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Certificate in Agribusiness Fundamentals

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: Graduate-level certificate program in agribusiness fundamentals 

Agribusiness managers and employees must analyze, assess, and contribute to the ever-evolving, broadly-defined agribusiness industry by offering skills in management, marketing, economics, finance, and policy, plus critical thinking and problem-solving. They must have the skills necessary to contribute as employees or managers within the broad agribusiness industry, including the sectors of input supply, farm production, and output marketing.

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is now offering a graduate-level certificate program. The certificate will provide students with a solid foundation in modern management, marketing, finance, and policy tools needed to succeed in agribusiness and related fields. The emphasis is on foundational methods spanning production management, human resource management, market planning and analysis, financial analysis, and policy interpretation. The certificate prepares students with state-of-the-art skills in agricultural and applied economics and applied business management by relating those skills to the food and agribusiness sectors.


Students who complete this certificate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate management skills for effective interactions with coworkers or clients.
  • Develop a marketing plan for a product, service, or training.
  • Evaluate the impacts of micro- and macroeconomic conditions on the organization.
  • Analyze and interpret financial statements.
  • Estimate risk and cost of capital.
  • Apply risk management tools for strategic decision-making.
  • Assess the impacts of local, state, and federal policies on the organization’s operations.
  • Virginia Tech graduate students interested in adding expertise in agribusiness management, marketing, finance, and policy to that gained in their current degree program. 
  • Professionals who wish to gain more expertise for job knowledge and career enhancement.

Admission to Graduate School and completing a graduate certificate application are required for both degree- and non-degree-seeking students.

Degree-seeking applicants: The Graduate School requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or better for admission to Certificate Status.  Applicants with an undergraduate GPA < 3.0 may qualify for Commonwealth Campus admission. Students simultaneously pursuing a degree and a certificate are classified within their degree program.

Non-degree seeking applicants: A qualified person who wishes to enter Virginia Tech to obtain a graduate certificate may apply for graduate admission to the Graduate Certificate without being enrolled in a degree program. 

Time to complete: In most cases, the time to complete will be four semesters. Degree-seeking students may take courses in conjunction with their regular course load.

Non-degree-seeking, full-time students can complete the certificate in a minimum of three semesters. Non-degree-seeking, part-time students, taking one course per semester, can complete the certificate in four semesters.

A total of 12 credit hours are required. Transfer credits are not permitted.

Required Courses:

AAEC 5034 Agribusiness Marketing Policy and Business Strategies: Marketing tools needed to identify and solve the complexity of marketing food and agribusiness products. Contemporary trends, marketing strategies, and problems in the food and agribusiness sector. Pre: Understanding of introductory microeconomic theory. Pre:  Graduate Standing (3H, 3C)

AAEC 5054 Strategic Agribusiness Management: Application of economic theory to operational and strategic decision-making in agribusiness. Analysis and application of the functions of management. Problem recognition and economic analysis of supply chain, marketing, financial, production, and human resource decisions facing agribusiness firms. Assessment of the U.S. role in the international marketplace. Pre: Graduate standing (3H, 3C).

AAEC 5074 Agricultural and Food Policy: Policy issues related to trade, farm bills, natural resource preservation, and food, nutrition, and health. Global forces impacting U.S. policy. Stakeholder influence on the policy-making process. Policy impacts on stakeholders. Pre: Graduate Standing (3H, 3C).

AAEC 5424 Agribusiness Finance and Risk Management: Principles of corporate finance and risk management in agribusiness. Relate value to the different types of risks (systematic, specific, or sustainability-related) and apply management tools. Provide a holistic approach via case studies.  Pre: Graduate Standing (3H,3C)

Faculty Credentialing: The graduate certificate courses will be offered within the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, and the certificate program will be managed by the program director. All involved instructional faculty have graduate degrees in Agricultural and Applied Economics or closely related fields.

All courses are delivered online. Virginia Tech has advanced infrastructure and active support for online curricular delivery through Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS).



Current graduate students

CIP Code > 01.0102


Dixie Watts Dalton
Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and OMALS Agribusiness Concentration Coordinator