General Education Courses: Agriculture Interests

The following general education courses may be appropriate for students pursuing any Penn State major and who have a general interest in learning more about agriculture. Some courses will fulfill specific major and minor requirements for those students enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences, while other courses may fulfill general education requirements for any student. Be sure to check your degree requirements and consult with your academic advisor for assistance.

Penn State Altoona Courses

AG 160: Into to Ethics and Issues in Agriculture (Spring)

(3 credits) GH-Humanities
This course provides students the opportunity to explore major ethical issues related to agriculture through class discussions, assigned readings, team assignments, and community projects. Students will become more aware of how agriculture affects society on an everyday basis.

AGBM 106: Agribusiness Problem Solving (Spring)

(3 credits) Prereq./Concurrent ECON 102 or 104
The goal of this course is to develop a student’s ability to solve problems related to agribusiness management using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Course content will build on concepts learned in previous economics and/or agribusiness management courses with an emphasis on data analysis rather than abstract math or conceptual issues. During this course, students will study demand, supply, production, marketing, time value of money, and forecasting.

AGBM 170N: Investigating the U.S. Food System: How Food Moves from the Field to Table (Fall)

(3 credits) GS-Social Behavioral Science, US – United States Cultures, Interdomain
Our food system is a product of the complex interaction of three systems: the natural ecosystem, the managed agricultural system, and the socio-economic system. Farming, food processing, food distribution, and consumption decisions are all governed by the interaction of these systems. The consequences of these decisions, along with the interactions themselves, have generated a number of overarching scientific and social “hot-button” topics that affect or are affected by the food system. Students in this course will investigate and discuss these topics in various pedagogies.

ANSC 100: Introduction to Animal Studies (Spring)

(3 credits) GN-Natural Sciences -- WEB/ONLINE
Enrollment for pre-majors pursuing - AEE, AGBM, AGSC, ANSC, BRS, VBSC

This online course will introduce students to the breadth and scope of animal agriculture in North America with an emphasis on food-producing animals. The course will be available in a web-based format with extensive use of video tours of animal housing facilities, expert interviews, and explanations of the biology behind common production practices. Student performance will be assessed via unit quizzes, popular press article critiques, and a final paper.

ANSC 215: Pets in Society

(3 credits) GS-Social Behavioral Science
What roles do companion pets play in our society? This course intends to provide students with the opportunity to explore the relationship between pets and society. Students will learn the requirements necessary to be a responsible pet owner and the importance of matching the needs, available resources, and interests of an individual or family with a potential pet.

BIOL 127: Plant Biology (Every other spring semester)

(3 credits) GN-Natural Sciences
This is a complete biology course from the plant’s point of view. Fundamental biological topics such as cell and molecular biology, genetics, evolution, and ecology are covered, as well as topics specific to plant biology such as evolution and diversity in plants, the major groups of the plant kingdom, and plant anatomy and physiology.

BIOL 222: Genetics (Spring)

(3 credits)
Variation and heredity in plants and animals, including man; relationships of genetical knowledge to evolution and breeding practices.

ENGL 180: Literature and the Natural World (Spring)

(3 credits) GH-Humanities Prereq: ENGL 15
This course is an introduction to literature that takes as its subject the natural world. Students will practice the methods of ecologically oriented literary analysis (eco-criticism) and they will learn to contextualize the major historical periods, movements, and arguments for the necessity of literature about the natural world as it intersects with environmental studies. The course can cover anything considered "literature," namely fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama.

ENVST 100N: Visions of Nature

(3 credits) GH-Humanities, GN-Natural Sciences, Interdomain
Students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary study of the environment with an overview of nature's role as subject matter in a variety of academic disciplines. Students will examine the formative value of nature in our cultural history, consider the role of nature in our current value systems and social and economic structure, and be introduced to the theory and practice of ecological science. Students should achieve a broad understanding of the value (not just economic) of living things and their habitats.

GEOG 260: Mapping (Fall)

(3 credits) GS-Social Behavioral Science
This course serves as an introduction to the computer mapping software known as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS concepts, theories, and applications will be explored and conveyed through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises. Students will perform lab exercises to become familiar with today’s most popular GIS software program, ArcGIS, produced and distributed by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). Students who complete this course will have the necessary training and understanding of GIS to enroll in the upper-level mapping course.

SCN 120N: Plants, Places, and People (Fall)

(3 credits) GN-Natural Sciences, GH–Humanities, Interdomain, US – United States Cultures, IL-International Cultures Requirement
Students learn about plants from the perspective of sustainability, agriculture, food, genetics, textiles, and medicine, across history and around the globe, after spending a few weeks learning about basic plant biology.

SOILS 101: Introductory Soil Science (Spring)

(3 credits) GN-Natural Sciences
A study of soil properties and processes and relationships to land use, plant growth, environmental quality, and society.

VBSC 211: The Immune System and Disease (Spring)

(3 credits) GN-Natural Sciences
Introduction to the immune system that emphasizes the immune response to infection and the consequences of a defective immune response.