PhD in Agriculture

What is Agriculture?

Agriculture is the bedrock of human civilization, providing the nourishment that sustains our global population. Beyond merely feeding us, this industry plays a crucial role in supporting the economy, both through the production and trade of agricultural goods. Additionally, agriculture is deeply intertwined with environmental sustainability, serving as a steward of the land and natural resources. From supplying the basic sustenance, we require to fuelling economic growth and preserving the delicate balance of our ecosystems, the importance of agriculture cannot be overstated. It is a cornerstone of our modern world, one that deserves our steadfast appreciation and support.

Types of Agriculture

Agriculture encompasses various practices and methods, each suited to different environmental conditions, economic goals, and cultural preferences. Here are some major types of agriculture

Subsistence Agriculture

Traditional Subsistence Agriculture: Farmers grow food primarily to feed their families. Common in developing countries, it involves small plots of land and diverse crops.

Intensive Subsistence Agriculture: Farmers work intensely on small plots to maximize yield per unit area. Common in densely populated regions, often involves rice cultivation.

Commercial Agriculture

Intensive Commercial Agriculture: High-input, high-output farming aimed at maximizing production. Includes horticulture, dairy farming, and specialized livestock farming.

Extensive Commercial Agriculture: Large-scale farming with lower inputs per unit area. Includes ranching and large-scale grain production.

Industrial Agriculture


Cultivation of a single crop over a large area, often involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and significant use of chemical inputs.

Plantation Agriculture

Large-scale production of cash crops (e.g., coffee, sugar, rubber) typically in tropical regions, often for export.

Organic Agriculture

Farming without synthetic chemicals, emphasizes natural processes and cycles. Organic practices include crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.

Sustainable Agriculture

Focuses on maintaining ecological balance, conserving resources, and supporting biodiversity. Practices include agroforestry, permaculture, and integrated pest management (IPM).

Mixed Farming

Combines crop cultivation and livestock farming, allowing for resource recycling and diversification of income.

Shifting Cultivation (Slash-and-Burn)

Farmers clear a piece of forest land, cultivate it for a few years, then move to a new area. Common in tropical rainforests.


Raising and herding livestock, often in arid or semi-arid regions. Includes nomadic and transhumant pastoralism.


Farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, and seaweed. Includes freshwater and marine aquaculture.


Integrating trees and shrubs into crop and livestock systems to enhance biodiversity, improve soil health, and provide additional income.


Integrating trees and shrubs into crop and livestock systems to enhance biodiversity, improve soil health, and provide additional income.

Urban Agriculture

Cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around urban areas. Includes community gardens, rooftop farming, and vertical farming.

Hydroponics and Aeroponics

Soil-less farming methods. Hydroponics uses nutrient-rich water solutions, while aeroponics involves misting plant roots with nutrients.

Difference between Agriculture and Horticulture






Science, art, and business of cultivating soil and raising crops and livestock for food, fiber, and other products.

Branch of agriculture that deals with intensive plant cultivation for human use.


Large-scale production of food, fiber, and other agricultural commodities.

Intensive cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, and medicinal plants.


Includes crop production, livestock management, soil management, agricultural economics, etc.

Includes fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, and medicinal plants.

Areas of Study

Crop production, livestock management, soil science, agricultural economics, etc.

Plant propagation, cultivation techniques, crop breeding, greenhouse management, landscaping, etc.


Grains, vegetables, fruits, fibers, meat, dairy products, etc.

Fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, etc.


Generally larger scale, commercial farming.

Can be small to large scale, often includes gardening and landscaping.


Broad range of techniques for large-scale production.

Specialized techniques for plant propagation, cultivation, and management.


Farmers, ranchers, agricultural scientists, agronomists, agricultural engineers, etc.

Horticulturists, arborists, floriculturists, landscape designers, greenhouse managers, etc.


Food and fiber production, commercial agriculture.

Food production, beautification, ornamental use, medicinal use.


Growing wheat, corn, rice, raising cattle, dairy farming.

Growing apples, tomatoes, roses, landscaping, greenhouse management.

Key Organizations and Resources in India

UP Agriculture: Uttar Pradesh is a leading agricultural state in India. The UP-Agriculture department provides valuable resources and support for research in agriculture.

DBT Agriculture: The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India offers various funding opportunities and resources for agricultural research and development.

Agriculture Department: The Agriculture Department in various states offers support, funding, and resources for agricultural research and development.

Tamilnadu Agriculture University: A premier institution for agricultural research and education in India, offering advanced degrees and research opportunities.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD): Provides financial support for agricultural research and development projects.

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare: The central government body responsible for formulating and implementing national policies and programs for agriculture.

Key Organizations and Resources in the USA

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues, and offers funding, research opportunities, and educational resources.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA):

Supports research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS):

The USDA’s principal in-house research agency, researching to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems.

American Society of Agronomy (ASA)

A scientific and professional society that supports agronomy professionals through publications, meetings, and educational programs.

Soil Science Society of America (SSSA):

A professional society dedicated to advancing the field of soil science, offering resources, certifications, and publications.

Crop Science Society of America (CSSA):

Promotes the study and advancement of crop science, providing educational resources, publications, and networking opportunities.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC):

Advocates for federal policy reform to advance sustainable agriculture, providing policy analysis, advocacy, and networking.

Farm Credit Administration (FCA):

An independent federal agency that regulates and examines the Farm Credit System, a network of borrower-owned financial institutions.

Research areas related to Agriculture

All about PhD in Agriculture

Education qualification required to pursue PhD in Agriculture

To pursue a PhD in agriculture applicants, need a four-year undergraduate and master’s degree in agronomy, horticulture, soil science, plant science, animal science, agricultural engineering, or agricultural economics.

Application requirements to pursue PhD in Agriculture

  1. Statement of Purpose: A detailed essay explaining your research interests, academic background, career goals, and reasons for choosing the specific PhD program. This should highlight your research experience, academic achievements, and how the program aligns with your aspirations.
  2. Personal Statement: A narrative about your personal journey, experiences, and motivations that have shaped your decision to pursue a PhD in Agriculture. This may include challenges you’ve overcome, personal achievements, and your passion for the field.
  3. Academic Statement: A focused document outlining your academic background, including degrees obtained, major coursework, research experiences, and any relevant academic accomplishments. This statement should demonstrate your preparedness for doctoral-level research.
  4. Curriculum Vitae(CV): A comprehensive resume that includes your educational background, research experience, publications, presentations, work experience, academic honors, and any other relevant achievements or skills.
  5. Letter of Recommendation: Typically, three letters of recommendation from professors, research supervisors, or professionals who can attest to your academic abilities, research potential, and suitability for the PhD program. These letters should provide insights into your strengths, character, and readiness for advanced study.
  6. English Language Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, proof of English language proficiency through standardized tests such as TOEFL or IELTS is usually required. Minimum score requirements vary by institution.
  7. English Proficiency Waiver: Some institutions may waive the English proficiency requirement if you have completed a degree in an English-speaking country or if your previous education was conducted in English. Check the specific criteria of the institution for eligibility.
  8. Academic Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, providing a record of your academic performance and courses taken. These should be submitted in sealed envelopes or sent directly by the institutions.

Universities offering PhD in Agriculture

Washington State University

University of Hampshire

Lowa State University

Pennsylvania State University

Oregon State University

Tennessee State University

Cornell University

Connect with us for more information on universities offering PhD in Agriculture

Career after PhD in Agriculture

  1. Agricultural Scientist
  2. Agronomist
  3. Crop Consultant
  4. Soil Scientist
  5. Plant Breeder
  6. Research Scientist
  7. Extension Specialist
  8. Agricultural Economist
  9. Biotechnology Researcher
  10. Environmental Scientist
  11. Policy Analyst
  12. Agricultural Engineer
  13. Food Scientist
  14. Pest Management Specialist
  15. Sustainable Agriculture Consultant
  16. Agricultural Consultant
  17. Farm Manager
  18. Agroecologist
  19. Agribusiness Manager

Student Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Shortlisting universities before applying for a PhD is crucial for several reasons:

Alignment with Research Interests: Ensures that the university and faculty are conducting research in your specific area of interest.

Resource Availability: Verifies the availability of necessary resources, such as laboratories, equipment, and funding.

Advisor Match: Helps identify potential advisors whose research aligns with your interests and who are taking on new students.

Funding Opportunities: Allows you to evaluate the types and availability of scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships.

Program Reputation and Outcomes: Helps assess the program’s reputation, its alumni network, and the career outcomes of its graduates.

Location and Lifestyle: Considers the geographical location, climate, cost of living, and lifestyle.

Internships for PhD students in agriculture may include:

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture): Offers various internships focusing on agricultural research, policy, and development.

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations): Provides internships in agricultural development and food security.

CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center): Offers internships in crop research and development.

CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research): Various centers under CGIAR offer internships in different aspects of agricultural research.

Private Sector Internships: Companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bayer offer research internships in agricultural biotechnology and agribusiness.

Academic Institutions: Many universities offer summer research internships for PhD students in collaboration with industry or government agencies.

Some scholarships for PhD students in agriculture include:

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs)

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs)

Fulbright Program

Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorates

Borlaug Fellowship Program

A PhD in agriculture typically takes 3 to 5 years to complete. The duration can vary based on the country, institution, the nature of the research project, and whether the student is studying full-time or part-time.

Typical qualifications for a PhD in agriculture include holding a Master’s degree in agriculture or a related field. Strong academic performance is essential, demonstrated through transcripts. Prior research experience, including publications or a master’s thesis, is typically required. Strong letters of recommendation from academic or professional references are important, along with a well-written statement of purpose outlining research interests and career goals. For non-native English speakers, proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS may also be required to demonstrate language proficiency.

Access it!

F-1 VISA Query

A sample SOP will be emailed you shortly! Good Luck:)

Access it!

Enable Notifications OK No thanks