Bachelor of Science in Agriculture
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The Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, usually abbreviated as either B.Sc.(Agr.) or B.S.A. or B.Sc.(Ag.) or B.Sc. (Hons.) Ag. is the first undergraduate degree awarded by university faculty of agriculture and agricultural colleges. The program is 4 years of study above Grade 12 High School graduation.
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The B.Sc.(Agr.) degree differs from a B.Sc. degree in that the courses focus on agriculture: for example, the student will study agricultural economics rather than economics. Like engineering or forestry, agricultural science courses are infused with practicality.
There are also variations on the theme: for example, the Bachelor of Agricultural Economics (BAgrEc) degree
History of the degree
In the United States, the Morrill Act of 1862 (also known as the Land Grant Act) had a large influence on the rise of agricultural education and the spread of the B.Sc.(Agr.) degree. By the early part of the 20th century, all the agriculturally important states had at least one college or university awarding the B.Sc.(Agr.) degree.
B.Sc.(Ag.) in India
Size of agricultural education in India
India has one of the world's largest agricultural education system with 42 State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), 3 Central Agricultural Universities (CAUs) viz. Imphal, Pusa(Bihar) and Jhansi, 5 Deemed Universities (DUs) and 4 general Central Universities with Agriculture faculty. These institutions enroll on annual basis about 15,000 students at UG level in as many as 11 disciplines and over 7,000 students at PG and 1700 at PhD level. At any point, there are over 75,000 students studying in SAUs. In addition to this, there are large number of private colleges both affiliated and non-affiliated to SAUs which also annually admit larger number of students. Many general universities also offer agricultural education either themselves or through affiliated colleges. Agricultural education is a broad term which includes disciplines of Agriculture (Agronomy), Veterinary Science, Forestry, Fisheries, Horticulture, Home Science etc.
Features of the Indian B.Sc.(Ag.) degree
The B.Sc.(Ag.) degree in India is typically a 4-year course under credit based semester system. The minimum qualification for entry to B.Sc.(Ag.) is Intermediate (12 years of school education) in Science (with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and/or Mathematics) or Intermediate in Agriculture stream (limited states). The curriculum is very broad and inter-disciplinary consisting of courses in
- Plant Pathology,
- Agricultural Economics,
- Extension education,
- Genetics and Plant Breeding,
- Soil Science,
- Food technology,
- Animal Husbandry
apart from supporting courses in Basic Sciences, Humanities and Agricultural Engineering. The program also includes a compulsory 1 semester Internship (Rural Agricultural Work Experience). Most of the courses are infused with practicality with emphasis on 'hands on' experience and 'learning by doing'.
Prior to 1998, the B.Sc.(Ag.) degree was known as B.Sc.(Ag. & AH) ( AH= Animal Husbandry) and evaluation was on a 5-point scale. Since 1998, it has been designated as B.Sc.(Ag.) and the 'AH' part has been transferred to BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences), which is now designated as BVSc & AH. However, B.Sc.(Ag.) still retains courses in Animal husbandry and nutrition. Also, the 5 point evaluation system was replaced with a 10-point system. The provision of 'optionals' in 7th/8th semester was also done away with in 1998.
In 2006, ICAR has recommended to re-designate B.Sc.(Ag.) as B.Sc. (Hons.) Ag.) and return to 'optionals' system in 7th/8th semester.
Like, BE/BTech, MBBS or BVSc&AH, B.Sc.(Ag.) is considered as a 'professional' degree by Government of India. However, in recognition to its 4-year duration, B.Sc.(Ag.) holders are given some benefits like- B.Sc.(Ag.) holders receive higher stipend than BSc holders in DBT supported post graduate courses in Biotechnology. The Gazetted post like Agricultural Officer(Agronomist) the Basic educational requirement is B.Sc in Agriculture.