Freshmen and undecided majors can consider a future career in agricultural engineering, a program that began this fall at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.


Students who enroll in the new program will be trained to meet the demand for more efficient means of production in the agriculture industry.


“The addition of the new engineering program represents a fantastic opportunity for recent high school graduates with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) backgrounds,” said Sixte Ntamatungiro, interim chair of the UAPB Department of Agriculture.


“A degree in the field will open up students to a range of engaging career opportunities. The program will also increase recruitment and retention at UAPB,” Ntamatungiro said.


The agricultural engineering program is one of two new degree offerings at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS). The Department of Human Sciences will be offering a new program in hospitality and tourism management.


The program will be the first of its kind offered at a Historically Black College or University in Arkansas, he said. The only other agricultural engineering program in the state is offered through the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.


Students who enroll will be able to choose an option in power and machinery, agricultural production systems or soil and water systems.


The curriculum for the program includes courses on the design of agricultural structures, mechanics, agricultural electric and hydraulic power, irrigation and drainage systems, aquaculture engineering, food process engineering and two internships in agricultural engineering.


Graduates will be able to work as agricultural, sales or environmental engineers. They can also find jobs as environmental scientists and specialists or food scientists and technologists.


Ntamatungiro said the demand for engineers, including agricultural engineers, is growing in Arkansas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 there were 12,330 engineers employed in the state of Arkansas with the median salary of $69,540. Agricultural engineers also work as sales engineers (with a median pay $89,200), environmental engineers ($91,980), environmental scientists and specialists ($60,290) and food scientists and technologists ($83,100).


“The program will have a positive impact on the Arkansas and national economies as graduating students begin to apply their knowledge of engineering to agricultural problems related to power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation and the processing of agricultural products,” he said.


For more information on the agricultural engineering program at UAPB, contact Ntamatungiro at 870-575-7143 or ntamatungiros@uapb.edu.


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.


— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.