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Master’s Program

Admissions to the Master’s Program

All Herbert College of Agriculture master’s candidates must apply through the Graduate School.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a 2.7 out of 4.0 GPA or 3.0 GPA during the senior year of undergraduate study.
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) standardized testing. Please check with your desired program to see which standardized testing scores are required.
  • Submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Master’s Degree Options – Majors

Agricultural and Resource Economics Master’s Program

Concentrations (Required) and Options Available:
  • Agricultural Economics—Thesis
    • The thesis option in agricultural economics is designed to prepare students for analytical and research careers in the public and private sectors and to prepare students interested in entering a PhD program.
  • Agricultural Economics—Project
    • The project option in agricultural economics is designed to prepare students for analytical and research careers in the public and private sectors.
  • Natural Resource Economics—Thesis
    • The natural resource economics concentration is designed to prepare students for analytical and research careers in the public and private sectors with an emphasis on natural resource economics and to prepare students interested in entering a PhD program.

The agricultural leadership, education and communications program is designed for students wanting to learn more about leadership skills and styles, educational methods for youth and adults, methods of communication and styles, and community outreach programs used in agricultural and related fields. The program offers four distinct focus areas: leadership, agricultural education, Extension, and communications.

The animal science master’s program areas of research emphasis are animal physiology (e.g., ruminant and nonruminant nutrition, reproduction, stress, and obesity), health and well-being (e.g., immunology, microbiology, pre-harvest food safety, and behavior), and genomics. Programs emphasize experiential learning with animal species, including beef and dairy cattle, poultry, swine, small ruminants, and animal models for human disease. See the department’s graduate program website for a listing of graduate research faculty and their specific research focus areas. The major professor, an animal science faculty member at the rank of assistant professor or above, chairs the student’s graduate advisory committee. The student and major professor select the other members of the advisory committee, which should contain at least two other faculty members at the rank of assistant professor or above, one of whom may be outside the department. The student’s advisory committee assists in the planning of coursework and may require specific courses in addition to those required by the animal science graduate program. The student’s graduate advisory committee also aids in formulating an appropriate research project and assesses achievement of other degree requirements, including the research proposal and thesis defense.

A graduate program leading to the master of science degree with a major in biosystems engineering technology is available to graduates of a recognized curriculum in agriculture or other related fields. The program emphasizes the application of engineering to agricultural and other biological systems. Major focus areas of the program are machinery systems; environmental quality and resource conservation; instrumentation, sensor, and control systems; and bioprocessing. Depending on the applicant’s academic background and interest area within the program, prerequisite courses may be required.

A graduate program leading to the master of science degree with a major in biosystems engineering technology is available to graduates of a recognized curriculum in agriculture or other related fields. The program emphasizes the application of engineering to agricultural and other biological systems. Major focus areas of the program are machinery systems; environmental quality and resource conservation; instrumentation, sensor, and control systems; and bioprocessing. Depending upon the applicant’s academic background and interest area within the program, prerequisite courses may be required.

The entomology and plant pathology master of science degree is designed to provide students with the basic disciplinary knowledge and research background for a career in the life sciences. Graduates have proven to be competitive in obtaining positions at academic institutions, in public service or the private sector, or admission to PhD programs. Many of the specialties within the department involve cross-disciplinary activity, including close cooperation with ecologists, horticulturists, plant geneticists, soil scientists, and veterinarians. The department has special interest and expertise in alternative methods of insect and disease management, such as biological control, resistant cultivars, cultural techniques, and integrated pest management to help meet the need for safe food production with or without reduced use of pesticides.

Students seeking the master of science degree with a major in environmental and soil science will generally concentrate their studies in one of the environmental and soil science focus areas: soil and water chemistry; nutrient and elemental cycling; land management and reclamation; pedology, genesis, and classification; environmental climatology; soil biology and biochemistry; and soil physical processes. For additional information, see the environmental and soil sciences master’s degree homepage or contact the director of graduate studies of the environmental and soil sciences program.

The food science master’s program requires applicants to have a bachelor of science degree in food technology, food science, or a related scientific field. Commodity interests (meats, dairy, fruits, vegetables, bakery products) can be emphasized in any of the areas by careful selection of courses and research topic. Minors are available in cognate fields. For detailed information, contact the department head or director of graduate studies. Students in the thesis option are trained with the capability to perform quality research in an area of their interest. In addition to meeting course requirements, a thesis of original research directed by a research faculty member serving as the major professor is required to receive a master’s degree with thesis. The master’s non-thesis options (project and course only with examination) are available for students with no interest in completing a thesis or decided by the advisory committee for inadequacy to complete a thesis. These options requires same course hours as the MS thesis option.

The forestry master’s program has education related to the management of the broad spectrum of natural resources including forest biology, forest business management, forest economics, forest inventory, restoration and conservation science, urban forestry, and wildland recreation. This program will prepare students for careers with private, state, and federal agencies involved in managing our natural resources. 

The master of arts in landscape architecture (MALA) is intended for students interested in developing greater knowledge and understanding of landscape-related topics while simultaneously advancing a more specialized area of investigation from a liberal arts perspective. This degree will not prepare students for professional licensure but will prepare them for career paths that benefit from knowledge of landscape architectural design concepts, design thinking skills, visual communication skills, and related fields such as ecosystem management, sustainable development, green infrastructure, and more. While 42 credit hours is the minimum number needed to satisfy this degree track, students have the option to work with advisors to craft a unique curriculum that allows for greater development of design skills or supporting knowledge as necessary. This track requires the successful completion of a robust thesis project.

The master of landscape architecture (MLA) is a design-based professional degree that concludes with a design thesis or advanced design project. The MLA has a first-professional track (MLA, Track 1) that is designed to prepare students as critically engaged practitioners, and a post-professional track (MLA, Track 2) that provides opportunities for research-oriented studies in areas of speculation and specialization.

Concentrations:

  • Track 1 (First-professional degree track)
  • Track 2 (Post-professional degree track)

The master of science in landscape architecture (MSLA) is intended for students interested in developing greater knowledge and understanding of landscape-related topics while simultaneously advancing a more specialized area of investigation. This degree will not prepare students for professional licensure but will prepare them for career paths that benefit from knowledge of landscape architectural design concepts, design thinking skills, visual communication skills, and related fields such as ecosystem management, sustainable development, green infrastructure, and more. While 42 credit hours is the minimum number needed to satisfy these degree tracks, students have the option to work with advisors to craft a unique curriculum that allows for greater development of design skills or supporting knowledge as necessary. This track requires the successful completion of a robust thesis project.

Both thesis and project options are available for the major in plant sciences, each guided by a graduate committee consisting of the major professor and two or more other faculty members. Studies are possible across a wide variety of crop commodities, including fruits, vegetables, weeds, cereals, grains, turfgrass, ornamental plants, and public horticulture. Plant sciences students can undertake research to address challenges related to plant protection, molecular biology, breeding, genetics, biotechnology, physiology, ecology, culture, and management. Students must select a formal concentration as a focus of study.

Concentrations:

  • Crop Sciences—Thesis, Project
  • Horticulture—Thesis, Project
  • Plant Breeding—Thesis, Project
  • Plant Molecular Genetics—Thesis, Project
  • Weed Science—Thesis, Project

The wildlife and fisheries science master’s program includes the science and art of maintaining populations of wild animals at levels consistent with the best interests of both wild species and people. Management goals may be aesthetic, economic, or ecological. Students obtain jobs with private, state, and federal agencies involved in managing wildlife resources. 

Master’s Degree Options—Minors

Agricultural and resource economics master’s program minor

Entomology and plant pathology are interdisciplinary sciences that focus on the study of plant diseases and insects, respectively. Graduate students who wish to broaden their knowledge of both sciences, or integrate these topics with other fields of study, may choose the combined entomology and plant pathology minor.

Entomology is the scientific study of insects, an interdisciplinary science that specializes in plant, human, and animal health with a focus on problematic and beneficial insects. Graduate students who wish to increase their knowledge of entomology or integrate the topic with other fields of study may choose the entomology minor.

Forestry master’s program minor

Plant pathology is an interdisciplinary science with a focus on plant diseases. It encompasses knowledge of biochemistry, botany, crop science, ecology, genetics, horticulture, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and soil science. Graduate students who wish to increase their knowledge of plant pathology or integrate the topic with other fields of study may choose the plant pathology minor.

The plant sciences minor studies are possible across a wide variety of crop commodities, including fruits, vegetables, weeds, cereals, grains, turfgrass, ornamental plants, and public horticulture. Students gain an understanding of the challenges related to plant protection, molecular biology, breeding, genetics, biotechnology, physiology, ecology, culture, and management.

The watershed minor teaches students about the growing awareness of the complexity of water quantity and quality issues related to human activities and leads to dealing with those issues on a watershed scale. This minor is for graduate students wishing to develop expanded skills in watershed science/engineering, planning and design, and culture and policy issues related to water. These skills are especially useful for careers in natural resource policy, water and land management, sustainable development and design for private industry, and storm water management for government agencies. Successful completion of the watershed minor is documented on the transcript.

Wildlife and fisheries science master’s program minor

Wildlife health master’s program minor