Below is a list of the the different project types that are acceptable at the SSTFI.

Note:  Team projects compete within one of the categories listed below with Individual projects.

Senior High

Animal Sciences

Study of animals –

  • Development
  • Ecology
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Pathology
  • Physiology
  • Population Genetics
  • Systematics
  • Other

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Human behavior, social and community relationships – 

  • Clinical & Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Other


  • General Biochemistry
  • Metabolism
  • Structural Biochemistry
  • Other

Cellular & Molecular Biology 

  • Cellular Biology
  • Cellular & Molecular Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Other


Study of nature and composition of matter and laws governing it – 

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Other

Computer Science

  • Algorithms, Data Bases
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Networking and Communications
  • Computational Science, Computer Graphics
  • Software Engineering, Programming Languages
  • Computer System, Operating System
  • Other

Earth & Planetary Sciences 

  • Climatology, Weather
  • Geochemistry, Mineralogy
  • Paleontology
  • Geophysics
  • Planetary Science
  • Tectonics
  • Other


Technology: projects that directly apply scientific principles to manufacturing and practical uses – bioengineering, civil, construction, chemical, industrial, processing, material science, electrical, computer, controls, mechanical, thermodynamics, solar, robotics, etc.

NOTE:  The SSTFI does not split out Engineering into two categories as ISEF does.

  • Bioengineering
  • Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Controls
  • Civil Engineering, Construction Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering, Processing
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Robotics
  • Thermodynamics, Solar
  • Other

Energy & Transportation

  • Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering, Aerodynamics
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Fossil Fuel Energy
  • Vehicle Development
  • Renewable Energies
  • Other

Environmental Sciences 

NOTE:  The SSTFI does not split out Environmental Sciences into two categories as ISEF does.

  • Air Pollution & Air Quality
  • Bioremediation
  • Ecosystems Management
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Land Resource Management, Forestry
  • Recycling, Waste Management
  • Soil Contamination and Soil Quality
  • Water Pollution and Water Quality
  • Other

Mathematical Sciences 

  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Geometry
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Other

Medicine and Health

Study of diseases and health of humans – 

  • Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology of Diseases
  • Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Other


Biology of microorganisms – 

  • Antibiotics, Antimicrobials
  • Bacteriology
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Virology
  • Other

Physics & Astronomy 

  • Atoms, Molecules, Solids
  • Astronomy
  • Biological Physics
  • Instrumentation and Electronics
  • Magnetics and Electromagnetics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Optics, Lasers, Masers
  • Theoretical Physics, Theoretical or Computational Astronomy
  • Other

Plant Sciences

Study of plant life – 

  • Agronomy
  • Development
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Physiology (Molecular, Cellular, Organismal)
  • Plant Systematics, Evolution
  • Other


Junior High

Biological Sciences

Biology is the science of life (from the Greek words bios = life and logos = reasoned account). It is concerned with the characteristics and behaviors of organisms, how species and individuals come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with their environment. Biology encompasses a broad spectrum of academic fields that are often viewed as independent disciplines. Together, they study life over a wide range of scales.

Examples: Animal Biology, Bacteriology, Behavioral & Social Science, Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Ecology, Entomology, Environment, Evolution, Genetics, Immunology, Marine Biology, Medicine & Health, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Mycology, Neuroscience, Paleontology, Parasitology, Physiology, Plant Biology, Virology, Zoology

Physical Sciences

Physical Sciences are concerned with understanding of the material universe and its phenomena.

Examples: Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Earth & Space Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and depending on the focus of the project Environmental Sciences.

Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair

FFA Agriscience Fair students will need to select both their SSTFI Category as listed here AND an FFA Agriscience Fair Category as listed on the FFA Agriscience Fair page and below.

There are divisions specific to the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair that you will be automatically assigned to by grade designation and project classification (individual or team).  These Divisions are:

Division I:  7-9 grade Individual Project

Division II:  10-12 grade Individual Project

Division III: 7-9 grade Team Project

Division IV: 10-12 grade Team Project


There are categories specific to the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair that you will be asked to select during on-line registration.  These categories are:

  • Animal Systems
  • Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems
  • Food Products and Processing Systems
  • Plant Systems
  • Power, Structural and Technical Systems
  • Social Systems

(see below for more specifics)


Animal Systems
-The study of animal systems, including life processes, health, nutrition, genetics, management and processing, through the study of small animals, aquaculture, livestock, dairy, horses and/or poultry.
  • Research new disease control mechanisms
  • Effects of estrous synchronization on ovulation
  • Compare effects of thawing temperatures on livestock semen
  • Effects of growth hormone on meat/milk production
Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems
-The study of systems, instruments and technology used in waste management; the study of the management of soil, water, wildlife, forests and air as natural resources and their influence on the environment.
  • Effect of agricultural chemicals on water quality
  • Effects of cropping practices on wildlife populations
  • Compare water movements through different soil typeS

Food Products and Processing Systems
-The study of product development, quality assurance, food safety, production, sales and service, regulation and compliance and food service within the food science industry.
  • Effects of packaging techniques on food spoilage rates
  • Resistance of organic fruits to common diseases
  • Determining chemical energy stored in foods
  • Control of molds on bakery products
Plant Systems
-The study of plant life cycles, classifications, functions, structures, reproduction, media and nutrients, as well as growth and cultural practices, through the study of crops, turf grass, trees and shrubs and/or ornamental plants.
  • Determine rates of transpiration in plants
  • Effects of heavy metals such as cadmium on edible plants
  • Compare GMO and conventional seed/plant growth under various conditions
  • Effects of lunar climate and soil condition on plant growth
  • Compare plant growth of hydroponics and conventional methods

Power, Structural and Technical Systems
-The study of agricultural equipment, power systems, alternative fuel sources and precision technology, as well as woodworking, metalworking, welding and project planning for agricultural structures.
  • Develop alternate energy source engines
  • Create minimum energy use structures
  • Compare properties of various alternative insulation products
  • Investigation of light/wind/water energy sources
Social Systems
-The study of human behavior and the interaction of individuals in and to society, including agricultural education, agribusiness economic, agricultural communication, agricultural leadership and other social science applications in agriculture, food and natural resources.
  • Investigate perceptions of community members towards alternative agricultural practices
  • Determine the impact of local/state/national safety programs upon accident rates in agricultural/natural resource occupations
  • Comparison of profitability of various agricultural/natural resource practices
  • Investigate the impact of significant historical figures on a local community
  • Determine the economical effects of local/state/national legislation impacting agricultural/natural resources