The UW-Madison’s Farm & Industry Short Course, an alternative to a four-year degree program, prepares you for an exciting career in agriculture. In only 16 weeks, you can learn to operate your own farm, run an agricultural business, or work in the agribusiness sector.

Is this program right for you?

The Farm & Industry Short Course (FISC) is short-term, hands-on education for people who want to develop or expand the skills needed to work in production agriculture. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has offered the program for over a century and provided opportunities for generations of farmers like you to expand their career options. The credits you earn are eligible for transfer to many four-year universities.


Classes begin in late fall and end in early spring—timed to coordinate with the nongrowing season in the Midwest and with the UW-Madison academic calendar. In just 16 weeks, you earn a certificate in Foundations of Farm and Agribusiness Management. Curriculum includes courses in soils, crops, dairy, meat animals, agricultural engineering, farm business planning, agribusiness, human relations, and communications—expertise you need, no matter where you work.


Return for an optional second year to earn a specialty certificate in one of the following areas: dairy farm management; diversified agricultural operations; farm and equipment operations; management of crops and soils; or meat animal farm management.


As a participant in FISC, you will enjoy all the benefits of being a UW-Madison student, and you are encouraged to participate in campus groups, committees, and clubs—as well as athletic, social, and alumni events. You also are invited to career fairs, employer presentations, and other opportunities to explore the possibilities for your farming future. Students may also elect to live in FISC residence halls on campus.


What you Learn

  • Gain research-based knowledge and hands-on skills needed to manage or work in farming and related agribusiness
  • Connect with experts in the farming industry and the Wisconsin family farming community
  • Develop social, communication, and leadership abilities related to agricultural operations
  • Obtain career advising and access to internships and employment information

Where & How you learn


  • Face-to-face classroom instruction on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus


  • Take courses full-time to earn your certificate in 16 weeks; option to return for a second-year certificate and more in-depth learning
  • Attend lectures and lab instruction
  • Participate in out-of-classroom experiences at farms and businesses

Apply Now

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply to the program. Eligibility criteria are subject to change; learn more about for current requirements. FISC Admissions uses a holistic approach considering the following criteria to make admissions decisions:

Domestic Students

  • High school diploma or GED (required)
  • Involvement in agriculture-related activities
  • Academic Record
  • Personal and professional goals
  • Rank in the upper 80% of graduating class*

International Students
In addition to the criteria above, the following also apply to international students. The following eligibility requirements are set forth by the guidelines for the F-1 VISA as well as by the FISC office and UW campus:

  • Minimum of five years of prior, agriculture-related work experience acquired outside of the United States, AND
  • Minimum of a 2.0 Cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale, AND
  • Proficiency in the English language, as demonstrated by a TOEFL score of 550 or higher or IELTS score of 7 or higher OR proof that your most recent four years of education were taught primarily in the English language, AND
  • Proof of funding

*There is no foreign language or ACT/SAT requirement. Returning adult students will receive special consideration.

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