Hurricane Irene Crop Damage at Cottonwood Farm in Colchester, Vermont

Ecological Foundations of Agroecology

Identify and understand how to apply ecological strategies for the development of a sustainable agricultural system.

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Program Snapshot

Next Start Date

January 13, 2025

How Often

Spring, Fall



Learning Format


Online Learning Type



15 weeks

Time Commitment

6 hrs./wk.


Digital badge

VA Benefit Eligible







Unlock a Sustainable Future with Ecological Foundations of Agroecology

As we witness the devastating impacts of climate change and the staggering food security challenges, it’s clear that we need a sustainable and resilient agricultural system. Whether you are a farmer, an environmentalist, or a curious learner, the course “Ecological Foundations of Agroecology” offers you a vital opportunity to explore the intersection of ecological principles and agriculture practices.

Examines the ecological foundations of agroecology, largely from a biophysical perspective. Over the course of three sequential modules, students will explore the fundamental principles of ecology and their application to agricultural systems and landscapes. Students will be challenged to evaluate agricultural systems from an ecological perspective. By comparing and contrasting conventional and agroecological rationale and productions, students will identify and understand how to apply ecological strategies for the development of sustainable agricultural strategies.

Spring Term: January – May

Section Expectations: 

  1. Develop a baseline understanding of ecology and evolution and their application to agroecosystems
  2. Understand the ecological relationship(s) of agroecosystems to their surrounding ecosystems
  3. Establish an ecological framework for evaluating and managing agroecological practices
  4. Become familiar with some of the current agroecological practices for managing agroecosystems


Cost & Time

The tuition rate is $750 for all students and does not differ based on a student’s residency. You should anticipate dedicating 6 hours per week for 15 weeks to complete the course.

Career Outlook

What career opportunities are available with this certificate or what do graduates generally go on to do after completing the program?

For those taking the non-credit stand-alone course you may want to go on and further your education.  Career opportunities may be available if your employer has asked you to take this course to enhance your career. Jobs are regularly available in non-profits in agricultural development, both nationally and internationally. Examples of international organizations are Groundswell International, Heifer, the Agroecology program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, etc.


Identifying the most viable and sustainable ways to improve our agrifood system remains one of the most important challenges of our time. While there are no magic bullets, the field of Agroecology is a demonstrated, holistic approach that addresses the social, ecological and production challenges of current agrifood systems.

The field of agroecology is gaining influence in a diversity of academic, political and advocacy spaces worldwide. In 2014, for the first time in its history, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held an International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition. Agroecology has also received endorsement from La Via Campesina, and the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture was recently renamed as Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (Gliessman)—demonstrating that groups of peasant farmers, scientists, and international policy makers are each convinced of agroecology’s value and potential. This increased attention has brought with it a call for empirical research about the performance of agroecological practices and a demand for training in agroecological principles. In response to these demands, we have developed a rigorous and practical option that offers a foundation in agroecology, opportunities for research, and a design that makes it accessible to students, international audiences, and mid-career professionals.

Workload for this course, including readings and assignments typically amounts to 6-8 hours per week.

If you are a non-credit student seeking accessibility support, please email and the UVM Student Accessibility Services team will be able to assist. In your email, please include that you do not have a 95 number/NetID.

The program fee for non-credit students is $750.

Learn about options for discounts, grants, loans, scholarships, and more on our tuition and financial aid page.

To reserve your seat, you have the option of paying in full by credit card, or by making a minimum payment of $500 at registration. Note that the balance must be paid two weeks prior to the start of this offering and you will receive email reminders if you have a balance due. We do not offer payment plans for this program.

If you need to cancel your attendance for this course, you must notify us via email at at least three business days prior to the start date of the course to receive a full refund, less a $25 cancellation fee. If a medical condition necessitates cancellation/withdrawal (documentation to be provided), this will be reviewed by our Studies Committee for any type of refund.

Students who successfully complete the requirements for this course will receive a digital badge signifying they have achieved completion.

Course content is available via Brightspace online to facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and place among the cohort of students. This method of teaching design makes it accessible to students, international audiences, and mid-career professionals.

We hope you find this information helpful. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for, do not hesitate to contact the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative Team at