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Apply to master's degree vs. 2nd bachelor's degree, Agricultural Science


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I'm currently in the process of mastering out of a chemistry PhD program at a R1 school, not due to failing candidacy or anything - purely out of lack desire/interest in becoming a PhD analytical chemist. My dream has always been to work in agricultural research, but life takes twists and turns and I didn't quite end up where I wanted, so I'm making some educational changes. My first bachelor's degree is in chemistry and mathematics and my master's degree will be in analytical chemistry, so I have very little experience in biology beyond a soil science class. My question is, in agricultural (crop and soil) science would it be more beneficial to pursue a second bachelor's degree first? Or is it feasible to continue straight onto a grad program?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Check out agricultural programs that will get you to your goal and see what their prerequisites are. I'm guessing it will vary depending on what kind of agricultural program you want to attend.

For example, Penn State's MS program in soil science says they prefer applicants with an undergraduate major in soil science OR a natural sciences major. They do have some minimum requirements - including 8 credits of biology and 12 credits in agronomy, geology, and plant science. Washington State's MS in agriculture just requires you have a major in a related area. Texas A&M has some toxicology degrees within its college of agriculture (including one called Applied Toxicology and Food Safety) that you would probably be very competitive for.

So it depends. However, I will say that regardless, you probably don't need to do a second bachelor's in anything. At most, you probably would just need to complete some prerequisite classes - which you could do part-time as a non-degree student while working. Like even if you wanted to get that MS in soil science at Penn State, it sounds like you would only need to take around 4 classes to have the required prerequisites. At several programs, because of your strong background in chemistry with research experience, you may get admitted as a conditional student and then just take the classes before you start taking graduate classes in the program.

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