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Online Master’s Degree in Agriculture

Online masters degree programs in agriculture are usually an extension of most school’s life sciences or agriculture departments. They typically focus on preparing students on how to address and respond to personal, professional, and societal issues regarding food production, agriculture, and natural resources. In addition to continuing to develop the student’s biological knowledge regarding food production, students also refine skills in public outreach, business, and conservation. Most programs are intended for students who already come from a bachelor’s degree program in agriculture or biological engineering, and who have significant work experience in the field. The degree can also be used for those who intend on teaching college-level courses in the subject as well.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Agriculture

As with any online masters degree program, agriculture programs can vary from school to school. Most will provide students with an in-depth study of the business of agriculture, and as well as continued study in animal and plant biology and biosecurity. Agricultural managers must not only have a solid understanding of the animals or plants they work with, but must also successfully combine this knowledge with modern business and information systems used in modern agriculture. Students will also develop a sound understanding of today’s global and national food laws and regulation. Some typical courses offered include:

  • Design and Analysis of Agricultural Experiments
  • International Agricultural Development and Trade
  • Information and Research in Life Sciences
  • Animal and Plant Biosafety and Biosecurity
  • Managing Arthropod Pests

Most online masters programs in agriculture require students to develop a final thesis, project, or report at the end of the program. In most cases, the final thesis or report focuses on a specialization within the field of agriculture, and is usually selected with help from an advisor or advisory committee. In most cases, the project is usually done in the area where the student is currently living and working. If the student is not currently working, a program may require the completion of a work study program. Students must typically submit and defend their thesis or final project to their advisory committee once it’s been completed. The project must demonstrate the student’s ability to understand, analyze, and interpret scientific knowledge by creating new ideas and procedures based on the analysis.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Agriculture

The most common position for an individual with an online masters degree in agriculture is as a farm, ranch, or agricultural manager. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 1.2 million farm, ranch, and agricultural managers in the U.S., and 80% are self-employed. Most farm, ranch, and agriculture workers possess only a high school or bachelor’s degree in the field, combined with a great deal of experience. An online masters degree in agriculture provides an individual who already holds a bachelor’s degree with the opportunity to continue their work, while developing an advanced knowledge of new trends, processes, laws, and regulations involving their specific area of work.

In addition to earning a master’s degree in the field, it can also be beneficial for managers to become certified through the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMR). The group offers a farm manager accreditation to members who have at least four years of work experience, a bachelor’s degree, and who pass an exam.

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