November 5-9th is National Distance Learning Week, sponsored by the United States Distance Learning Assocation (USDLA). The Department of Agronomy recognizes the importance and value distance education provides to students across the globe. Distance education in Agronomy dates back to the 1990s with the widespread availability of the internet. Today, two distance programs are offered in the Department of Agronomy.
Masters in Agronomy
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, development of the MS in Agronomy began in 1995 and the program enrolled its first students in 1998. The program offers tremendous value and accessibility to students who work full time while attaining an advanced degree. That value has been leveraged by students in 44 states and six countries around the globe.
The program strives to bring the entire cropping system and the complex worldview of the agriculture industry to life using the computer through multiple channels of engagement. Coursework, discussion, problem solving and interaction are all designed to help retain course content. All while focusing on the practical application.
Last month, the program celebrated its 200th graduate. Alumni are using their knowledge to impact agriculture on a local and global level. Including four alumni who have continued on to pursue a Ph.D.
Masters in Plant Breeding
Launched in the Fall of 2011, the Masters in Plant Breeding program currently has about 60 students in 21 states. The flexibility of the program makes it perfect for any kind of student. Focusing on the genetic improvement of crop plants through the study and application of genetics, statistics, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology and related sciences. The program offers fundamental skills in plant breeding, the study of advanced concepts such as genomic selection and analysis of problems in plant breeding as they arise by global society.
Culminating in a “creative component,” which is intended to be an in-depth application of the knowledge and skills acquired from the M.S. Plant Breeding curriculum. The creative component can take many forms, but it always includes a written report related to your area of specialization and approved by your advisory committee.
With 36 alumni across the county, the Masters in Plant Breeding program is helping improve the process of growing food, fuel and fiber for the world.