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

The Option II non-thesis program requires 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.  Between 1 and 6 credit hours of AGRO/HORT 894 are devoted to the master's project instead of the usual master's thesis. The project should show your best professional work.

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 may be met by completing the courses, taking equivalent courses, exceeding the entry-level requirements of the undergraduate degree institution, or by taking the deficient courses early in the graduate program through provisional admission.

*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 through the Post-Baccalaureate Non-Degree Seeking admission.  These classes may fulfill undergraduate deficiencies or they may be graduate-level courses.

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
  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.  Admission dates are for fall, spring or summer terms.


The program also requires 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 17 hours of approved graduate coursework (49%) from other institutions may be transferred 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 or graduate committee to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through their program.  Here are two MOC examples:  Example 1 and Example 2.

All degree requirements for the Option II program, including Written and Oral presentation of the master's project, may be completed online, and students are not required to visit the UNL campus.  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
  • Created an Extension Education resource/publication
  • Wrote an extensive term paper
  • Developed assessment tools to measure learning
  • Created animations, multimedia products, or websites
  • Adapted already-completed research for a new purpose

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.

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