Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate

Earn a professional certificate in Plant Breeding and Genetics

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Plant Breeding


The online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional program (non-academic) is designed for busy professionals who want to advance their careers, improve their productivity, and further their understanding of the latest technology and methods used in plant breeding and genetics. This program originates from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; however, participants do not receive academic credit or a formal credential.

By learning about the principles of plant genetic engineering, learners are equipped with the skills to nurture the next generation of seeds to energize the world and their future.

Learners may either take individual modules in specific subjects, or they may enroll in the full Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional program (non-academic). To earn a Certificate of Completion, participants must demonstrate competency in each module topic. To earn a program certificate, learners must complete a combination of 12 core and elective units.

In this non-academic credit certificate program, (1) learners do not enroll through the University admission process for credit; (2) module requirements for attaining the non-credit certificate are based on mastery of content and are different than those required for academic credit; and (3) the non-credit certificate has been approved as a non-academic program for professional development.

For all the reasons mentioned, learners in this program will not receive academic credit or University transcripts with their certificate.

Program Benefits

  • This program is entirely online, allowing individuals to learn at their own pace while working full-time.
  • Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) earn continuing education units (CEUs) for each module in the program.
  • Learn from the expert faculty at UNL, who regularly interact with seed industry professionals.
  • The cost of this program is competitive, easing the financial burden on learners while giving them access to education that can change their careers.

Feed & Energize Our World

The population of the world is expected to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050. We need more efficient and hardy crops to adequately feed this massive population. Learners of this program will gain the skills they need to contribute new and innovative solutions to this global issue of food production.

Corn and soybean fields

Program Structure

Modules are entirely online, and range from 5-16 weeks in length. Participants may either take single modules for continuing education units (CEUs), or they can enroll in the 12-unit online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate for further expertise. Learners can also earn CEUs for renewing their professional certifications.

The modules feature both synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods. The synchronous modules consist of live meetings but are also recorded for later viewing so participants can access the materials at their convenience. Asynchronous modules allow learners to view material whenever needed. There are test and assignment deadlines to ensure timely completion of each module. Online discussion forums and virtual live meetings allow learners to interact with their peers and instructors, discuss the module material, and ask questions. For the majority of modules in the program, textbooks are not required.

The curriculum focuses on:

  • Basic genetic principles
  • Plant breeding methods for self- and cross-pollinated crops
  • Identifying germplasm
  • Crop genetic engineering
  • Crop protection topics, e.g. the genetics of pest resistance management
  • Genotype and environment interactions
  • Plant pathology
  • Weed science

Admission Recommendations

Although previous experience or a specific degree is not required to enroll, the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at UNL strongly recommends that learners have a bachelors degree and/or a foundation in plant science or genetics or approval to enroll from current instructors or staff in the program. These foundations can include:

Prospective learners can take this free online test to determine if they should enroll in a refresher module. Email Krisayla Rasmussen at or Leah Sandall at with any questions about registering and taking the online test.