Allan J. Ciha1, Gretchen Anderson2, Dawn Miller1 and Kenneth J. Moore3, (1)Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA (2)Iowa State University, Ames, IA (3)1571 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
The 100th student graduated from the Iowa State University Master of Agronomy Distance Program in July 2012, the program’s 15th year. A Master of Science in Agronomy from Iowa State University is only offered on-line. Courses are delivered asynchronously over the internet. Students are required to take 40 credits of course work and complete a creative component to complete their degree. The MS-Agronomy Distance Program currently has 160 active students taking courses on-line in crop science, soil science, integrated pest management, statistics, climatology, and plant breeding. The MS program provides a link between the university and students from a wide range of agricultural professions and experience, now able to complete a Master’s degree. The majority of the students are from the U.S. There are also students from Canada, South America, and Africa enrolled in the distance program. Students are generally working professionals who want to advance their educational goals and to obtain a MS degree to advance within their profession and career. Students usually have full-time positions and family commitments, but are still able to spend 8-10 hours per week per course in completing lesson, assignment, reflection, and discussion requirements. Approximately 2/3 of the students in the program are from recent undergraduates to 35 years old, however, 10% of the students are over 50 years old. With advancements in internet connections and speed, on-line distance educational programs like the MS-Agronomy distance program from Iowa State University can offer working agricultural professionals an opportunity to advance their education, no matter where in the world they live.