Online Master of Science in Agronomy

Field Day
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture offers a complete online M.S. in Agronomy degree program designed for today's working agribusiness professionals and individuals seeking careers in agribusiness-related fields.

 

About

Agronomy is the application of plant and soil science to crop production and includes the study of plant breeding, genetics, biotechnology, molecular biology, physiology, biochemistry, weed control and crop management.

Students may choose from either a thesis-based (Option I) or non-thesis-based (Option II with a project) M.S. in Agronomy degree program. Both options allow students maximum flexibility in selecting coursework that meets their career goals and interests. They can both be completed online.

Masters of Agronomy students can also choose between a variety of specializations. A specialization is a well-defined area of study that has been approved by the Graduate Council and will appear on a student's transcript along with their degree and major. Specializations are optional in most programs.

Specialization Options:

  • Crop Physiology and Production
  • Environmental Studies
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • Range and Forage Sciences
  • Weed Science

Students in the M.S. in Agronomy program can also receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through the Certified Crop Adviser program. For more information on CEUs, visit the Certified Crop Adviser website or, once you have completed applicable courses, please contact Kathy Schindler, administrative assistant, kschindler1@unl.edu, 402.472.1730, who can help you register for your CEUs.

More information about being a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agronomy & Horticulture may be found on our prospective graduate student webpage or our current graduate student webpage.

Option I (Thesis)

The Option I thesis program requires completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours, consisting of 20 to 24 hours of graduate coursework, and a thesis of 6 to 10 hours. A minimum of 15 hours, to include the thesis, must be taken in agronomy. The remaining 15 hours may be in supporting courses or in a minor consisting of at least 9 hours. Up to 15 hours of approved graduate coursework from other institutions may be applied to the Option I program at UNL.

Admission Requirements*

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in agronomy or a closely related field, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Successful completion of the following prerequisites:
  • One semester calculus
  • One semester chemistry
  • One semester physics (excluding soil physics)
  • Two semesters biological sciences
  • An additional semester of either physics or chemistry

The above requirements can be met by having satisfactorily completed the courses, having taken equivalent courses, testing out of the courses, exceeding the entry level requirements of the undergraduate degree institution and having these courses waived, or by taking the deficient courses early in the graduate program.

*Applicants with more than two deficiencies will not be reviewed for admission. It is recommended that you enroll in appropriate courses to remove deficiencies, and then reapply.

How to Apply

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture through GAMES

After you submit your online application for Graduate Admission, please allow one business day for us to establish your access to our application system, GAMES, where you will submit the following items that are required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture:

  1. Resume or curriculum vita
  2. Statement of interest and goals
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. The GRE is not required by the department; however, individual faculty members may request it.

Deadline

There are no set deadlines for submitting applications; they are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option

Students may be allowed to enroll in courses before being admitted to the certificate program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate.

Option II (Non-thesis with a minor)

The Option II non-thesis program requires completion of at least 36 credit hours of graduate-level coursework. The department requests that 1-6 credit hours are devoted to the master's project which takes the place of the usual master's thesis. The project should be an example of your best professional work.

The program requires selection of one or two formal minors of 9 credit hours each. If one minor is selected, students must complete a minimum of 18 hours in agronomy courses; while a minimum of 15 hours in agronomy courses is required if two minors are selected. Up to 18 hours of approved graduate coursework from other institutions may be applied to the Option II program at UNL.

All degree requirements for the Option II program, including presentation of the master's project, can be completed at a distance; and students are not required to visit the UNL campus at any time. The master's project should be representative of the student's best professional work. Because this is a non-thesis program, it is considered a terminal degree in that it does not prepare students to matriculate directly into a doctoral program.

Examples of what students have done for their Option II M.S. in Agronomy project:

  • Analyzed field studies
  • Developed lesson plans
  • Wrote an extensive, term paper
  • Developed assessment tools to measure learning
  • Created animations on subject matter covered in their coursework
  • Adapted already-completed research for a new purpose

Admission Requirements*

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in agronomy or a closely related field, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Minimum of one college semester in each of the following areas:
  • Plant production or plant system management
  • Soil science
  • Biological science
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra

The above requirements can be met by having satisfactorily completed the courses, having taken equivalent courses, testing out of the courses, exceeding the entry level requirements of the undergraduate degree institution and having these courses waived, or by taking the deficient courses early in the graduate program.

*Applicants with more than two deficiencies will not be reviewed for admission. It is recommended that you enroll in appropriate courses to remove deficiencies, and then reapply.  Applicants with a Grade Point Average (GPA) less than 3.0 should take classes to improve their GPA.  These classes may fulfill undergraduate deficiencies or they may be graduate-level classes.

How to Apply

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture through GAMES

After you submit your online application for Graduate Admission, please allow one business day for us to establish your access to our application system, GAMES, where you will submit the following items that are required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture:

  1. Resume or curriculum vita
  2. Statement of interest and goals
  3. Three letters of recommendation.  Letters may be addressed to UNL Agronomy & Horticulture Graduate Committee Chair, 279 Plant Sciences Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915.
  4. A GRE score is not required by the department; however, individual faculty may request a test score.

Deadline

There are no set deadlines for submitting applications; they are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option

Students may be allowed to enroll in courses before being admitted to the certificate program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate.

Courses

The Option I thesis program requires completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours, consisting of 20 to 24 hours of graduate coursework, and a thesis of 6 to 10 hours. A minimum of 15 hours, to include the thesis, must be taken in agronomy topic areas.

The Option II non-thesis program requires completion of at least 36 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, of which up to 6 hours can be devoted to the master's project. The program requires selection of one or two formal minors of 9 credit hours each. If one minor is selected, students must complete a minimum of 18 hours in agronomy courses; while a minimum of 15 hours in agronomy courses is required if two minors are selected.  Attached is a checklist for M.S. Option II for distance students.

Each student should work with their faculty advisor to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through their program.  Here are a couple of  MOC examples:  Example 1 and Example 2.

Course Delivery

Through our online course system, students can: submit assignments and projects; access course syllabi, announcements, grades, and exams; and communicate with instructors and students via announcements, discussion boards and real-time chats.

Our online courses are a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous classes.  We use two virtual communities: Blackboard and the Plant & Soil Science eLibrary (click for directions on the eLibrary). For the most part, students simply access the materials at their convenience.

The only equipment required to access most of the courses are quality internet access and access to email.

Details on course requirements and how the courses are conducted are explained on each individual course webpage.  Follow the individual course links below to learn more about course delivery requirements for each course.

For a more complete listing of online classes, be sure to visit MyRed, the Graduate Course Catalog or the list of online courses offered through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CASNR) (pdf). To enroll in Ag*Idea classes, contact Diane Wasser, dwasser1@unl.edu.

Courses

Number Course Name Credits
AGRO 811 Crop Genetic Engineering 2
AGRO 812 Crop & Weed Genetics 1
AGRO/HORT/TLMT/PLPT 814 Turfgrass Disease Management 1
AGRO 815A Self-Pollinated Crop Breeding 1
AGRO 815B Germplasm & Genes 1
AGRO 815D Cross-Pollinated Crop Breeding 1
AGRO 816A Heterosis in Plant Breeding 1
AGRO 816B Haploids & Double Haploids in Plant Breeding 1
AGRO 816E Genotype by Environment Interaction 1
AGRO 816J Current Issues in Plant Breeding 1
AGRO 818 Agricultural Biochemistry 2
AGRO/HORT 821 Learning Biotechnology (offered summer of even-numbered years) 3
AGRO/HORT 822 Integrated Weed Management (offered spring of even-numbered years) 1
AGRO/HORT 824 Plant Nutrition & Nutrient Management (offered spring of even-numbered years) 3
AGRO 831 Spatial Variability in Soils (offered spring of even-numbered years) 2
AGRO/HORT 832 Learning Plant Science (offered summer of odd-numbered years) 3
AGRO 837 Animal, Food & Industry Uses of Grain 2
AGRO 843 Ecology of Invasive Species (through Ag*Idea - fall) 3
AGRO 846 Forage Quality (through Ag*Idea) 3
AGRO 847 Grassland Fire Ecology (through Ag*Idea) 3
AGRO 848 Grassland Monitoring & Assessment (through Ag*Idea) 2
AGRO 849 Watershed Management in Grasslands (through Ag*Idea) 3
AGRO 851 Grassland Plant Identification (spring) 2
AGRO/HORT 888 Business Management for Agricultural Enterprises 3
AGRO/PLPT 896 Plant Pathology: Principles & Applications (coming in summer 2015) 3
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Transgene Strategies 1
AGRO/HORT 896 Herbaceous Perennials & Grasses 1-3
AGRO 894 Master of Science Degree Project 1-6
AGRO 897 Master of Applied Science (M.A.S.) Degree Project 1-6
AGRO 899 Master's Thesis 1-6
AGRO/HORT 907 Agricultural Climatology (spring 2015) 3
AGRO 932 Biometrical Genetics and Plant Breeding (online version cancelled for the spring) 3
     
Online Courses for Entomology Minor (only 9 credits needed) are listed at http://entomology.unl.edu/courses/deccourses.shtml.
ENTO 802 Aquatic Insects 2
ENTO 803 Management of Horticulture Insects 3
ENTO 806 Insect Ecology 3
ENTO 807 Urban and Industrial Entomology 3
ENTO 810    Insects as Educational Tools for the Classroom 3
ENTO 812 Entomology and Pest Management    3    
ENTO 813 Biological Control of Pests 3
ENTO 818 Insect ID and Natural History 4
ENTO 820 Insect Toxicology 2
ENTO 825 Management of Agronomic Crop Insects 3
     
Online Courses for Agricultural Leadership Minor (minimum 9 credits are needed)
ALEC 801 Theoretical Foundations of Leadership 3
ALEC 805 Advanced Teaching Strategies 3
ALEC 806 Introduction to Distance Education 3
ALEC 807 Supervisory Leadership 3
ALEC 816 Management Strategies in Distance Education Environments 3
ALEC 877 Leadership & Motivation 3
ALEC 906 Theoretical Foundations of Distance Education 3
ALEC 908 Organization of the Agricultural Mechanics Program 3
     
Online Courses for Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education Minor (only 9 credits needed)
TEAC 800 Inquiry into Teaching & Learning 3
TEAC 801 Curriculum Inquiry 3
TEAC Any other online TEAC class 3
     
Online Courses for Natural Resources Minor (only 9 credits are needed)  
NRES 809 Laboratory Earth:  Earth & It's Natural Systems 3
NRES 813 Environmental Leadership 3
NRES 814 Laboratory Earth: Earth's Natural Resource Systems 3
NRES 822 Laboratory Earth: Earth's Changing Systems 3
NRES 830 Laboratory Earth: Climate Research Applications 3
NRES 832 Laboratory Earth: Human Dimensions of Climate Change 3
NRES 883 Ecological Economics 3
NRES 898 Special Topics in Natural Resources 3

Schedule

This schedule outlines the courses that are available each term. M.S. in Agronomy students can pick and choose from these courses to fulfill their course requirements within a timeframe that works for them.  Each student should work with their faculty advisor to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through their program. The MOC acts as a blueprint for student coursework.  Academic students enroll through MyRed.

Fall 2014
Number Course Name Credits
AGRO 811 Crop Genetic Engineering (10/26-12/14/14 - note change of dates) 2
AGRO 815A Self-Pollinated Crop Breeding (8/26 - 9/25/14) 1
AGRO 815B Germplasm & Genes (9/30 - 11/4/14) 1
AGRO 815D Cross-Pollinated Crop Breeding (11/6 - 12/11/14) 1
AGRO 818 Agricultural Biochemistry 2
AGRO/HORT 444/888 Business Management for Agricultural Enterprises 3
HORT 842B Plant Physiology (through Ag*Idea)* 3
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study (10/1-12/19/14) 1
ENTO 806 Insect Ecology 3
ENTO 820 Insect Toxicology 2
ENTO 825 Management of Agronomic Crop Insects 3
ENTO 896 Insect Evolution 3

Classes Expected for Spring 2015
Number Course Name Credits
AGRO/HORT/TLMT 414/814 1
AGRO 816E Genotype by Environment Interaction (G x E) 1
AGRO 437/837 Animal, Food and Industrial Uses of Grain (1/12-2/27/15) 2
HORT 842J Water Issue: Lawn & Landscaping (through Ag*Idea)* 3
HORT 843A Greenhouse Crop Production (through Ag*Idea)* 4
HORT 844B Environmental Stress Physiology (through Ag*Idea)* 1
HORT 844E General Viticulture (through Ag*Idea)* 3
AGRO 849 Watershed Management in Grasslands (through Ag*Idea)* 2
AGRO 851 Grassland Plant Identification 2
AGRO/HORT 488/888 Business Management for Agricultural Enterprises 3
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study (Disease Resistance Genetics)    (2/23-5/8/15) 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Transgene Strategies    (2/23-5/8/15) 1
AGRO 496/896 Land Grabs in the Global South (2/2/15-5/8/15) 3
AGRO 907 Agricultural Climatology 3
AGRO 932 Biometrical Genetics and Plant Breeding (online version cancelled for the spring) 3
ENTO 801 Insect Physiology 3
ENTO 806 Insect Ecology 3
ENTO 815 Medical Entomology 3
ENTO 818 Insect Identification & Natural History 4
ALEC/ENTO 830 Introduction to the Development of Distance Education Courses 3
ALEC 802 Dev. Leadership Capacity in Organizations & Communities 3
ALEC 804 Problems of Beginning Agriscience Teachers 3
ALEC 913 Program Development in Occupational Education 3
NRES 814 Laboratory Earth: Earth's Natural Resource Systems 3
NRES 832 Laboratory Earth: Human Dimensions of Climate Change 3


Classes Expected for Summer 2015
Number Course Name Credits
AGRO/HORT 832 Learning Plant Science 3
AGRO/PLPT 896 Plant Pathology: Principles & Applications 3
AGRO/HORT 414/814 Turfgrass Disease Management 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Transgene Strategies 1
ENTO 812 Entomology and Pest Management 3


Classes Expected for Fall 2015

Number Course Name Credits
AGRO/HORT 412/812 Crop & Weed Genetics 1
AGRO 815A Self-Pollinated Crop Breeding 1
AGRO 815B Germplasm & Genes 1
AGRO 815D Cross-Pollinated Crop Breeding 1
AGRO 818 Agricultural Biochemistry 2
HORT 843K Advanced Arboriculture  (through Ag*Idea)* 3
AGRO 843 Ecology of Invasive Species (through Ag*Idea)* 3
HORT 843M Weed Science (through Ag*Idea)* 4
HORT 844A Environmental Nursery Production Practices (through Ag*Idea)* 3
HORT 844E General Viticulture (through Ag*Idea)* 3
AGRO 847 Grassland Fire Ecology 3
AGRO/HORT 488/888 Business Management for Agricultural Enterprises 3
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Transgene Strategies 1
ENTO 820 Insect Toxicology 3

Classes Expected for Spring 2016
Number Course Name Credits
AGRO 822 Integrated Weed Management (offered spring of even-numbered years) 1
AGRO/HORT 824 Plant Nutrition & Nutrient Management (offered spring of even-numbered years) 3
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Phytophthora Resistance in Soybean Case Study 1
AGRO 496/896 Disease Resistance Breeding: Transgene Strategies 1
AGRO 831 Spatial Variability in Soils (offered spring of even-numbered years) 2
AGRO/HORT 837 Animal, Food & Industry Uses of Grain 2
AGRO/HORT 888 Business Management for Agricultural Enterprises 3
     
ENTO 803 Management of Horticultural Insects 3
ENTO 813 Biological Control of Pests 3
ENTO 814 Forensic Entomology 3

*To enroll in Ag*Idea classes, contact Diane Wasser, dwasser1@unl.edu, UNL Ag*Idea Campus Coordinator.


Tuition and Fees

To determine the tuition and fees required for the M.S. in Agronomy program, please see Student Account's breakdown of 2014-2015 Academic Year Tuition Rates and Explanation of Fees.

Department of Agronomy and Horticulture courses fall under the category "CASNR" and are listed under the "Graduate/Professional Tuition" section.

The tuition costs vary depending on whether or not you are living in Nebraska (resident) or not living in Nebraska (non-resident).

Fees

Distance Education students are required to pay the following fees:

  • Distance Education Fee - $25 per credit hour
  • Technology Fee - $7.35 per credit hour
  • Library Fee - $4 per credit hour

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Most of the department's fellowships are tied to Graduate Research Assistantships which are limited to on-campus M.S. students.

These fellowships also require students to be at full-time status. Graduate students are considered full-time students if they are enrolled for at least nine credit hours during an academic semester or at least six credit hours during summer sessions, whether or not the student holds a graduate assistantship. More information on graduate student full time status is available on the Graduate Studies bulletin.

For more information on scholarships or financial aid available for graduate students, please visit the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website.

VA Benefits

Deb Quinn, 402-472-4130, is the contact in Registration and Records for VA benefits for graduate students.

Additional information for military students is also available on the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide website.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln tied for 2nd place in the US News & World Report's 2014 "Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans" poll.

Library Resources

UNL Libraries offers a variety of research options for distance students. Visit the UNL Libraries website to get connected to online scholarly journals and research articles. On this website, click on the E-Resources link which connects you to popular databases for research articles. 

Another option for distance students is the Libraries' Interlibrary Loan program. It will ask you to create an account using a username of your choice and your password is your NUID.

There are also subject librarians who can help you find additional resources in your area of interest. For Agronomy, the subject librarian is Leslie Delserone

Useful Links

Questions? Please contact...
Kathy Schindler
Dept. of Agronomy & Horticulture
402.472.1730

 

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