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Agricultural Communication: BS

Agricultural Communication

USU is the only university in the state where students can get a degree in agricultural communication. There is a high demand for communication professionals with knowledge and background in agriculture because the agriculture-related industry, from farming and livestock to food production and human nutrition, encompasses a significant portion of careers worldwide.

Students in this degree take coursework in a variety of agricultural disciplines, including animal science, plant science, agricultural economics, nutrition, and landscape architecture. They also take courses in video production, photography, graphic design, website design, marketing and sales, and agricultural communication. This training provides students with the basic knowledge to draw from as they communicate the importance of the food and fiber industry.

The program recommends that all students complete a one-semester internship before graduation. Because of the hands-on learning students receive while in the program, they graduate with substantial experience and are more likely to be hired.


Dual-Degree Program (B.S. in Agricultural Communication and B.S. in Journalism)

Agricultural communication students pair their BS in agricultural communication with a BS in journalism to graduate with two degrees. The dual-degree program combines courses in journalism, agricultural communication, and agriculture to develop an agricultural communication professional with skills in broadcast and print journalism, social media, or public relations. Students in the dual-degree program can work in the broad field of journalism, but they also have the knowledge and qualifications to specialize in agricultural communication careers.


Emphases:

The following emphases are for the dual-degree program. Students may concentrate their coursework in one of the four Journalism and Communication Department emphases.


  • Broadcast/Electronic Media: This emphasis focuses on the distribution of video and audio content to a wide audience through television, radio, and the Internet. Students learn to write radio and TV scripts and to use electronic media equipment. They gain hands-on experience through the department’s Aggie TV News. Opportunities are also available through Utah Public Radio and Aggie Radio.
  • Print Journalism: Students work toward mastery of the written word, telling stories and aspiring to accuracy, integrity, and artistry. They typically enter careers writing for newspapers, magazines, or other print and online media. Many students in this emphasis write for the on-campus newspaper, The Utah Statesman, or for the student-run Aggie BluePrint magazine.
  • Public Relations/Corporate Communications: Students learn to help the public better understand organizations, businesses, and issues. They gain experience working with on- and off-campus clients through coursework and internships. After graduation, PR students often move into careers in event planning, image building, media relations, crisis management, Web communications, social media, employee relations, and more.
  • Social Media: This emphasis prepares students for careers as digital media directors, content curators, digital content developers, and online strategists for a variety of organizations. Students learn content development and curation using the latest tools, interpret analytic data, and develop data-based strategies for clients. Internship opportunities are available with local companies, public relations and marketing firms, and media organizations.

An agricultural communications and journalism degree can lead to career opportunities with public relations and advertising agencies, government agencies, commodity promotion groups, agricultural publications, radio and TV stations, colleges, non-profit, and other organizations. With a degree in agricultural communication, students can pursue the following careers:

  • Videographer
  • Reporter
  • Radio broadcaster
  • Agricultural information specialist
  • Agricultural communications educator
  • Lobbyist
  • Photographer
  • Extension agent
  • Congressional aide
  • Free-lance writer/editor
  • Graphic designer
  • Marketing specialist
  • Web content manager
  • Communication specialist
  • Corporate, government communicator
  • Event planner
  • Advertising/sales agent
  • Technical writer
  • Educational material developers

Broadcast/Electronic Media Emphasis

  • News anchor
  • Radio host
  • Meteorologist
  • Talk show host
  • News analyst
  • Announcer
  • Actor
  • Professional blogger
  • News associate
  • Associate producer
  • Entertainment agent
  • Broadcast assistant
  • Videographer

Print Journalism Emphasis

  • News writer/editor
  • Magazine writer/editor
  • Professional blogger
  • News analyst
  • Columnist
  • Designer
  • Creative writer

Public Relations/Corporate Communications Emphasis

  • Public relations specialist (image building, media relations, social media, etc.)
  • Writer
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Event planning
  • Crisis management
 

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the agricultural communication program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions and students transferring from other USU majors need a 2.75 total GPA for admission to this major.

International students have additional admissions requirements.


Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow: ACT is the professional organization for students majoring in agricultural communication and journalism. While membership is open to all USU students, goals and activities are designed to prepare graduates for careers relating to agricultural public relations, broadcast journalism, and print journalism. Activities include professional development designed to cultivate the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the profession, build relationships between students and professionals, and nurture lifelong professional relationships.

Society of Professional Journalist: Members of SPJ believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the society's principles and standards of practice.

Aggie Radio: Aggie Radio is Utah State University’s full-time radio station operated entirely by students. In partnership with Utah Public Radio, it provides Cache Valley with a quality college radio station through Internet streaming.

Aggie TV: Aggie Television is Utah State University's own private cable TV system. It broadcasts an exciting and varied line-up of channels to more than 20,000 students, on-campus residents, faculty, and staff. Award-winning programs include Aggie TV News and Cache Rendezvous. Students working with Aggie TV have access to a multimedia computer news room, a digital non-linear video editing lab, and a full TV studio.

Collegiate FFA: Collegiate FFA is the service arm to the National FFA Organization. USU Collegiate FFA members serve the agricultural industry, the agricultural education profession, and the FFA at the local, state, and national levels.

Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers: The USU Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers chapter is associated with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation and is open to all USU students with an interest in agriculture regardless of major.

Hard News Café: Hard News Café started in 1996 as the first independent student news website in the country. Hard News Café is an award-winning online newspaper written and operated by students. Hard News Café partners with two local newspapers: Cache Valley Daily and the Smithfield Sun.

Public Relations Students Society of America: PRSSA is a student chapter of Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest and foremost organization of public relations professionals. PRSA provides professional development, sets standards of excellence, and upholds principles of ethics for its members. The society also advocates for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services and acts as one of the industry’s leading voices on the important business and professional issues of our time.

True Blue Communication: True Blue Communication is a student firm with real-life business clients. The firm allows students to have hands-on experience working with a client for either internship credit or pay. Students mainly focus on the public relations and marketing aspects of business.

Utah Statesman: The Utah Statesman is the student newspaper of Utah State University, an independent newspaper published three times each week of the academic school year. During summer semester, news can be found at Statesman Online. The Statesman is a student activity, open to students of all majors and class rank.


Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

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Academic Advising

Marci Chidester
Office: AGRS 417/ASTE 101F
Phone: (435) 797-8434
Email: marci.chidester@usu.edu

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