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

Option II (Project)

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. Between 1 and 6 credit hours of AGRO/HORT 894 are devoted to a master's project instead of the usual master's thesis. The project is the capstone course for your degree and should show your best professional work.

Course Selection

The student and advisor jointly determine class selections to fit the student's educational and career objective(s). Each student should work with their faculty advisor to complete and file a Memorandum of Courses (MOC) about midway through the program. The only course requirements are the master's project and general seminar requirements. Otherwise, there is no set plan of study and course selection is driven by the student and advisor. Attached are two plan of study examples:  Example 1 and Example 2.


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. We are no longer accepting applications for Spring 2019.

Graduate 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 successfully 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 are required to have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0/4.0. Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 will not be reviewed for admission.

How to Apply

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

Required by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture

After submitting 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 (CV)
  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.


This MS program is aimed toward practitioners in the agriculture or seed industry. It does not require a thesis but requires an Master's capstone project with one or two formal minors of 9 credit hours each. Up to 17 hours of approved graduate coursework (49%) from other institutions may be transferred to the Option II program at Nebraska.

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 practitioner degree, it is considered a professional or terminal degree as it does not prepare students to enter directly into a doctoral program.

Previous examples of Master's of Agronomy projects:

  • Analyzing field studies
  • Developing lesson plans
  • Developing procedures for labs or programs
  • Creating an Extension Education resource, guide or publication
  • Wroting an extensive term paper or comparison paper
  • Developing assessment tools to measure learning
  • Creating animations, multimedia products, or websites
  • Adapting already-completed research for a new purpose

Non-Degree, Post-Baccalaureate Option

Students may enroll in courses before being admitted to the degree program by applying as a non-degree, post-baccalaureate student through Nebraska's Graduate Studies office.  Students who take classes as a Post-Baccalaureate Non-Degree seeking student should not assume they will be admitted to the online MS degree. A 3.0 GPA, or equivalent, is required.

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

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