Undergraduate Programs | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences | The University of Vermont(title)

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a breadth of programs for students interested in the life sciences, including animal science, food and nutrition, the environment, and agriculture, or social sciences such as community entrepreneurship, public communication and applied economics.

Our faculty, staff, and students are passionate, engaged, and approachable. Through our innovative curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and high-quality advising, our students graduate with the tools and mindset to take on the challenges of our time. Explore our many programs and learn why we are proud to call CALS and UVM home. 

Want to consider multiple options? Compare majors here

Agroecology and Landscape Design (B.S.)

Agroecology and Landscape Design integrates environmental science, ecology and communities to grow food in a way that sustains people and the planet. It is a science of collaboration that involves working with people wherever agriculture, conservation, and policymaking converge. Grounded in agricultural and horticultural sciences, our curriculum teaches students how to help transform current agri-food and land management systems with the use of ecologically sound and socially just methods. Students may chose one of two concentrations: Agroecology or Landscape Design. 

Animal Science (B.S.)

The Animal Science major 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 focus areas:

  • Dairy Production Focus
  • Equine Science Focus
  • Zoo, Exotics and Companion Animal Focus
  • Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Professional Science Focus

Plans of study for each of the 4 focus areas 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!

Plan of study for the Biochemistry major. 

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.

Community Centered Design (B.S.)

The Community-Centered Design major helps students learn about creative collaboration and design processes by which we understand complex issues and develop, implement, and share new ideas. Focused on sustainable and responsible solutions for real-world communities, this program places equal emphasis on theory, critical thinking, reflection, creativity, empathy, and working effectively with others, including community members and professionals in different fields. Students customize their education by picking a concentration in Applied Design or Relational Design. Upon graduation, Community-Centered Design graduates are design-process experts ready to create a better tomorrow—a resilient and responsible tomorrow—together with local and global communities.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Molecular Genetics (B.S.)

Students who choose the Molecular 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 60+ 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.