Certificate Programs

The curriculum in this certificate program is designed to provide students with an educational background in agricultural economics and agricultural business management. All courses are offered online.

Grow with our program

The Certificate in Agricultural Business Management is an educational credential conferred by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) at NC State University. The curriculum is designed to provide students with an educational background in agricultural economics and agricultural business management. All courses are offered distance or online, which means you do not have to come to campus. A certificate suitable for framing and an NC State transcript notating the graduation date are awarded to graduates upon completion of the program. Graduates are alumni of NC State University.

ARE is a leader in distance education and devoted to the success of its certificate programs. The courses taken by certificate students are some of the same courses and with some of the same teachers as the courses that are taken by on-campus students majoring in Agricultural Business Management. You can count on us to provide you with an outstanding education and attention to your educational and career needs.

Real-world business skills

The courses in the certificate programs are focused on real-world business skills that agribusiness managers need to know to be prepared for business ownership or to operate a business. Students learn how markets function and prices are determined, how profit is maximized, how to make purchase decisions, how to prepare budgets, and how to start and grow a business over time.

Elective courses in the program cover specialized skills.  Examples include how to market and sell products and services, how to keep financial records, how to incorporate an understanding of law into the making of business decisions, how to finance a business, how to operate within the framework of government policies, how to manage personnel, how to manage a farm, how to make ethical business decisions, and how to operate a business in our global economy.

Earn a competitive edge

Students enter the certificate programs for diverse reasons, each seeking values and benefits that will help them to grow or advance in some way. Some students enroll in the certificate program because they want to become more competitive in the job market. Some students enroll in the program because they want to earn college credit to transfer to a degree program. Others do so because they have acquired a job in agribusiness management or a related field but lack the preferred educational background or feel that they could improve their skill set.

The certificate is offered at three different levels

Students currently enrolled at NC State in degree programs are ineligible for the certificate program.

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Associate

The associate certificate is for students who are not currently enrolled in a college program or have not previously earned college credit.

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Baccalaureate

The baccalaureate certificate is for students currently enrolled in an associate or baccalaureate degree program or have previously earned college credit at the associate or baccalaureate levels.

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Post-Baccalaureate

The post-baccalaureate certificate is for students who have already earned a baccalaureate degree.

A certificate program tailored to your needs.

Students in the certificate program are assigned to a faculty member for academic advising. A total of five courses or 15 units of credit are required for the certificate. Only one or two particular courses, depending upon the certificate level, are specifically designated.

Choose the courses that are right for you.

Students choose the other three or four courses required from a list of electives. The extent and variety of elective courses offer students the opportunity to tailor the certificate to meet their educational or career needs and goals. For example, a student who is interested in recordkeeping might choose to take Small Business Accounting as an elective. Students should seek the help of their academic adviser to determine the courses that are best for them given their objectives.

Valuable Educational Credential

Associate Certificate Admission

Associate Certificate Admission Requirements and Policies

  • Candidates for this program are students who are not currently enrolled in a college program or have not previously earned college credit.  
  • The only admission requirement is applicants must have graduated from high school or completed the GED at least a year prior to applying for admission.
  • A minimum grade of C- is required for courses to be counted in the curriculum and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (C average) based on all courses taken is required for graduation.  
  • Courses must be taken for credit (for a letter grade such as A or B) and not for credit-only (for satisfactory or unsatisfactory).  
  • Students are allowed up to 4 years to complete the program.

 

Associate Certificate Curriculum

The following two courses are required:

1)    ARE 201A – Introduction to Agricultural and Resource Economics (3 credit units)

2)    ARE 104 – Agricultural Business Management (3 credit units)

Students select 3 courses from the following list of elective courses:

  • ARE 106 – Agri Business Law (3 credit units)
  • ARE 112 – Agricultural & Agribusiness Marketing OR
  • ARE 113 – Principles of Salesmanship (3 credit units)
  • ARE 115 – Agribusiness Accounting (3 credit units) 
  • ARE 132 – Management of Personnel (3 credit units)
  • ARE 133 – Agricultural & Environmental Policy (3 credit units)

Total Units Required = 15 credits

 

Associate Certificate Course Descriptions

Brief descriptions of the courses that are offered in the associate certificate program are as follows. Course syllabi will be provided upon requests. Questions about the courses will be directed to the teachers. Please inquire if you have any questions.

This course introduces students to the economic principles that govern society. Discussions center around the trade-offs people and businesses face, making decisions where part of the selection process is putting a value on those options not chosen, how markets work, how prices and quantities are determined, when it is appropriate to engage in international trade, a look at the different types of market structures and how they affect the decisions business managers can make, the economics of employment decisions, the results of government intervening in the marketplace, and the trade-offs between inflation and unemployment.
This course gives student insights into the management skills of a successful agribusiness manager.  Skills students practice in this course include the process of creating various types of budgets, analyzing simple credit applications for potential customers of a business, making employment decisions, determining appropriate levels of inventory, and managing logistics to achieve operational goals.
This course teaches students how to apply legal principles to everyday decisions that impact agricultural operations. The course includes a review of our legal system, nuisance, trespass, contracts, property ownership, estate planning and business entities, and other topics that impact agribusiness.
This course teaches students how to analyze the marketing environment and how to develop marketing objectives. Students become familiar with strategic planning, marketing information sources, consumer demographics and lifestyle characteristics, product planning, distribution planning, promotion planning, and price planning.
This course is a “How To” course in selling. Topics include understanding customers’ behavior, establishing and maintaining customer relationships, negotiating a sale, and following up after sales. Students develop sales skills through discussion, role playing, and demonstrations. Emphasis is placed on building self-confidence through selling exercises involving class participation, special assignments, and targeted presentations.
This course teaches students how to keep the financial records for a small business. Students learn to use financial journals and ledgers, how to prepare income statements and balance sheets, and how to calculate accounting depreciation, cost basis, and payroll. Course materials are representative of the real financial records that agribusiness managers might be expected to keep or interpret and understand. Numerous class problems or exercises are provided to help students develop their recordkeeping skills through hands-on practice and repetition.

Students learn how to manage the human resources in an agribusiness.  Presentations about laws and candidate selection techniques will provide business owners the know how to obtain the best labor while navigating a litigious environment. Methods for employee development along with approaches toward performance management and compensation will prepare students to on-board and develop new employees.  Maximizing employee contributions through proper motivation and leadership is covered.

This course examines selected topics in agricultural and environmental policy. Topics include the Farm Bill, agricultural risk management, conservation, climate change, food waste, water pollution, economic and urban development, and population growth. Emphasis is placed on policy topics currently in the news and impending changes in policies. Course materials consist of recent articles about the topics examined and lecture notes provided by the instructor.

Only 15 units of credit required

A total of five courses or 15 units of credit are required for the certificate.

Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Admission

Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Admission Requirements and Academic Policies

  • The baccalaureate certificate is for students currently enrolled in an associate or baccalaureate degree program or have previously earned college credit at the associate or baccalaureate levels but have not earned a baccalaureate degree.  
  • The only admission requirement for the baccalaureate certificate is applicants have to present documentation that they are currently enrolled in a degree program or a transcript showing that they have earned college credit at either the associate or baccalaureate levels (completion of an associate or baccalaureate degree is not required).
  • The post-baccalaureate certificate is for students who have already earned a baccalaureate degree.
  • The only admission requirement for the post-baccalaureate certificate is applicants have to present a transcript notating that they have earned a baccalaureate degree.
  • A minimum grade of C- is required for courses to be counted in the curriculum and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (C average) based on all courses taken is required for graduation.  
  • Courses must be taken for credit (for a letter grade such as A or B) and not for credit-only (for satisfactory or unsatisfactory).  
  • Students are allowed up to 4 years to complete the program.

 

Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Certificates Curriculum

  • The curricula required and the elective courses available are the same for the baccalaureate and the post-baccalaureate certificates.  
  • The only differences between the two programs are the admission requirements and the level of the certificate that is awarded for completion of the programs.

The following course is required:

  • ARE 201 – Introduction to Agricultural and Resource Economics (3 credit units)

Students select 4 courses from the following list of elective courses:

  • ARE 215 – Small Business Accounting (3 credit units)
  • ARE 303 – Farm Management OR ARE 304 – Agribusiness Management (3 credit units)
  • ARE 306 – Agricultural Law OR ARE 309 – Environmental Law & Economic Policy (3 credit units)
  • ARE 312 – Agribusiness Marketing (3 credit units)
  • ARE 323 – Agribusiness Finance (3 credit units)
  • ARE 332 – Human Resource Management for Agribusiness (3 credit units)
  • ARE 345 – Global Agribusiness Management (3 credit units)
  • ARE 444 – Ethics in Agribusiness (3 credit units)

Total Units Required = 15 credits

Baccalaureate and Post-Baccalaureate Certificates Course Descriptions

Brief descriptions of the courses that are offered in the baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate certificate programs are as follows.  Course syllabi will be provided upon requests.  Questions about the courses will be directed to the teachers.  Please inquire if you have any questions.


Students will apply the economic way of thinking to current events and current policy problems. The course will provide a broad perspective on the role of value, costs and prices. The early part of the course will use microeconomics to cover economic decision-making by individuals and businesses. We will analyze how price is determined in markets as well as investigate the benefits and costs of international trade. The later part of the course focuses on macroeconomic analysis including inflation, unemployment, the Federal Reserve, and fiscal policy. Questions examined include, How do we determine whether producers and consumers are better off following a policy change? If I raise the price of my product, why doesn’t my total revenue always increase? What happens when markets fail?
Why do we trade with other countries? How does a tax cut affect the economy? Why would we ever want higher interest rates?

This course teaches students how to keep the financial records for a small business. Students learn how to use financial journals and ledgers, how to prepare income statements and balance sheets, and how to calculate accounting depreciation, cost basis, and payroll. In addition, students study financial ratios, cash flow analysis, and selected tax topics. Course materials are representative of the real financial records that agribusiness managers might be expected to keep or interpret and understand. Numerous class problems or exercises are provided to help students develop their recordkeeping skills through hands-on practice and repetition.

Students will explore practical application of economic and management principles relative to farm business management. They will learn how to construct financial statements such as a balance sheet and income statement. Additional tools to aid management decisions such as a partial budget will be learned as well. At the end of the course, students should have an appreciation of various management concepts and strategies to incorporate into the management of farms.

Students learn valuable insights into the management skills of a successful agribusiness manager. Case studies covering a wide variety of business topics are used to create, improve or enhance analytical skills and to apply sound managerial solutions to business challenges. Skills students practice in this course include achieving appropriate results in the creation of a variety of budgets, creating mission statements and goals for a business, analyzing credit reports and making decisions about credit applications for potential customers, making employment decisions, monitoring and controlling inventory, and managing logistics to achieve operational goals.

Students will learn how to apply legal principles of practical importance in an agricultural setting. The course includes a review of our legal system, nuisance and trespass, contract, real and personal property law and legal aspects of organizing an agribusiness. Practical experience will be gained studying court decisions and through the use of legal documents associated with owning and operating a farming operation.

Students will learn how to recognize common environmental compliance problems that those with careers in agriculture, engineering and science, and business must know. This survey course covers the most commonly encountered areas of Federal environmental regulation, State and local regulations, State common law, and principles of federalism as applied to environmental regulation. Practical experience will be gained studying court decisions and using public records to detect environmental concerns with a selected parcel of real property.

Students learn how to explain the reason that marketing is vital in the modern age, how to define the Economics underlying both marketing and sales, how to compare and contrast the differences between marketing and sales, how to apply the difference between product features and product benefits, and how to accurately explain the important concept of positioning including examples.

Students learn how to explain the specific functions of finance, as differentiated from other disciplines, how to interpret financial statements, and how to manipulate basic financial statements for an agribusiness.

Students learn how to manage the human resources in a small business.  Presentations about laws and candidate selection techniques will provide business owners the know how to obtain the best labor while navigating a litigious environment.  Methods for employee development along with approaches toward performance management will prepare students to train and retain employees.  Maximizing employee contributions through proper motivation, leadership, and change management is covered.

Students learn how to define, compare and contrast major global regions for US and NC exports, how to understand different food preferences and tastes across major regions, how to learn the economics underlying export and marketing of agribusiness products, and how to discuss political and legal systems and how they differ in regard to business.

Students learn how to describe the Economics underlying conflict between individual and societal objectives, how to explain the constructs of several prevailing ethical systems, how to define ethics, and explain different opinions regarding general ethical issues, how to address several key ethical issues confronting agribusiness, how to answer whether ethics may be enforced or encouraged by law, and how to formulate, accurately communicate, and defend student’s own opinions.

Real-world business skills

These courses are focused on real-world business skills that managers need to know to be prepared for business ownership or to operate a business in agriculture.

Time well invested

The number of units or credits required for a certificate is 15 units or 5 courses for the associate, baccalaureate, and post-baccalaureate programs. You would not take more than 2 courses per semester so it would take you at least 3 semesters to complete the program requirements. Courses are offered during the fall semester (16 weeks duration), spring semester (16 weeks duration), summer I session (5 weeks duration), and the summer II session (5 weeks duration). If you planned ahead, you could select courses so that you could graduate in less than one year.

Students who start the program during the fall semester in August could graduate at the end of the summer I session in June. Students who start the program during the spring semester in January could graduate at the end of the second summer session in July. Students can also start the program during either summer session. Students are allowed up to 4 years to complete the program.

Tuition and Fees

Certificate students are billed at the standard rate for undergraduate online and distance education students. Residents of North Carolina pay a lower tuition rate than nonresidents. Out of state students and international students pay the nonresident rate. Keep in mind that one course is equivalent to 3 hours of credit when you look up tuition cost in the table. For example, if you take one course, you would pay for 3 hours; you would pay for 6 hours if you take two courses. Scholarships and tuition waivers are not available.

Find out more information on tuition and fees.

Completing assignments, tests and exams

The teachers of the courses determine the procedures that you have to follow for graded assignments. You might follow different procedures during a course for different graded assignments.

You may be required to:

  1. Complete graded assignments by logging into a web page from any computer to access the assignment. 
  2. Go to a proctoring center in your community to complete a graded assignment so that your identity can be established by photo identification. 
  3. Email a graded assignment to the teacher.  

You may be given a maximum amount of time to complete a graded assignment once you start, such as one hour. You may be allowed to work at your pace on a graded assignment as long as you meet the deadline, such as you might be allowed 3 days to work on and submit a graded assignment. You may be allowed a period of time to schedule a graded assignment, such as you might be allowed 3 days to schedule and take a 1 hour test.

Whatever the procedures followed by teachers, you will not be required to come to campus to complete graded assignments.

A remote proctor in your community could be screened and obtained by NC State, even if you are outside of the United States.  You would be responsible though for any fee that you might be charged by a proctoring center.  You should contact the teachers if you have questions about the procedures that they require in their courses for graded assignments.

Apply for admission

The steps that you should follow to apply to the certificate program are given below. Make sure that you meet admission deadlines. Find dates for when applications are opened and when applications are closed.

Contact Dr. John S. Russ, ARE Director of Distance Education, by email at russ@ncsu.edu if you have questions about how to apply.

10 easy steps to apply for admission

  1. Determine the certificate level (associate, baccalaureate, or post-baccalaureate).
  2. Be aware of the dates when admission applications are opened and when applications close.
  3. Determine if you qualify for resident or non-resident tuition rates.
  4. Complete the North Carolina Residency Determination Service (RDS) form if you think you qualify for resident tuition rates. You have to complete that form to obtain your Residency Certification Number (RCN) number that is required on your admission application. You must complete this step before you apply if you want to pay resident tuition rates.
  5. Complete the International Clearance for Non-Degree Studies Students if you are an international student.
  6. Complete the Admission Application for Non-Degree Studies – Online and Distance Education to apply for admission to NC State. You should apply as a non-degree seeking student (NDS).
  7. Email Dr. Russ at russ@ncsu.edu to let him know that you have applied for admission. Include your phone number in case he needs to call you about the certificate program. International students should include a Skype id.
  8. Have your high school transcript sent to Dr. Russ if you are applying to the associate certificate program. For the baccalaureate program, have documentation that you are currently enrolled in a degree program at the associate or baccalaureate levels or a college transcript showing that you have earned college credit sent to Dr. Russ (you don’t have to be currently enrolled in a degree program if you have earned any college credit). For the post-baccalaureate program, have your transcript notating that you have earned a baccalaureate degree sent to Dr. Russ. See Contact information below for Dr. Russ’s postal address. Dr. Russ will notify you by email upon his receipt of your transcript(s).
  9. Complete the Certificate Program Admission Application after you are notified of your admission to NC State. You have to wait until then because the certificate program admission application requires your student id number that is not issued until you are admitted to NC State. Here are the links for the certificate applications: Associate, Baccalaureate, and Post-Baccalaureate. Email your completed allocation to Dr. Russ at russ@ncsu.edu. Dr. Russ will notify you by email upon his receipt of your application.
  10. Email Dr. Russ at russ@ncsu.edu to notify him that you have completed the steps required for admission.

Register for courses

Dr. Russ will schedule a time for you to discuss your educational and career plans with him after you notify him that you have completed the steps required for admission. He will communicate with you by email, phone, or Skype. Dr. Russ needs to talk with you about why you chose to enroll in the certificate program, about your value expectations of the certificate, and about your desired timeframe for graduating. He needs that information in order to advise you. He will then be able to recommend courses for you based upon your situation and expectations. He will also help you to develop a plan for you to graduate as soon as possible or at your desired speed.

You will not be able to register for courses until you communicate with Dr. Russ about your educational plans.  While you should contact Dr. Russ as soon as you complete the 10 steps for applying, you don’t have to worry that you will not be able to add a course because it might fill before you can register. That is because Dr. Russ can add you to closed courses.

Contact

Dr. Russ is the Director of Distance Education for the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.  He is the main contact for any questions that you might have about the certificate programs in Agricultural Business Management.

Contact Information

Contact Dr. Russ

(919) 515-4677
russ@ncsu.edu

Physical Office Address
Room 3346 Nelson Hall

Postal Address

Dr. John S. Russ
Box 8109
NC State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695