshman to experienced senior students. Ag-related scholarships are awarded based on a student’s past academic record, civic involvement and leadership potential.


SMSU’s BS in Agricultural Education will open up doors for rewarding careers in education, agriculture and related industries. Currently there is a severe shortage of agricultural educators in K-12 school systems in Minnesota and nationwide. In addition, community and technical colleges also need faculty who can train the next generation of agricultural leaders. Students with an Ag Ed Degree are in high demand with a need to fill positions in education, agricultural communications, consulting, training and research. 


SMSU students in Agricultural Education with a Teacher Licensure Specialization will benefit from many field experiences. Students will observe 15 hours and teach at least one lesson as part of the Introduction to Education Freshman level course. Next is the pre-student teaching experience where students will spend a total of 3 weeks in a classroom to observe and teach. Finally, the capstone of the program is a semester long student teaching experience. SMSU ensures a quality experience by working closely with our partnering schools to ensure a quality learning experience for our students. Additionally, SMSU has opportunities with established community partners allowing students to expand their teaching and learning experiences. 


Prospective Agricultural Education students should complete the standard college preparation curriculum. High school students whose career plans will include K-12 Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisors, as well as placement in professional consulting, sales, cooperative management positions, should complete English, biology, chemistry and mathematics courses as part of the pre-college curriculum. Participation in extracurricular activities such as athletics, community volunteering, band, FFA, or 4-H helps create a well-rounded education. Employers prefer to hire students who have a multi-dimensional résumé.


At SMSU, students who are active in clubs and organizations build social connections, learn essential life skills and enrich the value of their college experience. SMSU is proud to offer over 100 clubs and organizations!  Below are some clubs and opportunities worth consideration:


Any SMSU student can join the SMSU AG Club and/or the Post-Secondary Agricultural Students (PAS) organization. The Ag Club is among the most active on campus meeting weekly to learn from agricultural professionals and alumni as guest speakers. The Ag Club plans and takes annual trips to different locations in the Midwest. Past cities visited include Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Grand Island, Omaha, Denver and Boise. Also, an annual banquet to honor graduating seniors, scholarship award winners, alumni and rural leaders is hosted by the SMSU Ag Club. Other activities include SMSU’s Ag Bowl, Ag Career Fair, SMSU Homecoming Parade, skeet-shooting and golfing. Each year, SMSU is the host of the statewide PAS knowledge bowl competition. The student community at SMSU is large enough to offer diversity but small enough to feel like family. 

Last Modified: 2/2/18 5:52 PM