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: the degree is considered to be a terminal degree, not leading to a Ph.D.

MASTER’S DEGREE COURSE WORK AREASStudents may choose from a variety of courses and here are some possibilities:

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

Note: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 online classes.

SpecializationsGraduate 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.

Entrance Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree in agriculture, food, or natural resources, or significant practical experience in agriculture, food, or natural resources, and a degree in related areas
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is recommended
  • A GRE is not required

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

  • 36 credit hours of graduate course work that may represent broad flexibility.
    • 18 of the 36 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.
  • Option II - Master’s Degree Requirements
    • At least 18 credit hours in an area of concentration
      • may be interdisciplinary
      • includes a 3-6 hours degree project
    • At least 18 hours in a secondary area of emphasis
      • at least 9 credit hours must be completed as a minor. Note, the examining committee must include a member from the minor department.
    • At least 12 of the 36 credit hours must be in graduate-only courses.
  • Option III – Master’s Degree Requirements
    • At least 18 credit hours in an area of concentration
      • may be interdisciplinary
      • includes a 3-6 hour degree project
    • No minor is required.
    • At least 18 of the 36 credit hours must be in graduate-only courses (Note: in some course work areas, 18 credit hours of graduate-only courses may not be available).

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.
Dan Cotton

Questions? Please Contact

Dan Cotton

Coordinator of CASNR Distance Education Office