Online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences

The Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences is offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as a completely online degree program for working professionals. Successful candidates in the program should be able to:

  • Locate, access, and evaluate research literature in the field.
  • Describe the role that human interaction has on agriculture and the life sciences.
  • Delineate how human learning, perceptions, and behaviors impact agricultural and life sciences globally.
  • Develop and implement theoretically sound programs that promote the advancement of agricultural and life sciences amongst industry professionals and the general public.

Students should identify a concentration during the application process from one of the following areas:

  • Applied Nutrition and Health Sciences:  An evidence-based perspective on applied nutrition, exercise and health across the healthspan with a focus on critical inquiry, problem solving, leadership, and successful business practices in nutrition and physical activity.
  • Education: preparation of educators for success in professions that include formal and non-formal teaching and learning in agriculture.
  • Environmental Science: the study of processes functions involving living organisms to improve environmental quality and human health and livelihoods.
  • Food Safety and Biosecurity: the study of basic scientific approaches to food production and processing in order to produce safe, high quality, and economic products.
  • Leadership Studies: multidisciplinary study of leadership processes and human capital development in community and non-profit organizations.
  • Plant Science and Pest Management: the study of connections between the basic interactions of molecular science and applied pest management.

Applicants should have completed or be near completion of a B.S. degree in agricultural and life sciences or a field closely associated with a graduate degree in this discipline. An overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to 4.0 or greater and strong scientific writing and communication skills are required.

Applicants who fall slightly below the requirements can be admitted on a provisional status at the recommendation of the department. Provisional status is permitted for a maximum of 12 credit hours of graded course work; a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for a student to continue the graduate program. Applicants with a GPA below a 2.75 should apply to Commonwealth Campus. This option is a non-degree seeking option that allows individuals to improve their GPA prior to applying to the degree program. Credits earned through Commonwealth Campus may be transferred into the degree program.

One of the major benefits of the online program is that it allows you to complete the program at your own pace. On average, students will take two courses (6 credit hours) a semester, leading to completion of the program in five semesters. Courses are offered fall, spring and summer semesters, so a student can finish the program in two years based on the two-course minimum per semester. Refer to the Courses page for an entire list of courses offered in the program.

Requirements Minimum Credit Hours

Core Courses

  • Research Methodology (3 cr.)
  • International Agriculture or Agricultural Business (3 cr.)
  • Research Ethics (1 cr.)
7
Area of Concentration 12
Electives 6
Project and Report 5
Total 30

Minimum total credits: 30 credit hours
Minimum graded credits: 24 credit hours

Students cannot transfer more than 50% of graded, graduate-level course credit hours from another regionally accredited university to satisfy the requirements for a Virginia Tech graduate degree.

Transferred credits must be from graduate-level courses at the university where the student took the courses. Students must have earned grades of  "B" or better for all graded courses, while maintaining good standing in graduate status.

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor (major professor) prior to, or immediately after, initial enrollment. Assignments should be mutually agreeable to both student and faculty member. A primary consideration in assigning a student with an advisor ensures that the student’s professional interests match well with the advisor’s expertise.

Within the first two semesters of enrollment, each student should work with his or her faculty advisor to establish an advisory committee. The committee should consist of three members. Two committee members should be from the concentration, one being the faculty advisor. The third member should be a full time, tenure-track, teaching or research faculty or other qualified individual, inside or outside the university, as requested by the department.

The student is expected to do a final project to complete the requirements of the degree. Steps to complete the final project include:

  1. Student prepares a project proposal to present to the advising committee.
  2. Advising committee approves proposal.
  3. Student works with the advisor to set up, conduct, and complete the project.
  4. Student completes the final project report and oral examination.

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