Iowa State Agronomy Master's Program Reaches Milestone

May 22nd, 2009

AMES, Iowa - The Iowa State University Master of Science in Agronomy distance education program reached a milestone this spring with the graduation of its 60th student.

"This program allowed me to advance my degree and gain work experience while completing it," said Melissa Hastings, the 60th graduate from the distance education program.

The program has steadily grown since its inception in 1995. It is one of the largest graduate programs at Iowa State with 110 students enrolled in the program. Hastings was one of 13 students to graduate during the past academic year.

Ken Moore, Allen Knapp and Dick Schibles, Iowa State agronomy professors, began planning the program 11 years ago. In 1998, the Master of Science in Agronomy distance education program was opened to students and the first degree was presented in 2001.

The classes for the agronomy distance education curriculum are delivered online. Students use online technology to interact with faculty and one another without visiting the Iowa State campus. 

Most students complete their degree in three to five years. Hastings completed her coursework in a little more than three years. Moore, program director, is encouraged by the continued increase in enrollment and its impact on students.

"There is a real need to help people advance professionally without disrupting their lives," said Moore. 

Additional information about the Master of Science in Agronomy distance education program and an interview with Hastings can be found at


Ken Moore, Agronomy, (515) 294-5482,

Jesse Drew, Agronomy, (515) 294-2999,

Tyler Teske, Agronomy Communications, (515) 294-1890,