Frequently Asked Questions for Online Degree

  • Prospective Graduate Students

    What is an online course like?

    The Agriculture Program uses Blackboard Collaborate software for its online programs; all classes are synchronous, which means our online courses start and end at specific times of the day – usually during the weeknight evening hours in the Central Time Zone. For some courses, the instructor teaches on-campus students in a classroom simultaneous to online students participating virtually. Students are able to see and hear the course instructor, view a screen of information (like Power Point slides, for example), see a list of logged in students, and contribute to real-time course proceedings through participation in chat boxes and sharing comments through their computer’s microphone mechanism. (We strongly recommend that online students invest in a headset for this purpose.) Outside of class time, students regularly connect with faculty by email and phone.

    What hardware and software do I need for online courses?

    Online students need a computer able to manage multiple software applications simultaneously, a broadband internet connection (a strong enough connection equal to watching standard definition online video), a relatively currently internet browser, and an audio headset. Blackboard Collaborate does not need to be purchased – it can loaded for free from the relevant course website.

    What is the difference between the on-campus and online programs?

    The On-Campus Master of Science in Agricultural Education degree requires students to complete 32 hours of approved graduate level courses on campus over a span of five years. The on-campus degree has a thesis and non-thesis option. The program also provides the teacher certification option for those interested in a profession as an agricultural education instructor. Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees must complete the on-campass program. On-campus students must apply for admission before January 15th. The Online Master of Science in Agricultural Education enables students to take a series of web-based courses from anywhere in the world! All courses are offered during the evening hours, and fulfill the same requirements as the on-campus degree. Each student is required to complete 32 hours of approved graduate level courses over a span of five years, and GRE scores are not required for admission. Individuals who are currently teaching with a provisional certificate in Illinois can become certified through the online degree program. Unlike the on-campus program, the online program offers an open admissions policy. The deadline to apply in the fall is June 15th, spring is November 15th, and summer is March 15th.

    Can I "try out" an online class before applying?

    Definitely! You can register for any online AGED course as a “non-matriculated” student – and earn up to nine credits without applying. Learn about the registration process

    Can I become licensed to teach in public schools while earning a degree online?

    Students who currently reside and serve as Provisional Teachers in the state of Illinois can leverage their experience as an online Masters student in the Agricultural Education Program to gain a license to teach in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to provide this service to applicants outside the state of Illinois, or for states other than Illinois.

    What does it cost to take classes?

    The specific costs can be found on the University of Illinois Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) website. Costs for Agricultural Education online courses fall under the “Graduate Base Rate.” To receive a Master’s Degree, students need to earn 32 total credits.

    Is a thesis or comprehensive exam part of the program?

    There is no comprehensive exam in the AGED Master’s degree program like there is for other programs. Completing a Master’s thesis is an option for students. Those who do not complete a thesis complete a “Master’s Project” that often represents constructing a theoretical capstone educational program focused on their career and personal interests.

    What can I do with a graduate degree in Agricultural Education?

    What CAN'T you do with an Agricultural Education degree? The opportunities with an Agricultural Education degree are endless! Graduates from the Agricultural Education Program are involved in a variety of rewarding careers, including careers in education, marketing, sales, extension, training, and finance!

    What does someone do with a Master's Degree in Agricultural Education?

    Our students use their degree for a variety of purposes: earn a promotion or raise at their current place of employment, as proof of increased knowledge and skill to enter a new profession, or in conjunction with a process coordinated by the Council on Teacher Education, license them to teach in the State of Illinois.

    How would I know if a course transfers here?

    Often times, graduate courses can be trasferred to the Agricultural Education Program. The Graduate College provides more information on transferring a course into the program.

    What courses will be offered each semester?

    Each semester, this depends on the needs of our enrolled students and availability of our faculty and staff.  The AGED Program does not always offer the same courses at the same times and semesters each academic year.

    How many courses am I allowed to register for per semester?

    There is no upper limit allowed. However, most students have provided the advice that more than three courses for full-time on-campus students and two courses for part-time online students is not typically advisable.

    What if I start a class and I decide it is not for me?

    Students who drop a course prior to the tenth day of instruction receive a full (100%) refund of the tuition and fees. Thereafter, no refund is allowed. For the exact refund dates for a given regular term, consult the website of the Office of Admissions and Records. For nonstandard length course sections, refund periods are determined proportionately.

    Graduate students may drop a course without receiving a grade of W until the end of the twelfth week of instruction in the fall and spring semesters. Deadlines may be found in the graduate calendar.

    What is the learning process like in the online program?

    Our online classes in Agricultural Education are, for the most part, synchronous, which means our online courses start and end at specific times of the day – usually during the weeknight evening hours in the Central Time Zone. We use Blackboard Collaborate software. Students are able to see and hear the course instructor, view a screen of information (like PowerPoint slides, for example), see a list of logged in students, and contribute to real-time course proceedings through participation in chat boxes and sharing comments through their computer’s microphone mechanism. (We strongly recommend that online students invest in a headset for this purpose.) Outside of class time, students regularly connect with faculty by email and phone.

    Do students and professors communicate during the online courses? Do they have discussions?

    The AGED online courses are designed to facilitate discussion between faculty and students and among students. The specific Blackboard platform that the AGED Online Program uses for its on-line courses is a remarkable tool. It permits threaded conversations allowing continual on-going interaction and discussion. These discussions are a constant and invaluable part of the education process.

    Where do I get textbooks?

    When you receive the list of required textbooks in the course syllabus, you may order the required textbooks from the Illini Union Bookstore on the Urbana-Champaign campus by ordering from the Illini Union Bookstore’s website or by calling the bookstore at 217-333-2050. If you visit the bookstore, the books can be found in the Textbook Information Center downstairs. The cost and postage for all textbooks must be prepaid. You can charge them using VISA, Discover, or MasterCard. You may also utilize the Illini Book Exchange, which allows you to purchase books directly from other students. If you are ordering books elsewhere (Amazon, Half.com, or similar), be sure to ask for the correct edition and year of publication.

    Who should I contact if I have questions about the graduate program?

    Dr. David Rosch coordinates the overall graduate program and can answer most questions. If you have questions about teaching licensure, please contact Dr. Erica Thieman.

  • Current Graduate Students

    Where can I find academic deadlines?

    The Office of the Registrar and the Graduate College Academic Calendar provide deadlines for previous, current, and future semesters.

    Where can I find information about my thesis or graduate project?

    The Graduate College is a great place to start with almost any question about graduate-level academic requirements. You can also find specific information about theses and projects