Online Masters FAQ
Q: How many times will I have to go to campus?
A: Zero. You’re welcome to visit campus, or even take courses here if you’d like, but all requirements for the degree can be completed at a distance. All courses are delivered within the Canvas Course Management Platform. You can learn more about Canvas at Instructor's website http://www.instructure.com/. Meetings with your adviser and committee members, as well as presentation of your final project will all be conducted with modern videoconferencing software.
Q: What are online courses really like?
A: Every course is different, but most modern online courses are interactive and engaging. Distance education of the past involved watching per-recorded lectures or sitting through synchronous class times on video networks and awkwardly communicating through a microphone. Times have changed. You won’t spend the majority of your time taking notes on lengthy recorded lectures, and you won’t have assigned class times. Instead, your courses will always be asynchronous, which means you log in and learn on your schedule, not ours. You’ll be engaged in creating and developing projects that apply to your field of study. Instructors will help you learn the big concepts and processes, then let you apply them in a low-risk educational environment. If you prefer to sit back as a passive bystander and let someone else tell you what to learn, then this probably isn’t the program for you. If you want to be an active catalyst in your own education, then you’ll fit right in.
Q: I’m employed full-time; will I have time to complete an online graduate degree?
A: Yes. The online Master’s program in Murray State University’s Hutson School of Agriculture (HSOA) was designed with you in mind. Our programs are tailored to fit you, the working professional. We have recommended sequences for completing your degree in one or two years, but you can take as many or as few classes as you are comfortable taking. Many busy students choose the 2-year course sequence which allows you to make steady progress, ultimately completing your degree in two years, without taking more than two courses in any given semester.
Q: How much will a Master’s degree cost?
A: Murray State University tuition rates can be found at the following link:http://www.murraystate.edu/Admissions/BursarsOffice/Costs.aspx. This rate is the same for all online graduate students, regardless of the state in which you reside. There’s no doubt a Master’s degree is a major financial investment, but it’s also one that pays dividends. According to a 2009 report by the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, people with Master’s degrees will earn an average of $403,000 more over the course of a career than their Bachelor’s degree-holding counterparts.
Q: I’ve heard I have to write a thesis to earn a Master’s degree, is that true?
A: No. While some on-campus students choose to write a thesis for their degree, many choose instead to complete a creative component. As a non-thesis program, all students in the online Master’s program are required to complete a creative component. You will work with your faculty advisor to design a meaningful project that is tailored to your interests and goals. Many students choose a project that dovetails into their current professional work. Guidelines for creative components can be found at the following on the online master forms and guidelines.
Q: What are comprehensive exams?
A: Comprehensive exams are conducted as part of your final oral presentation. Your adviser will consult with the other members of your graduate committee to identify appropriate questions. You will be given the questions a couple weeks prior to your presentation so you have plenty of time to prepare. During your oral presentation, your committee members will use the questions to generate discussion on important topics relevant to your area of emphasis.
Q: Do I get to choose an advisor or will one be assigned to me?
A: You will initially be assigned a temporary adviser. Your temporary adviser will help you get started in the right direction, but ultimately you’ll choose your adviser. Select an adviser from among the graduate faculty members in the Hutson School of Agriculture. Faculty members in the Hutson School of Agriculture specialize in a variety of areas including Agribusiness, Agricultural Education & Communications, Agricultural Systems Technology, Agronomy, Animal Science, Horticulture, and Soil Science. Contact information for each graduate faculty member, as well as videos detailing teaching responsibilities, research interests, and teaching/advising philosophies are available on the graduate faculty page. Please feel free to contact any of the faculty members by phone or email. If you are considering an emphasis area, your adviser should work in that area of expertise.
Q: What is a committee and will I need one?
A: A committee is a group of three faculty members, including your adviser, who will work with you to ensure that you meet your educational goals. You’ll work with your adviser to create your committee during your first or second semester of enrollment.
Q: How do tests work in an online Master’s program?
A: Remember your undergraduate days of cramming to study for the next exam? Well those days are behind you. Depending on the coursework you select, you’ll have very few, if any, exams. A graduate degree in agriculture is all about big-picture concepts. We’ll ask you to apply, analyze, and synthesize, but rarely to memorize. Instead of reciting your knowledge on written exams, you’ll have the chance to prove what you know by applying concepts to real world problems and projects. In the few courses that do require an exam, you’ll have the option of coming to our campus in Murray or using a remote proctor. Exam proctors can be professionals in your place of work, a local school, or another college campus. Your course instructor will have more information, and general guidelines on exam proctor requirements can be found on th online masters forms and guidelines page.
Q: Is the Agricultural Education Emphasis just for teachers?
A: No. A graduate degree in Agricultural Education prepares you for a variety of fields in agriculture, including teaching in formal and informal settings, careers in extension programs, and professionals in agribusiness. While some courses are intended for current and prospective classroom teachers, many others are designed for professionals. As businesses and organizations place more emphasis on internal training and professional development, the need for experts who can train others is on the rise. Many of our Agricultural Education courses are designed to make you better at building and delivering training programs in a variety of settings.
Admissions & Acceptance
Q: Is there an application deadline?
A: No. You can apply at any time. We encourage students to apply several months in advance of the semester in which they wish to enroll, as applications may take several weeks to process.
Q: I don’t want a degree, but I want to take some courses for a professional certification. Do I still need to enroll in the program?
A: Yes. All students wishing to take graduate courses at Murray State University are required to apply for admission as a graduate student.
Q: Do I need to take the GRE before applying to the program?
A: No, our Master of Science in Agriculture programs do not have a GRE requirement.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Congratulations on your decision to invest in your professional future. First, apply for admission at the following link: http://www.murraystate.edu/Admissions/GraduateStudents.aspx. Your application materials will be reviewed by the University Admissions Department and
the HSOA Graduate Program Coordinator. Once admitted, you will be assigned a temporary adviser and contacted by the Hutson School of Agriculture with additional information about how to get started.
Q: I have more questions, who should I contact?
A: Feel free to contact the HSOA online graduate coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (270) 809-3051. If your question is specific to a particular field of study, you may also want to contact a faculty member in that discipline. You can find contact information for our graduatefaculty on the graduate faculty page under the online masters program.