Overview of Ag Comm

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Scientific acumen + communication savvy

Offered since 1961, Agricultural Communications at Illinois is the country’s only program that interweaves the study of agricultural and environmental sciences with that of journalism, advertising, marketing, multi-media communications, and more. The program is offered jointly by the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the the College of Media. Students develop expertise in agriculture and related topics taught by world-class ACES faculty while learning the principles and practices of the communications profession from award-winning faculty in the College of Media.

Expertise in high demand

In the field of agriculture, communicators with scientific and technical expertise are among the graduates in short supply. According to the USDA, of the 58,000 average annual openings for agriculture graduates, about 7,000 are positions that entail communicating to and educating various publics about food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and the environment. This reality is why 100% of our students report starting full-time positions, or entering competitive graduate programs, after graduation. Our seniors say they receive an average of three job offers before graduating.

The Agricultural Communications Program prepares students for a variety of opportunities in communications with a focus on food, agriculture, energy, and the environment. Students pursuing this major earn credits that constitute a minor in Food and Environmental Systems, which provides the technical subject matter exposure ag communicators need to accurately tell stories about food, agriculture, energy, and the environment. Ag Comm majors choose one of two communication concentrations: Advertising or Journalism. Graduates of the program work as professionals in writing, editing, and publishing; public relations; advertising; radio and television broadcasting; photography; and related professions.

In Ag Comm, "agriculture" means many things

Our vision of agriculture includes so much more than corn and cows. In our classes, you'll hear us refer to the broader definition of agriculture. Agriculture broadly defined includes topics such as human nutrition, food and environmental systems, sustainability and resource protection and conservation, policy and legislation international development, consumer economics, rural and farm lifestyle, livestock and pets, renewable energy, biotechnology, life and human sciences—and more.

In addition to the university general education requirements, students take Ag Comm core courses, a series of courses in ACES that generates a minor in Food and Environmental Sciences, and area of specialization courses in either Journalism or Advertising. The Ag Comm courses provide students the opportunity to combine their topic areas in agriculture with communication skills and theory, learn additional skill sets outside their concentration, which includes public relations, and discuss current trends and issues facing the field and discipline of agricultural communications.

Watch our award-winning video that describes the Ag Comm Program.