Frequently Asked Questions About Online Programs

Online Agriculture Degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many times will I have to go to campus?
    Zero. You're welcome to visit campus, or even take courses here if you'd like, but all requirements for the degree can be completed at a distance. All courses are delivered within the Canvas Course Management Platform. You can learn more about Canvas at Instructor's website. Meetings with your advisor and committee members, as well as presentation of your final project will all be conducted with modern videoconferencing software. 
  2. What are online courses really like?
    Every course is different, but most modern online courses are interactive and engaging. Distance education of the past involved watching pre-recorded lectures or sitting through synchronous class times on video networks and awkwardly communicating through a microphone. Times have changed. You won't spend the majority of your time taking notes on lengthy recorded lectures, and you won't have assigned class times. Instead, your courses will always be asynchronous, which means you log in and learn on your schedule, not ours. You'll be engaged in creating and developing projects that apply to your field of study. Instructors will help you learn the big concepts and processes, then let you apply them in a low-risk educational environment. If you prefer to sit back as a passive bystander and let someone else tell you what to learn, then this probably isn't the program for you. If you want to be an active catalyst in your own education, then you'll fit right in. 
  3. I'm employed full-time; will I have time to complete an online agriculture degree?
    Yes. The online Master's program at Murray State University's Hutson School of Agriculture (HSOA) was designed with you in mind. Our programs are tailored to fit you, the working professional. We have recommended sequences for completing your degree in one or two years, but you can take as many or as few classes as you are comfortable taking. Many busy students choose the 2-year course sequence which allows you to make steady progress, ultimately completing your degree in two years, without taking more than two courses in any given semester. 
  4. How much will an online degree in agriculture cost?
    Murray State University Graduate tuition rates. This rate is the same for all online graduate students, regardless of the state in which you reside. There's no doubt a Master's degree is a major financial investment, but it's also one that pays dividends. According to a 2009 report by the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, people with Master's degrees will earn an average of $403,000 more over the course of a career than their Bachelor's degree-holding counterparts. 
  5. I've heard I have to write a thesis to earn a Master's degree, is that true?
    No. While some on-campus students choose to write a thesis for their degree, many choose instead to complete a creative component. As a non-thesis program, all students in the online Master's program are required to complete a creative component. You will work with your faculty advisor to design a meaningful project that is tailored to your interests and goals. Many students choose a project that dovetails into their current professional work. Guidelines for creative components can be found at the following online master forms and guidelines. 
  6. What are comprehensive exams?
    Comprehensive exams are conducted as part of your final oral presentation for those students who are doing a thesis option. If you are a non-thesis student, this will not apply to you. Your adviser will consult with the other members of your graduate committee to identify appropriate questions. You will be given the questions a couple weeks prior to your presentation so you have plenty of time to prepare. During your oral presentation, your committee members will use the questions to generate discussion on important topics relevant to your area of emphasis. 
  7. Do I get to choose an advisor or will one be assigned to me?
    You will be assigned an advisor. Your advisor will help you get started in the right direction. Please feel free to contact your advisor for registration guidance.
  8. What is a committee and will I need one?
    A committee is a group of three faculty members, including your advisor, who will work with you to ensure that you meet your educational goals for thesis option students. If you are a non-thesis option student, this will not apply to you.  You'll work with your advisor to create your committee during your first or second semester of enrollment. 
  9. How do tests work in an online Master's program?
    Remember your undergraduate days of cramming to study for the next exam? Well those days are behind you. Depending on the coursework you select, you'll have very few, if any, exams. A graduate degree in agriculture is all about big-picture concepts. We'll ask you to apply, analyze, and synthesize, but rarely to memorize. Instead of reciting your knowledge on written exams, you'll have the chance to prove what you know by applying concepts to real work problems and projects. Your course instructor will have more information and general guidelines requirements. 
  10. Is the Agricultural Education emphasis just for teachers?
    No. A graduate degree in Agricultural Education prepares you for a variety of fields in agriculture, including teaching in formal and informal settings, careers in extension programs, and professionals in agribusiness. While some courses are intended for current and prospective classroom teachers, many others are designed for professionals. As businesses and organizations place more emphasis on internal training and professional development, the need for experts who can train others is on the rise. Many of our Agricultural Education courses are designed to make you better at building and delivering training programs in a variety of settings.  


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