MS Agronomy History

The Master of Science in Agronomy distance education program evolved as an outcome of a 1995 survey of ISU alumni from the College of Agriculture. The majority of survey respondents indicated a need for a flexible, integrated, advanced degree program in agronomy for professional and personal advancement.

In early 1998, fifteen hand-picked students were admitted to the program and started coursework Fall semester. Courses were developed sequentially so the pilot group of students maintained program progression. The capstone courses in the program were taught for the first time in Spring 2001. That same spring saw the program’s first graduating students.

The students who pilot-tested MS Agronomy courses critically evaluated every course they completed during and after each semester. Their feedback was critical to the quality of the program. Significant changes were incorporated from their input and shaped the program students know today.

Today, the average number of active students is 215, with at least 170 students taking courses any given semester. Student evaluations are still critical to program success, and changing technology has resulted in multiple redesigns of the courseware.  Awards to faculty and staff have highlighted their dedication to the program.  The 20th year of the program in 2018 celebrated the 200th graduate.