Home < Degrees < Agroecology


Administrative Unit:Agroecology
College/School: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Admitting Plans:M.S.
Degrees Offered:M.S.

Faculty: Alatout, Albrecht, Arriaga, Barak, Bart, Bell, Bland, Bussan, Casler, Charkowski, Collins, Colquhoun, Cox, Cullen, Davis, Dawson, Dennis, Feinstein, Genskow, Gilbert, Gratton, Groves, Harrington, Hogg, Hueth, Jackson (chair), Kloppenberg, Kriegl, Kucharik, Luschei, MacGuidwin, Madison, McCown, Mitchell, Morales, Nienhuis, Norman, Nowak, Ozdogan, Patterson, Reinemann, Renz, Rissman, Ruark, Shapiro, Silva, Stoltenberg, Thompson, Tracy, Treves, Ventura, Wattiaux, Zedler


Agroecology is the study of agriculture as a human endeavor embedded in society and environment. The program is based on the ideas that the most beneficial agriculture will emerge from broadly participatory discussions about agricultural practice, and it is dedicated to the training of students and the facilitation of informed discussion about new directions in agriculture.

Master's Degree 

The program aims to train analysts and researchers in a broadened vision of the possibilities of agriculture. Social, environmental, ethical and economic concerns are stimulating reconsideration of what is appropriate agricultural technology and how best to structure socioeconomic relationships. Great opportunity lies in our emerging appreciation of the power of conflict management, community development, and inclusive participatory processes to lead to wise and equitable decisions about agriculture. By coming to appreciate issues in context and through exposure to concepts of systems, ecology, and public process, graduates will shape the evolution of a new agriculture.

The program's curriculum reflects the interdisciplinary nature of agroecology and offers to all students an opportunity to study in such areas as animal welfare, biodiversity, community, ecosystems, food safety, genetics, hydrology, land use, large and small farms, media, public debate, public spaces, soil biology, waste management, water use, and wildlife habitat.

  • The Professional Practice track trains facilitators to enable broader discussion and negotiation at the interfaces of agriculture and other sectors of society. The goal of this "action-in-society" track is to train analysts to increase understanding about the roles of agricultural systems in multifunctional landscapes, and the public policy that shapes these roles.
  • The Research track addresses the need for continued research and scholarship in order that discussions and negotiations are well informed. Students will have the opportunity to obtain experience in the scholarship of original research, culminating in the writing of a thesis.


Candidates applying to the M.S. degree in Agroecology should submit an online Graduate School application. Official GRE scores are required and should be sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Use ETS institution code 1846. TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English. TOEFL scores are sent electronically from ETS. Use ETS institution code 1846. Letters of recommendation are done electronically. Candidates should list three references in the online application for admission.

To complete the application process, candidates should submit the following to the Agroecology Program Administrator at the address below:

  1. A statement indicating the program track they intend to pursue—Research or Public Practice—and why they are interested in this track. This information will also be used to direct applications to faculty who will be in the best position to locate funding for candidates. Those who wish to follow the Research track are strongly urged to communicate with potential thesis research advisors (see list of affiliated faculty).
  2. A one-page Statement of Purpose if not included in the online application. Candidates should indicate if they intend to pursue a Ph.D. degree after completing the Master's in agroecology. Although funding is not guaranteed, some fellowships require that students intend to continue at the Ph.D. level.
  3. Curriculum vitae.
  4. Two official copies of transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work. Candidates should not send transcripts to the Graduate School. Transcripts should clearly indicate the title of the degree that was completed and the date of completion.

For more information: Graduate Coordinator for the Agroecology Program, 364A Moore Hall-Agronomy, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-890-1456; agroecology@cals.wisc.edu; www.agroecology.wisc.edu.