Certificate in Organic Agriculture

‘Going Organic’ just got academic


How to grow and process organic food and fiber


From farm gate to your plate


Regulation, governance, and rule-making from Dane Co. to DC


As consumer, industry, and society engagement with organic agriculture expands, the Certificate in Organic Agriculture provides undergraduate students excellent opportunities for learning on a variety of levels, including hands-on experiences. While the certificate focuses on the production and processing approaches that define organic agriculture, students can also explore other dimensions including economic, environmental, health, food systems, and policy.  This interdisciplinary certificate can help UW students from various majors to develop employment opportunities in organic agriculture businesses (farm to fork), policy, public and non-governmental agency work, individual wellness and health initiatives, and sustainable development efforts.

How to get in

University of Wisconsin – Madison undergraduate students of any major are welcome to pursue the Certificate in Organic Agriculture.  Students are eligible to declare the certificate once they complete AGROECOL/​AGRONOMY/​C&E SOC/​ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  103 Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture with a grade of B or better.  

Students who meet the eligibility criteria must contact the Certificate Advisor to declare the certificate and be assigned an adviser. Students are encouraged to meet with the Certificate Advisor at any stage of their interest in the certificate.

Students cannot declare the Certificate in Environmental Studies or Certificate in Food Systems and the Certificate in Organic Agriculture. 


  • Minimum of 15 credits and successful completion of all course requirements
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in certificate coursework is required
  • Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail option will not count toward completion of requirements.


Advising is an essential resource for students in the Certificate for Organic Agriculture and helps students shape their unique Wisconsin Experience and career path by making the most of their time at UW-Madison.  Advisors can help students make well-informed decisions about coursework and academics, share strategies for success, support them as they encounter challenges, connect them to resources, and provide information about campus policies and procedures. Students are encouraged to regularly meet with their advisor to help ensure that they are aware of opportunities and progressing in their academic and career goals.

Advising is typically done through individual in-person appointments, but advisors are also able to meet with students over the phone or through video conferencing if needed.  Quick questions can be answered via email, but an appointment should be scheduled if a conversation is needed. 

Certificate in organic agriculture ADVISOR:

Katie Peterman at peterman2@wisc.edu


The knowledge and skills developed through the Certificate in Organic Agriculture equips students for success in a range of career paths.  Some certificate graduates may use this background to go into organic production, while others may choose a career path in relation to economics, policy, environmental stewardship, health, food systems, and beyond. This certificate has the potential to positively impact the employability of UW students across a variety of disciplines that intersect with organic agricultural production, policy, marketing, business, management, wellness, and community development.

Because an interest in organic agriculture can lead to many different careers, students are encouraged to begin the career exploration process early in their UW-Madison journey by working with advisors, faculty, and career resources on campus.  These resources can help students reflect on their values and goals, identify career paths, and outline strategies for pursuing their goals.



Brad Barham (Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics) 

Julie Dawson (Associate Professor, Horticulture)

Shelby Ellison, (Assistant Professor, Horticulture)

Alfonso Morales (Professor, Urban and Regional Planning)

Erin Silva (Associate Professor, Plant Pathology)

Shawn Steffan (Associate Professor, Entomology)

Bill Tracy (Professor, Agronomy)

Steve Ventura (Professor emeritus, Soil Science)

Michel Wattiaux (Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences)



Katie Peterman (Program Manager, Organic Certificate, Plant Pathology)

Wisconsin Experience


Students who are engaged in the Certificate in Organic Agriculture can be involved in an array of opportunities across campus.  In addition to the hands-on experiences in the Certificate program, students are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with out-of-classroom experiences such as research, volunteering, and study abroad.


The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in organic agriculture, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning:

  • Association of Women in Agriculture (https://awamadison.org/)
  • GreenHouse (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/residence-halls/learning-communities/greenhouse/)
  • Women in Science and Engineering (https://www.housing.wisc.edu/residence-halls/learning-communities/wise/)
  • FH King (https://www.fhking.org/)
  • SlowFoodUW (https://slowfood-uw.org/)
  • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences – MANRRS (https://www.manrrs.org/)
  • UW Horticulture Society (https://horticulture.wisc.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/uw-horticulture-society/)
  • Collegiate Future Farmers of America – FFA, UW chapter (https://biology.wisc.edu/program/collegiate-ffa-uw-madison-chapter-cffa)
  • CALS Study Abroad (https://cals.wisc.edu/academics/undergraduate-students/studyabroad/)
  • Badger Volunteers (https://morgridge.wisc.edu/students/badger-volunteers/)

Resources and Scholarships

Students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences receive more than $1.25 million in scholarships annually. Learn more about college scholarships at https://cals.wisc.edu/academics/undergraduate-students/financing-your-education/cals-scholarships/


Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture



Introduction to Organic Agriculture: Production, Markets, and Policy


HORT 372

Colloquium in Organic Agriculture



Independent Study in Organic Agriculture





Complete 6 credits from the following list – courses can be chosen from any topic area

Public Policy & Administration

A A E/​ENVIR ST  244

The Environment and the Global Economy

A A E 319

The International Agricultural Economy


Food Laws and Regulations


Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy


Evidence-Based Policy Making


Analytic Tools for Public Policy


A A E 215

 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics

A A E 320

Farming Systems Management

A A E 323

Cooperatives and Alternative Forms of Enterprise Ownership


Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors

or GEN BUS 311

Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors


Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management

ENVIR ST/​M H R  310

Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability


Environmental Economics


Food Service Operations

M H R 322

Introduction to Entrepreneurial Management

M H R 434

Venture Creation

Organic Production & Processing


Cropping Systems


Forage Management and Utilization


Plant Breeding and Biotechnology


Global Food Production and Health

BSE 349

Quantitative Techniques for Biological Systems


Food Production Systems and Sustainability


Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development


Principles of Economic Entomology

HORT 334

Greenhouse Cultivation

HORT 335

Greenhouse Cultivation Lab

HORT 345

Fruit Crop Production


Tropical Horticultural Systems


Introduction to Plant Pathology


Plant Microbiomes


Soil Biology


Diagnosing and Monitoring Pest and Nutrient Status of Field Crops


Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management


Plant Nutrition Management

Social Dimension

C&E SOC/​SOC  222

Food, Culture, and Society

C&E SOC/​A A E/​SOC  340

Issues in Food Systems

C&E SOC/​SOC  341

Labor in Global Food Systems


Environmental Conservation


Global Environmental Issues


People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems

HORT 380

Indigenous Foodways: Food and Seed Sovereignty

Total Credits



Katie Peterman

Katie Peterman

Certificate Advisor

Join a team of world-class (and fun!) professors, organic luminaries, and fellow students as you launch into this innovative industry.


 Room 593A Russell Labs

1630 Linden Dr.

Madison, WI 53706

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