UW-River Falls is the only school in the state of Wisconsin to offer agricultural engineering technology as a major. Students earn a bachelor of science degree and within the major are three options - agricultural engineering technology, environmental engineering technology and mechanized systems management.
Compared to a professional engineering program, an engineering technology program focuses more on applied engineering principles. Graduates have a working knowledge of theory but the curriculum focuses on how to use existing technology to solve real world problems. Students spend a lot of time in the laboratory conducting exercises and experiments illustrating the theoretical principles discussed in lecture.
The agricultural engineering technology curriculum builds a sense of community for students by creating a student-centered learning environment where students construct knowledge by applying engineering principles and mentor one another in the process. This learning environment is built around projects enabling students to analyze problems in numerous classes, focusing on different aspects of the problem. All of this is encompassed in five broad areas - power and machinery, structures and environment, soil and water, food and processing engineering, and electronics and information systems.
Students also take supporting courses in the basic sciences - physics, math, chemistry and a selection of college foundation courses giving them a basic understanding of the animal and plant sciences and agribusiness.
Our curriculum is designed to enhance student learning by incorporating hands-on projects in most courses. This hands-on approach fits well into our philosophy that students learn while doing. Students have opportunities to:
• Produce, analyze and assess the use of biodiesel
• Press soybeans for oil and pellet production
• Program a PLC for automation
• Survey a field with a robotic total station
• Build a ¼ Scale Tractor
• Work with the newest Case IH technology and equipment.
Career opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are on the rise. More people are consuming more food and agricultural products, resulting in a greater need for trained professionals to design environmentally sound production systems. This means more jobs in service, sales, development and application of mechanical systems in agriculture and in protection and management of water, soil and air resources.
Starting salaries for agricultural engineering technology graduates are among the highest at UWRF, between $40,000 and $55,000. Job placement in Spring 2012 was 100 percent with many students securing jobs well before graduation and some receiving multiple job offers.