How can groundbreaking technologies help us stay grounded? The following 15 Best Online Master's Degrees in Agribusiness are rooted in the contemporary aspects of agricultural operations and education.
In a world where business and education are becoming increasingly reliant on technology, it can be easy to overlook the agricultural processes and properties that ground us. At the same time, agricultural business and education need to keep up with the times. Agricultural science encompasses animals, humans, plants, and other environmental considerations. Agricultural business, or agribusiness, is concerned with bridging the gap between people and the earthly environment.
The following 15 Best Online Masters' in Agribusiness equip agribusiness professionals with an understanding of the benefits of agriculture on human life. Each program can be completed partially or entirely online, allowing working professionals to apply what they learn to their work environment immediately.
Beyond farming, agribusiness graduates can pursue careers in agricultural policy, logistics, marketing, quality control, and more. Generally speaking, agricultural managers contribute to the operation of facilities that produce crops, dairy products, and livestock. Some of the programs listed have a focus on agricultural education in Cooperative Extension centers and schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, agricultural managers made a median salary of $67,950 in 2018. The bureau reports that the employment of agricultural professionals is expected to experience little to no change in the coming years. This is largely due to the fact that farms are growing in size but decreasing in number.
The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 15 Best Online Master's Degrees in Agribusiness for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:
- Alumni Feedback: 20%
- Continued Enrollment: 20%
- Degree Selectivity: 10%
- Graduate Expenses: 25%
- Projected Annual Salary: 25%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.
Here are the 15 Best Online Master's Degrees in Agribusiness for 2019 – 2020!
#15 – University of Tennessee
Master of Science in Agricultural and Life Sciences
The University of Tennessee offers a Master of Science in Agricultural and Life Sciences. The degree program is designed for working professionals and can be completed entirely online. It provides six areas of concentration, including but not limited to Education, Food Safety and Biosecurity, and Plant Science and Pest Management. The broad curriculum is applicable to professions in agricultural, environmental, food, and human sciences. The degree requires 30 credits of study, including 24 credit hours of coursework and six credit hours of a final project and report. Most students complete the degree program in three years.
UT was chartered in 1794 as Blount College. Located in Knoxville, it is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee system. The public research university operates the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the nation's largest government laboratories, which features two of the world's most powerful supercomputers. The UT Institute of Agriculture consists of four units: the AgResearch teaching and internship program, the Herbert College of Agriculture, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and UT Extension programs throughout the state. The AgResearch program explores areas such as bioenergy, ethanol, livestock, forestry, pesticides, and more. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT No. 54 in Earth Sciences at the graduate level.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,006 in-state; $31,420 out-of-state
#14 – Oklahoma State University
Master of Agriculture in Agricultural Leadership
Oklahoma State University offers a Master of Agriculture in Agricultural Leadership. The online degree program is designed to prepare graduates for non-formal teaching careers and leadership roles in agribusiness, government service, and more. Courses are held asynchronously, meaning students can access course content at their own convenience. In addition to professional agricultural education courses, students may take courses in areas such as agricultural economics, animal science, biochemistry, and plant pathology. The degree requires 32 credit hours of study and does not require an original research component. Students may participate in student organizations such as Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, the Collegiate Farm Bureau, or the Honor Society of Agriculture. Students may also choose to pursue a teaching certificate in agricultural education.
Oklahoma State was founded in 1890 as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act. Now a public land- and sun-grant university, it is categorized in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. Located in Stillwater, it is the flagship institution of the Oklahoma State University System. The campus includes a Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering Lab, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, and Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products. The Princeton Review included OK State on its 2018 list of the nation's "Green Colleges." U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 80 among national public institutions.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,019 in-state; $24,539 out-of-state
#13 – Iowa State University
Master of Science in Agricultural Education
Iowa State University offers an online Master of Science in Agricultural Education. Students may choose to specialize in Agricultural Extension Education. The curriculum requires 30 credits of study. This requirement includes 13 credits of electives, allowing students to explore their areas of interest. Course offerings include Instructional Methods, Learning Theory, and Program Planning. Non-thesis students must complete a culminating creative component. Graduates are prepared for careers as agricultural communicators, agriculture teachers, or extension professionals. The program is typically completed in two to two and a half years.
Iowa State has its roots in agricultural education: It was established in 1858 as Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm. The campus' early features included the Farm House and the Iowa Experiment Station. The college offered training in farming and engineering and was a playground for agricultural experimentation. Today, the university is a member of the Association of American Universities, which is comprised of North America's leading research universities. Located in Ames, Iowa State is Iowa's flagship institution and largest university. Washington Monthly ranks Iowa State No. 74 of all universities nationwide.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,988 in-state; $23,392 out-of-state
#12 – Auburn University
Master of Agriculture in Agronomy and Soils;
Master of Science in Agronomy and Soils
Auburn University offers both a Master of Agriculture and a Master of Science in Agronomy and Soils. Both degree programs can be completed entirely online. Both programs focus on the science of crops, the environment, and soils. Students may pursue specialized study in fields such as environmental quality, plant breeding and genetics, soil chemistry, and weed science. The core program curriculum covers botany, chemistry, genetics, plant physiology, and more. The MS program is thesis-based, incorporating classroom and research training. The MAg program is a non-thesis program that emphasizes classroom training and includes an oral exam, professional paper, and an exit seminar presentation.
Auburn was chartered in 1856 as a male college and in 1872, it became the first public land-grant university in Alabama and was renamed as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. It is the second-largest university in Alabama and one of the state's two flagship universities. Located in Auburn, the university's campus is home to the Old Rotation soil fertility experiment. The Old Rotation is one of the oldest continuous agricultural experiments in the United States. The university's Dr. David Bransby experimented with switchgrass as a biofuel, a project which was referenced in the 2006 State of the Union Address.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,276 in-state; $30,520 out-of-state
#11 – University of Missouri
Master of Science in Agricultural Leadership, Communication, and Education
The University of Missouri awards a Master of Science in Agricultural Leadership, Communication, and Education. The degree program offers a thesis and a non-thesis option, both of which can be completed entirely online. The non-thesis program requires 32 credits of graduate study, culminating in a creative component. The thesis option requires 30 credits of coursework, plus the thesis research, preparation, and defense. Core courses for both options include Leadership Theory and Application, Media Ethics, and Philosophical Foundations of Agricultural Education and Leadership. Elective offerings include College Teaching of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and Student and Teacher Development in Agricultural Education and Leadership.
Mizzou was the primary public university west of the Mississippi River. Following a period of closure due to the Civil War, the school was given land-grant college status, and resulted in the extension of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy and the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station. The Station evolved into a network of research centers and farms across the state. The land- and space-grant university is now a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. Its College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources have the university's highest sponsored research expenditures. Nobel Prize-winning maize cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock is a Mizzou alumnus.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,972 in-state; $27,042 out-of-state
#10 – Southern Arkansas University
Master of Business Administration with Agri-Business Emphasis
Southern Arkansas University awards a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Agri-Business. Offered through the Rankin College of Business, the program can be completed on campus or entirely online. It is designed primarily for individuals who hold a Bachelor of Business Administration degrees. Those who do not have a BBA can meet requirements by completing a 24-hour prerequisite program. The degree requires 33 credits of study. The curriculum covers advanced topics in agriculture markets, agricultural policies, international agriculture trade, supply chain management, and beyond. Students who take two classes per semester, including the summer, can complete the degree in two years.
SAU began as an agriculture-focused high school and has since evolved into a public university with colleges of business, education, liberal and performing arts, and science and engineering. The university occupies a rural campus in Magnolia, Arkansas. The university's Rankin College of Business is home to centers including the Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center and the Center for Economic Education and Research. The business college also hosts an annual Executive Network conference, which allows students to interact with successful SAU business alumni.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,786 in-state; $12,866 out-of-state
#9 – University of Nebraska
Master of Science in Agronomy
The University of Nebraska offers an online program Master of Science in Agronomy. The degree program includes both asynchronous and synchronous classes, meaning students will both participate in live sessions and access content at their own pace. Students can choose from three specialization options: Crop Physiology and Production, Plant Breeding and Genetics, and Range and Forage Sciences. Students may follow a thesis track, which requires a minimum of 30 credits of study. The two non-thesis track options each require a minimum of 36 credits. One non-thesis track requires a minor area of study, while the other requires more advanced coursework. All students must culminate their studies with a comprehensive exam.
Located in Lincoln, UNL is the oldest university in Nebraska and the largest in the University of Nebraska system. The public research university is particularly noted for its pioneering research in agricultural science. The university's "Nebraska method" of the ecological study was at the root of significant developments in grassland ecology and theoretical ecology. The University of Nebraska State Museum prominently features natural history exhibits, such as Mammoth fossils. The campus' Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum houses 40 historical tractors. U.S. News & World Report lists UNL at No. 95 nationally for best value and No. 61 among public universities.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,242 in-state; $25,038 out-of-state
#8 – Ohio State University
Master of Science in Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership
Ohio State University offers a Master of Science in Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership. The program is designed to meet the needs of full-time working professionals. All courses are delivered online, but the program requires one annual face-to-face meeting per year. Sample courses include Documenting Change through Evaluation and Accountability, Leadership and Administration in Agricultural and Extension Education, and Strategic and Program Planning. Other course offerings include Adult Learning and Professional Development and Emerging Trends and Issues in Agricultural and Extension Education.
Ohio State was founded in 1870 as a land-grant university called Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. It has since grown into a comprehensive public university and the third-largest university in the United States by on-campus enrollment. OSU has a main campus in Columbus and five regional campuses across Ohio. The land-, sea-, and space-grant research institution is a member of the Association of American Universities. It is also counted among the nation's "Public Ivy" universities, indicating it offers a quality of education comparable to private Ivy League institutions. The university's research facilities include the Chadwick Arboretum, the Museum of Biological Diversity, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $ in-state; $ out-of-state
#7 – Kansas State University
Master of Agribusiness
Kansas State University offers a Master of Agribusiness. The degree program is designed for working agribusiness managers who aim to advance their skills in the field. Course material is delivered primarily through distance learning, including through DVD and online recitations. The program requires four-week, on-campus sessions during the program. The curriculum focuses on agribusiness management, animal health, and food. Courses include Applied Econometric Analysis, Behavioral Management Theory, and International Agribusiness Policy Analysis. The curriculum culminates in an Agricultural Economics Analysis seminar and a master's research thesis. The degree requires 42 credit hours of study and is designed to be completed in two and a half years.
KSU opened in 1863 as Kansas' land-grant college and first public institution of higher learning. The public university has a main campus in Manhattan, Kansas, and branch campuses in Olathe and Salina. The Olathe Innovation Campus focuses on graduate research in animal health, bioenergy, food safety, and security, and plant science. The university has a historic focus on agriculture, and particularly on the animal and plant life of the Great Plains region. The Manhattan campus includes a horticulture display garden, and the university also operates the nearby Konza Prairie preserve research station and Agricultural Experiment Stations throughout Kansas. The university's agricultural research areas include agricultural biosecurity and animal diseases. KSU is categorized in the top tier of national research universities by the Carnegie Foundation.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,383 in-state; $25,880 out-of-state
#6 – University of Georgia
Master of Agricultural and Environmental Education
The University of Georgia awards a Master of Agricultural and Environmental Education. The degree program can be completed on campus or fully online. It prepares graduates to communicate, lead, and teach in the areas of the environment, food, and social systems. Required core courses include Diffusion of Innovations and Program Development for Agricultural Leaders. Elective offerings include Grantseeking, History and Philosophy of Agricultural Education, and International Agricultural Development. The degree requires 36 semester hours of graduate coursework, which can be completed on a thesis or non-thesis track. Students also have the option to pursue teacher certification and/or a graduate certificate in Sustainability.
Founded in 1785, UGA is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Located in Athens, Georgia, the public research university is the state's flagship institution. The university's North Campus is a designated historic district with extensive green space. UGA operates five 4-H centers throughout Georgia, which specialize in educating young people about agricultural and environmental awareness, communication and leadership skills, energy conservation, and health and nutrition. Other off-campus agricultural education sites include Double Bridges Farm, the UGA Teaching Dairy, and the Wilkins Beef Unit. U.S. News & World Report ranks UGA at No. 46 among universities nationwide and No. 13 among public universities.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,830 in-state; $30,400 out-of-state
#5 – University of Arkansas
Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education
The University of Arkansas offers a Master of Science in Agricultural and Extension Education entirely online. It is designed for agricultural science and extension teachers and education professionals, as well as agricultural communications or technologies professionals. The degree requires 33 credit hours of study. This includes three core courses: Interpreting Social Data in Agriculture, Philosophy of Agricultural and Extension Education, and Research Methodology in the Social Sciences. Other course offerings include a Grant Writing Seminar, Utilizing Online Media, and Volunteer Management. Online students typically complete the program on a non-thesis track. The degree can be completed in two to three years.
U of A was established on a hilltop farm overlooking the Ozark Mountains. It has since expanded into a public research university and the largest university in Arkansas. The land- and space-grant institution is noted for its agriculture programs, particularly in the areas of animal and poultry science. The Division of Agriculture operates statewide programs in environmental sustainability, food safety and security, and human nutrition and health. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of A No. 78 among public universities nationwide.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,130 in-state; $25,168 out-of-state
#4 – Purdue University
Master of Science/Business Administration in Food and Agribusiness Management;
Master of Science in Agricultural Economics
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University offers two relevant degrees: a Master of Science-Master of Business Administration in Food and Agribusiness Management, and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics. The MS-MBA option allows students to earn both the MS in Agricultural Economics and a Master of Business Administration. Both agribusiness degree programs are designed to be completed primarily online. Each class requires five-week residency sessions, including international experiences. Both programs are designed for working agricultural professionals. The curriculum is organized into 12-week modules, culminating in a capstone project. MS courses include Economics for Food and Agribusiness Managers, Law and Ethics in Business, and Strategic Marketing Management. The MS program can be completed in 21 months, and the MS-MBA program requires an additional six months of study.
Purdue receives a significant amount of research funding from organizations including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Among Purdue alumni is Professor Reuben J. Olembo, a Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Times Higher Education ranked Purdue No. 64 in its World University Rankings for 2019.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,992 in-state; $28,794 out-of-state
#3 – Texas A&M University
Master of Agriculture
College Station, TX
Texas A&M University offers a distance education program leading to a Master of Agriculture. The degree program is ideal for students interested in fields such as agricultural leadership, instructional design, or rural community development. It is a non-thesis program that emphasizes applied problem-solving skills. It requires 36 semester hours of study, including 12 hours in residence. The core curriculum includes Frontiers in Research, History and Philosophy of Agricultural Education, and Methods of Technological Change. Students may choose to complete a culminating professional internship experience. All students are required to write a professional paper.
A&M was founded in 1871 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. It was the first public institution of higher education in the state. Now a public research university, it has since grown into the largest university in Texas and the second-largest in the United States. It is a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. The university's research facilities include the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology. A&M scientists created the world's first cloned cat. The university is also a member of the consortium to construct the Giant Magellan Telescope. Washington Monthly ranks A&M No. 11 in the nation in its 2018 rankings.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870 in-state; $37,490 out-of-state
#2 – North Carolina State University
Master of Agricultural and Extension Education
North Carolina State University offers a Master of Agricultural and Extension Education. The online degree program is designed primarily for current agriculture teachers or those who wish to work with the Cooperative Extension Service. Course material is delivered through lecture videos, online activities and communication tools, and other media materials. The degree requires 36 credits of study. Beyond the core curriculum, students can choose electives in areas such as animal science, forestry, horticulture, or youth education. The curriculum culminates in a project in an area such as curriculum development, mentoring, or research inquiry. Students may choose to concurrently pursue the university's Licensure in Education for Agricultural Professionals program for certification to teach agriculture in public schools.
NC State was founded in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. It has since grown into one of the largest universities in the United States. Located in Raleigh, the public research university marks one corner of the region's Research Triangle. It operates the Plants for Human Health Institute through the North Carolina Research Campus biotechnology hub. The institution includes research and Cooperative Extension components in the nutritional properties of crops. In 2018, Washington Monthly ranked NC State No. 67 among universities nationwide.
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,101 in-state; $28,444 out-of-state
#1 – Texas Tech University
Master of Science in Agricultural Communications
Texas Tech University offers Grad School Hub's top online graduate degree in agricultural business. The university's Master of Science in Agricultural Communications can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to prepare graduates to succeed in agribusiness, agricultural communications, education and extension, and government service. It is most suitable for those with undergraduate degrees in a communications-related field. The core curriculum consists of two courses: Foundations of Agricultural Communications, and Risk & Crisis Communications in Agriculture and Natural Resources. Elective offerings include Public Opinion in Agriculture and Natural Resources and Utilizing Online Media in Agricultural Communications. Students can pursue a 30-credit thesis track or a 36-credit non-thesis track. Non-thesis students must study a support area such as advertising, agricultural education, or journalism. In lieu of a thesis, the non-thesis option culminates in an exam or advanced communications project.
Established in 1923, Texas Tech is a public state research university. The university conducts prominent research in areas such as atmospheric sciences, pulsed power, and wind energy. The university established the National Wind Institute in the wake of the 1970 Lubbock Tornado. The institute's researchers contributed to the development of the Enhanced Fujita Scale for ranking tornado strength. The College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources have conducted state- and federally funded research in the antibacterial and fiber properties of cotton and fabrics that protect against chemical warfare. The college has also developed two variants of turfgrass. U.S. News & World Report counts Texas Tech among the top 100 public universities in the nation.