MS Agronomy Overview

Program description

The MS Agronomy Program is a professional degree program, which requires more credits of coursework than research. This is different from a traditional on-campus Agronomy program, which emphasizes research.  The program was originally designed for professionals working in industry and government, but has grown to include students from business, teaching and other professions. 

The courses in the MS Agronomy Program were designed specifically for distance students, and take advantage of all of the technological capabilities of the computer and the internet.  Students will find many learning activities within the course materials to aid in content comprehension (study questions, drag & drops, short videos, "Try this", calculations, etc.). For the most part, students will not find lecture videos of their instructor, but will be able to interact with their instructor in the form of online Office Hours using video conference software (e.g., Zoom).

What to expect

The Program has a twofold purpose:

  1. Students will gain a diverse background in all aspects of Agronomy.  This includes subject matter in crops, soils, climate, statistics and pest management.  The curriculum is organized so that students progress in phases:
    • Phase 1 provides more advanced knowledge of agronomy
    • Phase 2 develops management skills
    • Phase 3 integrates both knowledge and management to develop analytical and problem solving skills
  2. Students will become better communicators.  This development is fostered through a variety of exercises:
    • discussion boards
    • presentations/term projects
    • agronomic consultations/peer review
    • creative component project

For a more comprehensive list of program objectives, please see MS Agronomy Goals.

Program requirements

The program totals 40-credits, which consists of 12 online courses (36 credits), an on-campus practicum (1 credit) and a creative component professional development project (3 credits).  

MS Agronomy Curriculum

Technology Requirements

Program Costs

The MS Agronomy Program Costs page is updated each time there is a change in tuition and fees.  Students can expect an overall program cost of $25,000-$27,000. 

Structured yet flexible

MS Agronomy courses follow the Iowa State University Academic Calendar.

  • Fall Semester: August-December
  • Spring Semester: January -May
  • Summer Semester: May-August

Within each semester, a course calendar is built with weekly due dates for course requirements (1 lesson per week).  Students must determine how best to get through each lesson and submit work for weekly due dates based on their personal schedule.  Students can expect to spend between 8-12 hours/week/class to get through course materials, participate in discussions, submit assignments, and any other requirements.

It is important to note that courses are not self-paced.  When students register for classes, they are expected to meet course deadlines as described above. Should events occur in which a course deadline cannot be met, communication with instructors is critical as soon as a conflict arises.

Course Delivery

For course structure and delivery, follow this link to the Course Delivery Systems page.

Total time to complete program

Most students enroll in only one or two courses per semester while working full time. At this pace, students can achieve their masters in three (2 courses/semester) to six years (1 course/semester).  Iowa State University Grad College policy has a 7-year maximium time limit to complete an MS degree.

“The Master of Science in Agronomy distance learning program provided me the opportunity to earn my master's degree without having to leave my job or relocate my family while I pursued my studies.”