Agricultural engineering students' classes teach them to produce safe and environmentally-friendly food as efficiently as possible. They learn to design new ways of farming in classes that cover livestock production, soil management, sanitation and food storage. Students likely take some core classes, including English composition, psychology, communications, basic computer and several electives, but the bulk of their classes have strong math, science and engineering components.
Math and Science
Agricultural engineers must have strong math backgrounds. Students take classes in analytic geometry, calculus, computer-aided problem solving and differential equations. They take statistics and data analysis classes and several semesters of chemistry and physics. Prospective agricultural engineers also take biology classes designed to teach them how to use biological materials safely, according to the Sloan Cornerstone Career Center.
Students must have a strong grasp of agricultural concepts to design equipment and systems to help farmers or other agriculture-related industries become more efficient. Prospective agricultural engineers take classes in irrigation and drainage systems and learn about social and ethical responsibilities in farming. They take classes in natural resource management and air pollution concerns that affect the farming industry. Students also take soil science and crop production classes.
Engineering and Mechanics
Engineering classes take up the largest percentage of an agricultural engineer's college curriculum. Students take design classes to learn to create agricultural and biological systems, as well as classes on design of tractors, instrumentation, controls and equipment, Iowa State reports. They take some electrical engineering classes so they are prepared to design equipment. Students learn about economic issues that affect the agricultural industry, such as environmental regulations. Classes in mechanics, electrical wiring and welding give students practical skills to use in their careers, the University of Hawaii states.
Some colleges offer graduate degrees in agricultural engineering for students wishing to extend and enrich their educations. Graduate students learn methods to improve soil and water conditions, including erosion control, environmental protection and water purification. They take classes in biodiesel production and research other forms of energy, according to the University of Idaho. Graduate students generally take more research-based courses and learn to operate software and related farm equipment.
- The College Board: Major Agricultural Engineering
- University of Wisconsin River Falls: Agricultural Engineering Technology
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Agricultural Engineering Curriculum
- Iowa State University: Agricultural Engineering
- University of Hawaii: Agricultural Engineering Courses
- University of Idaho: BAE Graduate Programs
- Sloan Career Cornerstone Center: Agricultural Engineering Overview
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images