Graduate Certificate Overview

What is a Graduate Certificate?

A Graduate Certificate in general bestows formal recognition of focused graduate study in a specialized area, in this case, Agronomy.  It is not a master's degree.  A graduate certificate requires fewer credits than a master’s degree, and there is no creative component or thesis requirement. 

Agronomy Graduate Certificate goals:

Students who successfully complete this certificate will be able to:

  • Understand the scientific principles underlying crop management and physiology, plant improvement, climatology, soil management and fertility, and integrated pest management.
  • Understand group dynamics and facilitate the accomplishment of individual and collective goals.
  • Communicate effectively with scientists, professionals, farmers, other professionals, and the general public for the purposes of learning and training.
  • Communicate electronically and utilize various Internet information services.

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 systems, follow this link to the Course Delivery Systems page.

Time to Complete Certificate

Typically, students enroll in one or two courses per semester while working full time. Students can spend as little as 18 months (2 courses/semester) or as much as 3 years (1 course/semester) to complete the Certificate.  Iowa State University Grad College policy has a 7-year maximium time limit to complete a Graduate Certificate.