MS Agronomy Overview

Program description

The MS Agronomy program is a professional degree program, which contains more credits of focused coursework than research. This is different than 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.  

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

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 $22,000-$25,000. 

Structured yet flexible

MS Agronomy courses follow the Iowa State University Academic Calendar - Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.  Within each semester, a course calendar is built with weekly due dates for course requirements (1 lesson per week).  Students can determine how best to get through each lesson and submit work for those 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.

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.”