Master of Applied Science Degree

The Master of Applied Science degree is designed for those whose educational objective is to pursue a professional degree in agriculture, food, and natural resources at the master's level. The Master of Applied Science is a flexible and personalized practitioner degree program for:

  • Individuals directly involved in agriculture, food, and natural resource related industries
  • Working agricultural and natural resource professionals and science educators needing advanced education

The program is available to both residential and distance students.


Note that not all course work areas offer the depth of distance-delivered courses to build a program based entirely on distance delivered courses. Please consult the list of available CASNR online classes.

Agricultural & Biological Systems Engineering
Agricultural Economics
Grassland Management Certificate

Animal Science
Food Science & Technology
Food Safety & Defense Certificate
Advanced Horticulture Certificate
Floriculture & Nursery Production Management Certificate
Ornamentals, Landscape, & Turf Certificate
Leadership Education
Mechanized Systems Management
Natural Resource Sciences
Veterinary Science


Graduate specializations are a focused collection of courses (minimum of 9 credit hours) within one or more major programs. Students declare a specialization when applying for admission to the MAS or when establishing a plan of study. The specialization is reported on the student’s transcript.

Major Admission Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree in life sciences or related area, such as biological or physical science, and experience in applied science
  • 3.00 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  • A written personal statement explaining why you want to pursue a Master of Applied Science degree. Please describe how obtaining this degree will help your personal, career, and/or professional goals. Describe your level of commitment to the successful completion of this degree.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A GRE is not required
  • NOTE: If you reside in the state(s) KY, please contact a program advisor before applying.
NOTE: When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed

Online or In the Classroom

While some course work areas are supported by distance-delivered courses to the extent that a student may complete a degree without ever being on campus, others are completed in the more traditional residential student setting.


Since this is a college-wide degree program, there is flexibility in the selection of course work areas to create a personalized program. Students work with their advisors and examining committee to customize a program of study with the goal of best fitting the student's educational objective(s). View Advisor Guidelines for MAS Students.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Applied Science (MAS) degree program requires the following:

30 credit hours of graduate course work that may represent broad flexibility.

  • 15 of the 30 credit hours must be exclusively in course work areas related to agriculture and natural resources.
  • 50% or more of the course work must be University of Nebraska-Lincoln credit.
  • A comprehensive examination, either written and/or oral.
    • The successful completion of a degree project, including examination by the Examining and Advisory Committee, may serve in lieu of a written comprehensive examination.
  • The final oral examination over the degree project and program of study.
    • Where appropriate, a professional competency or certification exam may be required as part of the final examination.

NOTE: The MAS with a Community Development Specialization is an exception; this specific degree program requires 36 graduate credit hours.

The NU Graduate College offers master's degrees under two Options. Because this degree typically involves a project it denotes Option B, Option A which requires a thesis is not described. If interested in Option A, it will be important to discuss with one’s advisor.

  • At least 15 credit hours in an area of concentration
    • may be interdisciplinary
    • includes a 3-6 hour degree project
  • At least 15 hours in a secondary area of emphasis
    • May include a minor of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department. Note, the examining committee must include a member from the minor department.
  • At least 15 credit hours must be graduate-only courses.

Degree Project Guidelines

A unique feature of the Master of Applied Science program is the degree project. The research degree project is not the traditional master's thesis, but is instead specifically intended to be of immediate value in the student's workplace for career advancement.

  1. Identify, in collaboration with the advisor, a degree project in an area of interest associated with the area of concentration. This occurs about when half of the required coursework has been completed and the Memorandum of Courses is filed.
  2. The degree project may involve field, laboratory and/or library research, dependent on the area of concentration and the student’s career.
  3. After conducting the necessary research, prepare a paper (including a literature review) describing the degree project and findings. The paper should be between 15-20 pages in length.
  4. The advisor reviews the project paper; once approved, the advisor signs the Final Examination Report (4 weeks before the final oral exam) and submits the form to the Master’s Programs Coordinator in the Office of Graduate Studies. If the project paper is used in lieu of the comprehensive exam, the advisor must notify the Master’s Program Coordinator of the results.
  5. The examining committee must review the paper in preparation for the presentation of the degree project’s findings.
  6. The degree project findings must be presented to the student’s examining committee in a seminar open to the academic community (this is the final oral examination). The presentation should be no more than 20 minutes in length with an additional 10 minutes reserved for questions and answers. The presentation may be presented using slides or some form of multimedia, e.g., animations, video.
  7. The chair of the committee, the advisor, will facilitate the evaluation of the degree project, which should involve time for the examining committee to review the paper and presentation, and assign a final grade.
  8. Once approved, the examining committee members will sign the "Final Examination Report" form, assign a grade and file the appropriate graduate forms with the Graduate Office.

Questions? Please Contact:

Matthew Douglass

Chair, Master of Applied Science Graduate Committee
402-270-7220 |

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Katie Forrest

Undergraduate Applied Science Academic Advisor
402-472-2201 |