The online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional program (non-academic) 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. This program originates from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; however, participants do not receive academic credit or a formal credential.
By learning about the principles of plant genetics, crop genetic engineering, plant pathology, and crop protection, learners are equipped with the skills to nurture the next generation of seeds to energize the world and their future.
Learners may either take individual modules to further their understanding in specific subjects, or they may enroll in the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional program (non-academic). To earn a Certificate of Completion for each module, learners must demonstrate competency in the module topic. To earn a certificate for the entire program, learners must complete a combination of 12 core and elective units.
In this non-credit certificate program, (1) learners do not enroll through the University admission process for academic credit; (2) module completion requirements for attaining the non-credit certificate will be different than those required for academic credits and are based on mastery of module content; and (3) the non-credit certificate has been approved as a non-academic program for professional development. For all the reasons mentioned, learners in this program will not receive academic credit or University transcripts associated with their certificate.
- This program is entirely online, allowing individuals to learn at their own pace while working full-time.
- Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) earn continuing education units (CEUs) for each module in the program.
- 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 learners 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. Learners of this program will gain the skills they need to contribute new and innovative solutions to this global issue of food production.
Modules are entirely online, and range from 5-16 weeks in length. Learners can either take individual modules for continuing education units (CEUs), or they can enroll in the 12-unit online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate for further expertise. Learners in the certificate program can also earn CEUs for renewing their professional certifications.
The modules feature both synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods. The synchronous modules consist of live meetings but are also recorded for later viewing so learners can access the materials at their convenience. Asynchronous modules allow learners to create their own schedules. Learners are given deadlines for tests and assignments to ensure timely completion of the module. Online discussion forums and virtual live meetings allow learners to interact with their peers and instructors, discuss the module material, and ask questions. For the majority of modules 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
- Weed science
Although previous experience or a specific degree is not required to enroll, the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at UNL strongly recommends that learners 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
- Department of Agronomy and Horticulture Refresher Modules in Genetic Principles, Plant Science, or Plant Breeding for Non-Plant Breeders
Prospective learners can take this free online test to determine if they should enroll in a refresher module. 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 module ranges from $270 to $750, depending on the number of units earned in the module. Learners need to complete 12 units—7 required core units and 5 elective units—to earn the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate.
Cost per Module: $270–$750
Cost of 7 Core Units: $1,890
Cost of 5 Elective Units: $1,300–$1,350
Total Cost to Earn the Professional Certificate: $3,180–$5,010 (depending on whether learner needs refresher modules or not)
There are no additional university fees outside of the cost of the module since this is a non-academic program. The registration deadline for each module is one week prior to the start date. If a learner registers after that date, they are subject to a $25 late fee. Learners do not enroll through the University admission process for academic credit. Module completion requirements for attaining the non-credit certificate will be different than those required for academic credits and are based on mastery of module content. This non-credit certificate has been approved as a non-academic program for professional development. For all the reasons mentioned, learners in this program will not receive academic credit or University transcripts associated with their certificate.
Explore available modules and cost per module.