M.S. Agronomy - Option II (Non-thesis)

The Option II non-thesis program requires completion of at least 36 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, including a project and a minor. This option is considered a practitioner degree rather than an academic degree.  The department requests that 1-6 credit hours of AGRO/HORT 894 are devoted to the master's project which takes the place of the usual master's thesis. The project should be an example of your best professional work.

The program also requires selection of one or two formal minors of 9 credit hours each. If one minor is selected, students must complete a minimum of 18 hours in agronomy courses; while a minimum of 15 hours in agronomy courses is required if two minors are selected. Up to 18 hours of approved graduate coursework from other institutions may be applied to the Option II program at UNL. Attached is a checklist for M.S. Option II for distance students.

Each student should work with their faculty advisor to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through their program.  Here are a couple of  MOC examples:  Example 1 and Example 2.

All degree requirements for the Option II program, including presentation of the master's project, can be completed at a distance; and students are not required to visit the UNL campus at any time. The master's project should be representative of the student's best professional work. Because this is a non-thesis program, it is considered a terminal degree in that it does not prepare students to matriculate directly into a doctoral program.

Students must maintain acceptable grades while in the graduate program.  The Office of Graduate Studies requires that students earn a B or above on all cross-listed courses and a C or above on all graduate-only courses. 

Examples of what students have done for their Option II M.S. in Agronomy project:

  • Analyzed field studies
  • Developed lesson plans
  • Developed procedures for labs or programs
  • Wrote an extensive term paper
  • Developed assessment tools to measure learning
  • Created animations or multimedia products on subject matter covered in their coursework
  • Adapted already-completed research for a new purpose

Admission Requirements*

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in agronomy or a closely related field, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Minimum of one college semester in each of the following areas:

The above requirements can be met by having satisfactorily completed the courses, having taken equivalent courses, testing out of the courses, exceeding the entry level requirements of the undergraduate degree institution and having these courses waived, or by taking the deficient courses early in the graduate program.

*Applicants with more than two deficiencies will not be reviewed for admission. It is recommended that you enroll in appropriate courses to remove deficiencies, and then reapply.  Applicants with a Grade Point Average (GPA) less than 3.0 should take classes to improve their GPA.  These classes may fulfill undergraduate deficiencies or they may be graduate-level classes.

How to Apply

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture through GAMES

After you submit your online application for Graduate Admission, please allow one business day for us to establish your access to our application system, GAMES, where you will submit the following items that are required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae
  2. Statement of interest and goals
  3. Three letters of recommendation.  Letters should be uploaded through GAMES and the salutation may be addressed to UNL Agronomy & Horticulture Graduate Committee Chair, 279 Plant Sciences Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915.
  4. A GRE score is not required by the department; however, individual faculty may request a test score.


There are no set deadlines for submitting applications; they are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option

Students may be allowed to enroll in courses before being admitted to the certificate program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate student.

Apply Now

It's easy to apply through our online application process!

Apply NOW