The programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) emphasize life sciences, agriculture and food systems, environmental protection, and the development and preservation of healthy communities. 

Explore majors

Agroecology (formerly Ecological Agriculture) (B.S.)

Agroecology (formerly Ecological Agriculture) is a degree that provides a foundation in the natural sciences with an emphasis on the application of ecological principles to the production of horticultural or agronomic crops. Disciplinary synthesis is attained through advanced courses in soils, plant pathology, entomology, and integrated farm management. Students are prepared to become practitioners through internship experiences and completing cross-disciplinary courses in ethics, policy and economics.

View plans of study for the Agroecology major.

Animal Science (B.S.)

The Animal and Veterinary Science program deals with a range of options from basic sciences through companion and zoo animal care to farm management.  Although programs are highly individualized by students working with the advisors, there are four basic concentrations:

  • Dairy Production Concentration
  • Equine Science Concentration
  • General Animal Science Concentration
  • Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Professional Science Concentration

View plans of study for each of the 4 concentrations for the Animal Science major.

Biochemistry (B.S.)

Students graduating with a B.S. in Biochemistry are well positioned for careers in a range of areas, including medicine, biomedical research and teaching, and all of the many disciplines that encompass the molecular aspects of the life sciences. With the relatively recent publication of the Human Genome and other discoveries describing the molecular basis of life, tremendous opportunities await those students with the right background and training. Don't just watch the future of science - join us and become part of the community of scientists making it happen!

A plan of study for the Biochemistry major can be found here

Biological Sciences (B.S.)

The Integrated Biological Science program offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science administered through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences but drawing from the rich spectrum of courses and faculty found in CALS, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Medicine. Many of the most exciting developments with the potential to benefit society are in biological science. For example, consider how often the fields of biotechnology, medicine, ecology, and genetics are mentioned in the daily news. For students concerned about contemporary issues and who love the sciences, the Bachelor of Science program in Biological Science (BISC) offers the flexibility, rigor and comprehensiveness to prepare for a dynamic and challenging career. Veterinarian, marine biologist, physician, lab technician – these are among the several hundred careers in which CALS graduates are employed. Many use their degree as a professional stepping stone to medical, veterinary or graduate school.

A plan of study for the Biological Sciences major can be found here.

Community Entrepreneurship (B.S.)

Successful entrepreneurship is fundamental to a healthy community. Students majoring in Community Entrepreneurship are able to test the entrepreneurial waters in courses designed to give them firsthand experience in launching or strengthening a product or service. Students build skills applying economics, management, strategic planning, marketing and public policy on the enterprise level. This major emphasizes enterprises that promote community development with sound stewardship of natural resources and regard for social capital.

View plans of study for the Community Entrepreneurship major.

Community and International Development (B.S.)

Building on an applied economics foundation, the Community and International Development (CID) curriculum offers students the academic and professional experience that enables them to address community development both locally and globally. CID students are provided opportunities to analyze and learn from development issues in Vermont and New England; students learn while engaging in real world problem solving. Over the past decade, students and faculty members within CDAE have also nurtured relationships with communities in Belize, Honduras, and St. Lucia. CID students have the opportunity to partner with these organizations to address real world development issues, through carefully designed service learning courses and faculty led trips abroad.

View plans of study for the Community and International Development major.

Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Sciences (B.S.)

Dietetics is a growing profession as health care moves from treatment to prevention. Although many health professionals are interested in prevention, Registered Dietitians are at the cutting edge of prevention, because so many preventable diseases and conditions are tied to food and nutrition. Our B.S. in Dietetics, Nutriation and Food Science prepares students for careers as Registered Dietitians by providing the undergraduate requirements needed to apply to dietetic internships.

To become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), students must complete the didactic program in Dietetics, complete an ACEND accredited supervised practice/internship program, and pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians. Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become an RDN.

View plans of study for the Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Sciences major.

Environmental Sciences (B.S.)

The Environmental Sciences major combines a science-based core curriculum with hands- on experience identifying, analyzing, and addressing environmental problems arising from human disturbance.

Students may pursue the major through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), or The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR).  The distinctions between the major offered through these three schools are subtle, and a student can usually shift between the three with little difficulty.

  • The Rubenstein School provides a degree with an environmental focus, so an environmental sciences major is balanced with a broad-based understanding of the environment.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences provides a degree with a traditional liberal arts orientation, so the major in environmental sciences is pursued within the context of a liberal arts education.
  • The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provides a degree in which the student pursuing the environmental sciences major is engaged in the application and understanding of the environment within the context of agricultural literacy.
  • The decision about which school is which to pursue the major is typically based on the student’s desired focus within the major and other academic interests. All environmental science majors take a common set of courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and geology or plant and soil science. A common set of environmental science core courses is followed by specialization in one of nine focus areas: agriculture and the environment, conservation biology and biodiversity, ecological design, environmental analysis and assessment, environmental biology, environmental chemistry, environmental geology, environmental resources, or water resources.

Goals of the major include providing students with a strong foundation in basic sciences as well as advanced knowledge in environmental sciences; emphasizing scientific analysis aimed at assessment and remediation of environmental problems; familiarizing students with sources and measurements of pollutants on ecosystems; and providing practical experience in environmental sciences through internships/service learning and research.

View plans of study for the Environmental Sciences major.

Environmental Studies (B.S.)

The Environmental Studies Program at University of Vermont was established in 1972 to meet the need for greater understanding of the ecological and cultural systems supporting all life on earth. This broadly interdisciplinary program is a campus-wide program serving students in four colleges across the university. The faculty are committed interdisciplinary thinkers drawing on the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to create a lively hub, addressing local and global issues with equal concern. We believe in collaborative problem-solving and the power of human imagination to create a more sustainable future.

The Environmental Program offers a major in Environmental Studies (ENVS) that can be pursued in four different colleges, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Social Services and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Students can choose which college best suits their broad educational needs and then pursue the Environmental Studies major from within that college. While major requirements differ slightly from college to college, the core curriculum is the same. Following the introductory courses and working closely with faculty advisors, each student creates a plan for an individually-designed major concentration in their focus area(s) of choice. This learning plan culminates in a final capstone project or thesis, usually carried out in the senior year.

View plans of study for the Environmental Sciences major.

Food Systems (B.S.)

The B.S. in Food Systems program deeply educates students on the food system - the interconnected web of activities, resources and people that extends across all domains involved in providing human nourishment and sustaining health, including production, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing and consumption of food. 

As a leader in food systems nationally, Vermont offers students access to a living classroom, a working laboratory and professors who think as broadly as the disciplines they straddle. 

Click here for more information about the Food Systems major.

Microbiology (B.S.)

Students who choose the Microbiology major usually will have a concentration in clinical, applied or general microbiology. Microbiology majors must fulfill the basic distribution requirements for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Microbiology majors also take a core set of courses, totaling 65 credits, including: First-year Colloquium, Senior Seminar, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Recombinant DNA Lab, Molecular Cell Biology, general biology, biochemistry, genetics, general and organic chemistry, calculus, physics, and statistics. In addition to the core requirements, microbiology majors take a minimum of fifteen credits from an array of upper-level microbiology courses, including Clinical Microbiology, Immunology, Mammalian Cell Culture, Eukaryotic Virology, Bioinformatics, internships, and undergraduate research. These courses meet the prerequisites for applying to medical school or to graduate school to do life sciences or biomedical research.

View plans of study for the Microbiology major.

Molecular Genetics (B.S.)

Students who choose the Moloecular Genetics major must also fulfill the basic distribution requirements for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a core set of courses, totaling 65 credits, including: First-year Colloquium, Senior Seminar, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Recombinant DNA Lab, Molecular Cell Biology, general biology, biochemistry, genetics, general and organic chemistry, calculus, physics, and statistics. In addition, molecular genetics majors take Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics and a minimum of twelve credits from an array of upper-level molecular genetics courses, including Molecular Cloning, Eukaryotic Genetics, Bioinformatics, Eukaryotic Virology, Protein-DNA Interactions, internships, and undergraduate research. These courses meet the prerequisites for applying to medical school or to graduate school to do life sciences or biomedical research.

View plans of study for the Molecular Genetics major.

Nutrition and Food Sciences (B.S.)

The Nutrition and Food Sciences major is designed to provide a strong background in preventive nutrition, food science, and basic science. Students have an opportunity to integrate course work in medical, biochemical, biological, physiological, psychological, and sociological sciences or business. This option can prepare students for careers in the commercial food processing industry or in professions where the knowledge of food and beverage, nutrient content of foods, eating behavior, and the role of food in society is critical. The demand for qualified professionals with education and training in the food science arena greatly exceeds the number of graduates available thus making this option highly desirable for the career motivated student.

Through appropriate selection and advisement, students in either Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science (DNFS) or Nutrition and Food Science (NFS) may meet the undergraduate requirements needed for admission to medical school (including naturopathic, chiropractic or osteopathic) or graduate school.

View plans of study for the Nutrition and Food Sciences major.

Plant Biology (B.S.)

This Plant Biology program is designed to provide flexibility in course of study and mentorship via undergraduate research experiences and one-on-one advising. Each student plans an individualized program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students have many opportunities to interact closely with faculty through field, lab and research experiences. Areas of student research include ecology, evolution, cell and molecular biology, growth and development, and physiology. Popular study opportunities include a biennial trip to Costa Rica and student-initiated research projects at the internationally known Proctor Maple Research Center or at the Pringle Herbarium, the third largest plant collection in New England.

View plans of study for the major.

Public Communication (B.S.)

Public Communication is the practice of understanding, designing, implementing, and evaluating successful communication campaigns within a framework of public service. It is used to inform and persuade, to build relationships, and to encourage open dialog in the public interest. This is accomplished by crafting successful messages through the application of research, theory, technical knowledge, and sound design principles. Students majoring in Public Communication use an integrated approach to communication in the public interest to critically analyze situations, manage information, and craft messages that work in an increasingly global society.

View plans of study for the Public Communication major.

Self-Designed (B.S.)

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to define a personalized program of study when their educational objectives fall outside curricula defined by departments and programs of the college. Each student is asked to formulate their own program of study by working in association with a faculty advisor and the committee of faculty which oversees the major. Designing a major requires examination of personal goals and acquiring information about formal courses and other possible learning experiences (e.g., internships, independent studies, special topics and studies, and independent research). The information is then formulated into a package of proposed course work and other learning experiences.

The objective is to design a coherent and unique plan of study to meet the specific learning needs of the student and by which the student will achieve an advanced state of skills, knowledge, and values in their chosen field. The student must justify the designed package in two ways:

  • value to the student;
  • uniqueness and deviation from curricula already available.

The Self-Designed major usually comprises about sixty + credits of study in the junior and senior years (after the college core requirements have been fulfilled).

Self-Designed majors must complete a minimum of forty credits in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; twenty credits of this total must be at the 100-level or higher and outside of the CALS Core Competency requirements.

The design of the major is itself an intensive learning experience; therefore, students should plan to spend some time each week over the course of one semester designing their major.

More information on the Self-Design Major Proposal process can be found here.

Sustainable Landscape Horticulture (B.S.)

Sustainable Landscape Horticulture (SLH) provides professional education in the use and care of trees, shrubs, flowers, lawn grasses, and other plants in the human environment. The program integrates professional training in landscape design and plant sciences with courses in business and liberal arts. The emphasis is on the preparation of students for a variety of careers in the expanding field of Sustainable Landscape Horticulture. Students are required to participate in an internship related to their studies.

View plans of study for the major.