What is this program?

This is an online professional certificate program offered by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Learners who complete the program will earn a Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate.

The curriculum is made up of 6 required core units and 6 elective units. Individuals learn about the latest technology and methods used in plant breeding and genetics from Nebraska’s experienced faculty, including practical knowledge like:

  • Basic genetic principles
  • Plant breeding methods for self- and cross-pollinated crops
  • Identifying germplasm
  • Crop genetic engineering
  • Crop protection, e.g. the genetics of pest resistance
  • Genotype and environment interactions
  • Plant pathology and weed science
  • Seed development and seed production

Learners also have the option of taking individual modules to further their education and gain professional expertise. With an entirely online curriculum, learners can take modules from anywhere they have a high-speed internet connection. Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) who enroll in this program also earn continuing education units (CEUs) to renew their certification.

Register for the online professional certificate.

Register for an individual module.

What are the benefits?

Enrolling in modules with UNL's online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate program gives learners specialized knowledge in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology. This program is designed for working professionals, so they can further their careers while continuing to work full-time.

Benefits of this professional certificate include:

  • An entirely online curriculum that allows individuals to learn at their own pace
  • Modules are taught by experienced faculty who regularly consult with industry professionals
  • Direct access to UNL faculty and fellow classmates through virtual meetings and online discussion forums
  • Up-to-date information that can immediately benefit individuals in their careers
  • Affordable tuition per unit
  • Continuing education units for Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs)

Who is this program for?

This program is designed for ambitious professionals who currently work, or want to work, in the seed industry. Learners who benefit most from this program include:

  • Personnel supporting plant breeding research
  • Crop consultants and Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs)
  • Agribusiness professionals
  • Crop managers and supervisors in the plant breeding industry
  • Individuals interested in working in seed production and plant breeding
  • Government regulators

Do learners need prior experience to enroll in this program?

Although specific training and/or degrees are not required to enroll in the program, it is strongly recommended that learners have a foundation in plant science and genetics, including undergraduate coursework in plant science, genetics, biology, or other natural sciences.

For learners who have no prior experience with plant science and genetics or who feel they need to refresh on the basic principles, the UNL Plant Breeding and Genetics Certificate program offers the following three refresher modules to bring learners up to speed:

Units earned in these modules do not count toward the online professional certificate, but learners do earn continuing education credits (CEUs), as well as gaining valuable knowledge that will assist in their success in the program.

Learners who are unsure whether or not a refresher module is necessary are encouraged to take this free online test. To take the test, simply register as a new visitor to the Plant & Soil Sciences eLibrary. Contact Diane Nolan at with any questions about registering for or taking the online test.

How much does it cost?

The cost per module ranges from $270 to $750, depending on the module. Visit the module page to find the costs per module.

To earn the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate, learners must take 7 required core units and 5 elective units for a total of 12 units.

Cost per Module:

1-unit module = $270

2-unit module = $490

3-unit module = $750

Total Cost to Earn the Professional Certificate: $3,190–$3,240 (Modules are offered continuously throughout the year.)

There are no additional university fees outside of the costs of the modules. The registration deadline for each module is one week prior to the module start date. If a learner registers after that date, they are subject to a $25 late fee.

At a Glance