The online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate program (non-academic) from the UNL Department of Agronomy and Horticulture is designed for busy professionals who want to advance their careers, improve their productivity, and further their understanding of the latest technology and methods used in plant breeding and genetics.
By learning about the principles of plant genetics, crop genetic engineering, plant pathology, and crop protection, students are equipped with the skills to nurture the next generation of seeds to energize the world and their future.
Students can either take individual courses to further their understanding in specific subjects, or they can enroll in the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate program (non-academic). To earn the certificate, students must complete 12 units, including 6 core units and 6 elective units.
- This program is entirely online, allowing students to learn at their own pace while working full-time.
- Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) earn continuing education units (CEUs) for each course in the program.
- Students learn from the expert faculty at UNL, who regularly interact with seed industry professionals.
- The cost of this program is competitive, easing the financial burden on students while giving them access to education that can change their careers.
Feed & Energize Our World
The population of the world is expected to hit 9.7 billion people by 2050. We need more efficient and hardy crops to adequately feed this massive population. Students of this program will gain the skills they need to contribute new and innovative solutions to this global issue of food production.
Courses are entirely online, and range from 5-16 weeks in length. Students can either take individual courses for continuing education units (CEUs), or they can enroll in the 12-unit online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate for further expertise. Students in the certificate program can also earn CEUs for renewing their professional certifications.
The courses feature both synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods. The synchronous courses consist of live meetings but are also recorded for later viewing so students can access the materials at their convenience. Asynchronous courses allow students to create their own schedules. Students are given deadlines for tests and assignments to ensure timely completion of the course. Online discussion forums and virtual live meetings allow students to interact with their peers and instructors, discuss the course material, and ask questions. For the majority of courses in the program, textbooks are not required.
The curriculum focuses on:
- Basic genetic principles
- Plant breeding methods for self- and cross-pollinated crops
- Identifying germplasm
- Crop genetic engineering
- Crop protection topics, e.g. the genetics of pest resistance management
- Genotype and environment interactions
- Plant pathology and weed science
Although previous experience or a specific degree is not required to enroll, UNL strongly recommends that students have a bachelors degree and/or a foundation in plant science or genetics or approval to enroll from current instructors or staff in the program. These foundations can include:
- Undergraduate coursework in plant science or genetics
- Undergraduate coursework in biology or other natural sciences
- UNL Refresher Courses in Genetic Principles, Plant Science, or Plant Breeding for Non-Plant Breeders
Prospective students can take this free online test to determine if they should enroll in a refresher course. To take the test, simply register as a new visitor to the Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary. Email Diane Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about registering and taking the online test.
The cost of each course ranges from $270 to $750, depending on the number of units earned in the course. Students need to complete 12 units—6 required core units and 6 elective units—to earn the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate.
Cost per Course: $270–$750
Cost of 6 Core Units: $1,570
Cost of 6 Elective Units: $1,620–$2,100
Total Cost to Earn the Professional Certificate: $3,190–$3,670
There are no additional university fees outside of the cost of the courses. The registration deadline for each course is one week prior to the course start date. If a student registers after that date, they are subject to a $25 late fee.
Explore available courses and cost per course.