Agricultural Education, Leadership, and Communications

Agricutural Education, Leadership, and Communications

The Agriculture Education, Leadership, and Communications major equips graduates with the ability to inform and engage people about agricultural information and issues. This is achieved through curriculum emphasizing practical knowledge and hands-on experiences in teaching, leadership, and communications, in addition to well-rounded, individualized coursework in agricultural topics. Agricultural Education, Leadership, and Communications (AELC) graduates may become involved in a variety of occupations in agricultural business and industry, education, production, extension, and communications.

AELC students will meet complex needs by becoming resilient educators, leaders, and communicators in agriculture. Students will:

  • Receive individualized academic and career guidance
  • Engage in professional development
  • Network with industry professionals
  • Assist faculty with cutting-edge research
  • Give back to the community through service projects
  • Develop lifelong friends through departmental and student organization involvement
  • Obtain a global perspective through international travel
  • Celebrate achievements through awards and recognition
  • Earn certifications
  • Complete an internship and obtain work experience in a related discipline

Our graduates are prepared to meet complex needs through teamwork, communication, collaboration, and professionalism.


Students may choose to complete a concentration in Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Leadership or Agricultural Teaching.

Agricultural Communications

The Agricultural Communications concentration develops students' abilities to communicate about agricultural and life sciences issues.

Agricultural Communications Curriculum

Agricultural Education

The Agricultural Education concentration prepares individuals seeking careers as an agricultural education teacher.

Agricultural Education Curriculum

Agricultural Leadership

The Agricultural Leadership concentration develops students' skills for employment with the Extension service or a variety of agricultural industry careers.

Agricultural Leadership Curriculum


Internships are designed to enhance the education of students through meaningful off-campus work experiences. An internship is an important part of the major in Agricultural Education, Leadership, and Communications major as it provides an opportunity for students to apply classroom learning to the work place. The goal of internships is to provide students with valuable professional growth and development opportunities that prepare them for rewarding careers. Successful internships not only complement academic progress, but also provide employers a preview of prospective candidates for employment. The Agricultural Education concentration requires two teaching internships, while Agricultural Leadership and Agricultural Communications require one internship. Students may receive course credit for internships. Download and complete the internship form to receive credit.

Job Outlook

  • Agricultural Communications: Employment of media and communication occupations is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, which will result in about 43,200 new jobs. Demand for media and communication occupations is expected to arise from the need to create, edit, translate, and disseminate information through a variety of different platforms. The median annual wage for media and communication occupations was $57,530 in May 2018. (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

  • Agricultural Leadership: A report released by the USDA shows tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. (USDA Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources and the Environment)

  • Agricultural Education: Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for high school teachers. The median annual wage for high school teachers was $60,320 in May 2018. (Occupational Outlook Handbook)


The Agricultural Education, Leadership, and Communications (AELC) minor is offered to allow students in other majors to develop leadership and human relation skills needed by new graduates entering the agriculture workforce. Students will enhance their communication, leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills to become effective employees in the agricultural workforce. Students must complete a minimum of 16 hours of AELC coursework from a list of approved courses.

Required courses 10
AELC 2413 - Orientation to Agricultural Education, Leadership & Communications
AELC 3803 - Foundations of Leadership in Agriculture and Life Sciences
AELC 4424 - Teaching Methods in Agricultural and Human Sciences
Electives (choose two of the following) 6
AELC 3333 - Professional Presentations in Agriculture and Life Sciences
AELC 4103 - Principles and Practices of Extension Education
AELC 4403 - Development of Youth Programs
AELC 4503 - International Agricultural Education
Total Hours 16


Students may apply for university, college and departmental scholarships through one application. You can find the scholarship application once you login to myState. Under the banner tab, select Financial Aid and Scholarships. The application is listed as Submit/Revise General Scholarship Application.

Student Organizations

Student organizations provide an excellent opportunity to network with professionals and peers. There are numerous organizations that are available through the Department and the University.

Study Abroad

The Office of Study Abroad (OSA) offers the students and faculty of Mississippi State University the opportunity to explore academic opportunities outside of the United States. Students have three options to study abroad: MSU Faculty led-programs, exchange programs, and affiliated provider company programs. Find out more at the MSU Office of Study Abroad.

Transfer Students

Students may transfer to Mississippi State University from regionally accredited community, junior or senior colleges for any period of enrollment, provided they have earned a 2.0 GPA (as computed by Mississippi State University) on all college courses attempted as well as earned a 2.0 GPA on the 30-hours of core courses. Transfer students should look at the transfer course equivalent guide to determine which courses will transfer.

Want to know more?

Bailey Poindexter | 662.325.7703