Grasslands (including rangelands, pasturelands, and haylands) are the principal land resource type in the Great Plains, comprised of more than 50 percent of the land surface area. Grasslands represent a fundamental resource of the region that determines the environmental and economic future of the Great Plains states. Grasslands need to be managed properly to prevent overgrazing, minimize undesirable botanical composition shifts, maintain or improve grassland health, and ensure long-term productivity.
The multi-institutional Grasslands Management Certificate program, through UNL and the AG*IDEA Program, prepares students to manage our world's changing landscapes through grassland assessment and restoration, grazing management, prescribed burning, and creating plant and animal habitat. The purpose of the 12-credit hour, Grasslands Management Graduate Certificate program is to provide current and future grassland professionals (i.e., managers, advisers, and conservationists) and others with distance education opportunities that lead to a graduate certificate in grasslands management.
Great Plains IDEA Program
The Grasslands Management Graduate Certificate program is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a consortium of 11 universities offering fully online graduate programs. Each university brings a unique strength to the multi-institution academic programs. Students apply, and are admitted at one university; enroll in all their courses at that university; and graduate or receive a certificate from that university. However, students in online courses are taught by the best faculty in the discipline from cooperating Great Plains universities. These courses cover a diversity of topics and provide the subject matter needed by students wanting to develop their expertise in grassland management. Classes follow the academic calendar at these institutions.
Grassland Management Career Benefits
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of agricultural and food scientists will increase by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020. This job growth is expected to be driven by the demand for new food products and food safety measures. Agricultural scientists are needed to ensure that the increased need for agricultural output is balanced against the need to preserve and protect soil, water and ecosystems.
A USDA study of employment opportunities for college graduates in the food, renewable energy and environmental fields for 2010-2015 projects that the agricultural, food and renewable resources sectors will generate an estimated 54,400 annual job openings for individuals with baccalaureate or higher degrees in these fields. Between 2010 and 2015, five percent more college graduates with expertise in agricultural and food systems, renewable energy and the environment will be needed than were needed in 2005-10. The projected growth in these fields is in line with nationwide trends to increase business and jobs in local and regional food systems, capitalize on climate change opportunities, develop renewable energy and restore and sustain natural resources.
Combined with a bachelor's degree in a related area, this graduate certificate can help you advance your career. You may be able to find jobs as a rangeland management specialist or conservationist in federal or state agencies; a park manager or employee; a ranch owner, manager or employee; a co-op manager or employee; a land owner or steward; an environmental consultant; or an Extension educator or assistant in the Great Plains, etc.
How to Apply
Required by the Office of Graduate Studies
- Online application for Graduate Admission.
- $50 non-refundable application processing fee.
- One set of unofficial transcripts (plan to also submit official transcripts prior to starting classes).
- If the student's native language is not English, please show verification of English proficiency (Required TOEFL scores: paper: 550, Internet: 79), if you are not a US citizen and expect to hold an F or J visa.
Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
Submit the following items via the online application system (required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture). The GRE is not required.
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Statement of interest and professional goals
- Three letters of recommendation
- 2.8/4.0 GPA
The deadlines for application are the same as all other online graduate student applications for the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Please refer to the application deadlines: https://agronomy.unl.edu/futuregraduate
Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option
Students may enroll in courses before being admitted to the certificate program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate student under the Admission Objective and Admission Classification headers.