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. The students pilot tested MS Agronomy courses and critically evaluated them prior to opening enrollment for the general public. The feedback provided by these students was critical to the quality of the program. Significant changes were incorporated from their input and shaped the program students know today.

Courses were developed sequentially so the pilot group of students maintained program progression. The first courses were offered in Fall 1998. 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.

Since then the program has grown and expanded. The average number of active students is 165, with at least 100 students taking courses any given semester. Student evaluations have resulted in multiple redesigns of the courseware. The efforts of faculty, staff, and administrators have been recognized with several awards.


History timeline graphics
1995 Distance Education Survey
1995-96 Curriculum proposal developed
1996-97 Curriculum approved
1997 Board of Regents approval, project funded
1995 Courseware development
1998 Pilot study beings - first courses Fall Semester
1999-00 Open enrollment
2001 Spring: first students graduate & 100th student admitted
2003 Post-audit review
2005 Spring: 200th student admitted
2005 Fall: 20th graduate andopen enrollment for international students
2006 IDLA Innovator in Award in Higher Education
2007 College of Agriculture Team Award
2012 100th graduate milestone