The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) of the University of Guelph is internationally renowned for its research, teaching and knowledge extension in the broad areas of food, agriculture, communities and the environment.
The OAC community includes 3,700 diploma, undergraduate and graduate students, 35,000 alumni, 140 faculty and 600 staff members. Our community also has a strong sense of shared purpose: To Improve Life by inspiring leaders, generating knowledge and creating innovative solutions for food, agriculture, communities and the environment.
Established in 1874, OAC is a founding college of the University of Guelph. Today, it includes two campuses located in Guelph, and Ridgetown, Ontario as well as a province-wide network of campuses, field stations and research facilities. It is comprised of six academic units:
- Department of Animal Biosciences
- Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
- Department of Food Science
- Department of Plant Agriculture
- School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
- School of Environmental Sciences
Our certificate, diploma, undergraduate and graduate programs focus on preparing students to become industry and policy leaders through a multi-disciplinary approach, with an emphasis on experiential learning. More than 3,000 students are enrolled in OAC's diploma, undergraduate and graduate programs led by award-winning faculty. OAC faculty and staff continually strive to improve the educational experiences of OAC students. OAC strengthens its programs through international opportunities including field courses, study aboard options and research abroad options. Professional development and skills training are provided through short courses, continuing education and distance education options.
OAC's research activities span a broad range of topics across our communities of interest, from food safety and biotechnology through international development and animal welfare. OAC hosts regional, national and international Research Centres and Institutes, and Canada Research Chairs. OAC comprises more than 40% of the research funding at the University of Guelph, totalling more than $50 million annually.
Under the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, OAC is a primary contributor in the delivery of research, education and laboratory services. This partnership boasts an annual economic impact that exceeds $1.15 billion. As part of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, OAC assists in the management of a province-wide network of 15 research stations.
Founded in 1951, it became a University of Guelph campus in 1997. The campus is 450 acres and located in the small town of Ridgetown, ON. The campus delivers certificate and associate diploma education and is utlized for agri-food research and graduate studies. For more information on the campus, visit the Ridgetown Campus website.
Our Four Areas of Focus
Environmental programs are wide-ranging, encompassing both natural and built environments in rural and urban settings. Broad research themes include biophysical research, environmental protection and improvement, resource economics, landscape architecture and regional planning. The landscape architecture and the planning programs are accredited by leading professional associations, both national and international. The School of Environmental Sciences, within OAC, focuses on a true integration of the life and physical sciences to address important environmental problems in forest, aquatic and agro-ecosystems.
Agriculture programs focus on the science and business of agriculture, from plant and animal biology and production techniques to business management and marketing. Our agricultural science research is ranked above all other universities in Canada for impact, and includes strengths such as breeding of soybeans corn, and specialty crops, and livestock nutrition. OAC is actively engaged in applying its established strengths in the areas of bioinformatics, plant and animal breeding, and genetics to the development of new, environmentally friendly solutions to meet industrial and societal needs. Other focus areas include urban agriculture, turf science, organic agriculture and animal welfare.
Food research programs are focused on food quality and safety, the development of value-added products, and innovative technologies for the manufacture of both traditional and new food products. OAC hosts the Advanced Food & Materials Network (a National Centre of Excellence), the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety and three Canada Research Chairs in the area of Food Science. Focus areas include improved technologies for food preservation, risk analysis and management, functional foods and nutraceuticals, and effective intervention strategies to improve food quality.
Programs are focused on improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of rural communities across Canada, including in Northern communities, and around the world. Priority areas are community empowerment, communication and development, and economic well-being. Community outreach programs in areas such as Russia, Bolivia, Brazil, India, Egypt, Ghana, Uganda, Senegal and Cameroon examine issues related to rural quality of life, agricultural extension practices, communication technology and distance education.