ontario agricultural college

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) conducts groundbreaking research that addresses current and emerging issues affecting communities worldwide. The College’s professors and students conduct research in a wide array of areas including 10 specialized research clusters: Applied Food Economics, Aquaculture Systems/Pisciculture, Avian Poultry & Rabbit Health, Crop Diversity/Sustainability, Field Crop Breeding, Food Biochemistry and Technology, Food Product Development and Manufacture, Food Quality and Safety Management, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, and Plant Breeding.

Ontario farmers increasingly demanded more information on the best farming techniques which led to farm magazines and agricultural fairs. In 1868 the assembly created an agricultural museum, which morphed into the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph in 1874.[1] Its first building was Moreton Lodge, located where Johnston Hall now stands, which included classrooms, residences, a library, and a dining room. (Several buildings constructed during this time period are still a part of campus life today, including President’s Residence, Raithby House, and Day Hall.)

The War Memorial Hall is a landmark building built in June 1924 as a lecture hall or theatre at the Ontario Agricultural College to honour students who had enlisted and died in the First World War, and in the Second World War. Two bronze tablets in the Memorial Chapel remembers alumni who have died during these wars.

Subsequently, the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) became one of three founding colleges of the University of Guelph in 1964. (The other two were the Ontario Veterinary College and the Macdonald Institute.)

The OAC opened on May 1, 1874, with an enrollment of 28 students. The OAC administration was housed in Moreton Lodge until 1931, when the building was torn down to make way for Johnston Hall. The OAC’s offices have resided in Johnston Hall ever since.


In 1997, the provincial government amalgamated agriculture education across the province under the University of Guelph and OAC. Three previous Colleges of Agricultural Technology were now being run by the University of Guelph and OAC: College d’Alfred, a francophone college in the eastern part of the province at Alfred, Ontario; Kemptville College, founded in 1917 and located at Kemptville, Ontario about 30 minutes south of Ottawa, and Ridgetown College at Ridgetown, Ontario founded in 1922 and located in southwestern Ontario near Chatham. In May 2007, they were renamed Campus d’Alfred, Kemptville Campus and Ridgetown Campus in order to recognize their full integration into the university.[1] Serious changes took place in 2015 with the decision to close some OAC campuses, including the Campus of Alfred, the only francophone campus. Financial reasons and the challenge to run the same programs in multiple locations were among the reasons leading to restructuring.[3]


The OAC offers a wide range of degree and diploma programs based on four main pillars: food, agriculture, environment, and rural communities.[4] The following degrees and diplomas are available under the OAC:

  • Associate Diploma
    • Agriculture
    • Environmental Management
    • Equine Care & Management
    • Horticulture
    • Turfgrass Management
    • Veterinary Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts
    • Food, Agriculture & Resource Economics
  • Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management
    • Equine Management
    • Environmental Management
    • Food Industry Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture
    • Animal Science
    • Crop, Horticultural, and Turfgrass Sciences
    • Honours Agricultural Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences
    • Environmental Sciences
    • Environmental Economics & Policy
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Commerce
    • Food and Agricultural Business
  • Bachelor of Science
    • Animal Biology
    • Environmental Biology
    • Food Science
    • Plant Science


Johnston Hall Clock Tower, University of Guelph

  • 1874 – The first class of 20 Ontario School of Agriculture diploma students are accepted.
  • 1877 – The one-year diploma program expanded to two years.
  • 1880 – School’s name changed to the Ontario Agricultural College.
  • 1887 – BSA degree program begins (University of Toronto awards the degrees from 1888 until 1964).
  • 1891 – Short courses offered to general public.
  • 1901 – Degree program adds a fourth year (still a U of T degree).
  • 1926 – Graduate program begins.
  • 1964 – Formation of the University of Guelph.
  • 1965 – The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture begins.
  • 1988 – Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Environmental Science programs begin.
  • 1995 – “Experience Agriculture” curriculum for B.Sc.(Agr) program begins.
  • 1997 – Agricultural colleges in Kemptville, Ridgetown and Alfred affiliate with OAC and the University of Guelph becoming campuses of the University of Guelph.
  • 2006 – The Faculty of Environmental Sciences is relocated permanently to the OAC.
  • 2007 – The Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management – Equine Management program begins.
  • 2008 – The Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre opens. The Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming opens on campus.
  • 2009 – The School of Environmental Sciences is formed by a merger of the departments of Environmental Biology and Land Resource Sciences, and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.
  • 2014 – The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation opens.
Administration Building, Ontario Agricultural College - Archeion

ontario agricultural college fee structure

Tuition Fees

Provincial Students:$5,263 – $11,012
Canadian Students:$5,263 – $11,012

Supplementary Fees 2022 – 2023

Cooperative Program Fees

NOTE: For co-op students. Charged during both academic and work semesters.

Student Organization Fees

NOTE: Only apply if registered in at least one on-campus course.

University Fees

NOTE: Only apply if registered in at least one on-campus course.

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