Module Delivery

The modules in the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate from UNL range from five to 16 weeks in length. To earn the certificate, learners must complete 12 units, including 7 required core units and 5 elective units. However, learners can take modules individually to meet their personal needs and goals or earn continuing education units (CEUs).

The program is a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous modules, where learners can attend live online meetings which are recorded for later viewing at the learner’s convenience. Asynchronous modules provide learners with deadlines for coursework and allow learners to work at their own pace. Online discussion forums and virtual live meetings provide learners with an opportunity to interact with their peers and instructors. The majority of modules in the program do not require textbooks.

Tests and assignments are open-note and open-book. Learners are also asked to evaluate their classmate’s work, which helps them solidify their own understanding of the material while assisting their classmates. Online discussion forums allow learners to ask questions and explore the subject even further. Faculty are available by phone or email to answer questions and advise learners.

The curriculum focuses on topics like:

  • Basic genetic principles
  • Plant breeding methods for self- and cross-pollinated crops
  • Identifying germplasm
  • Crop genetic engineering
  • Crop protection topics, e.g. genetics of pest resistance management
  • Genotype and environment interactions
  • Plant pathology
  • Weed science

View and register for modules in the online Plant Breeding and Genetics Professional Certificate program.

Computer and Technology Requirements

For the best online learning experience, individuals must have:

  • An active email account
  • A high speed internet connection
  • A current version of Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari. We do not recommend Microsoft Internet Explorer as this product no longer has Microsoft support.
  • Microsoft Office Suite such as Word, PowerPoint®, or Excel
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Flash Player
  • Headset with microphone and speaker
  • Voice over screen-capture product such as TechSmith Relay.

To complete coursework, learners also use Blackboard courseware, Canvas, Campus eXtension and the Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary.

Technical Support

If video lectures, exams, or module materials are not available when they should be, please email the module teaching assistant; Diane Nolan,, Information Technology Associate; or contact Kathy Schindler,, administrative associate. Learners can also call 855.277.8155, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for technical support.

At a Glance