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Agronomy Day 2008

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University of Illinois Off-Campus Graduate
Studies Program in Crop Sciences

red barn The Office of Continuing Education, in conjunction with the College of ACES offers many opportunities for the adult learner to continue their education through degree offerings, non-credit courses/workshops and certificate programs. One of the degree options is the Off-Campus Graduate Studies (OCGS) Program in the Department of Crop Sciences. This program enables students to strengthen their education through parttime study through online course delivery and site-based programming. The program has a thirty-year history of providing University of Illinois courses to agriculture professionals across Illinois as well as in neighboring states and twenty-two years of granting M.S. degrees in Crop Sciences. Students may enroll in individual courses for personal or professional advancement or can apply for admission to the Master’s degree program in Crop Sciences. To date, hundreds of students have completed individual courses, and over 130 students have received a Master’s degree. Students who successfully complete three qualifying OCGS courses receive a Professional Development Certificate. The Off- Campus Graduate Studies Program in Crop Sciences also works in conjunction with the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Online M.S. program, the Department of Animal Sciences and the Agriculture Education Online M.S. program to offer a diverse set of courses.

The Department of Crop Sciences is looking to the future and the needs of the non-traditional student and working professional, therefore as of January, 2008 the entire degree may be completed online. Online courses are typically a blended distance education model consisting of “live” class meetings in a virtual classroom setting where student/faculty interaction is maintained to a high level. Additionally, an a-synchronous (independent) component for course readings, assignments and a student (chat) web-board is also part of most courses. By using a blended distance education model of a-synchronous (independent) plus synchronous (live) lecture sessions, the rigor and quality of the program is maintained as well as a high success level of the students in the courses. Site-based courses may still be offered occasionally in Illinois, but are not required for graduation. Online course offerings are available to in-state students, and out-of-state students at the same tuition rates. For more information on the Crop Sciences courses, degree or certificate offerings please visit or contact Heather Miller, program director at 217-265-6568 or

Energizing Agriculture