Option I (Thesis)

The Option I thesis program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 20-24 hours of online graduate coursework, and a thesis of 6-10 hours. A minimum of 15 hours, including the thesis, must be taken in agronomy. The thesis is the capstone course for your degree and should show your best academic work.

Course Selection

The student and advisor jointly determine class selections to fit the student's educational and career objectives. Each student should initiate communication and coordinate with their faculty advisor to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through the program. The only required courses are the Master's thesis and general seminar requirements.  Otherwise, there is no set plan of study and course selection is driven by the student and advisor.

Option I students may have a specialization and/or a minor, but it is not required.


We accept applications on a rolling basis for fall, spring and summer terms. Please allow 3-4 months for processing. International students are asked to allow 6-12 months for processing. See Graduate Studies' Steps to Admission webpage.

Domestic applications for fall 2019 should be submitted by May 15 if you don't have a faculty advisor or July 15 if you already have an advisor.

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. Successful completion of the following prerequisites:
  • One semester calculus
  • One semester chemistry
  • One semester physics (excluding soil physics)
  • Two semesters biological sciences (one class may be AGRO/HORT 131 Plant Science)
  • An additional semester of either physics or chemistry

The above requirements can be met by having successfully 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.

How to Apply

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies
Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

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 vita
  2. Statement of interest and goals
    1. How to Avoid "Kisses of Death" for Statement of Interests & Goals
  3. Three professional letters of recommendation
  4. The GRE is not required by the department; however, individual faculty members may request test results.

Applications will not be reviewed until they are fully completed and all documents are uploaded. Email applications will not be accepted. 

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option

Students may enroll in courses before being admitted to the master's or certificate program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate student under the application's Admission Objective (#4).  Students who take classes as a Post-Baccalaureate Non-Degree seeking student should not assume they will be admitted to the online MS degree.

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

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