Graduate Student Learning Objectives/Assessment

Graduate study within the Department of Agronomy involves higher expectations and greater focus than is expected at the undergraduate level, and graduate study provides students with skills that prepare them for professional employment. The general learning objectives of individual majors (Agricultural Meteorology, Agronomy (distance learning), Crop Production and Physiology, Plant Breeding, and Soil Science) and of individual students within these majors may vary but, in general, are indicated below.

Graduates will:

  • understand central issues and current research important to their field.
  • be familiar with the breadth and depth of their field.
  • be able to communicate knowledge of their field.
  • be aware of ethical issues that pertain to their field.
  • be able to design and present a meaningful research project or creative component.
  • be able to work in groups but, at the same time, learn and work independently.
  • possess public presentation skills.
  • possess problem-solving skills.
  • possess critical thinking skills.
  • possess professional writing skills.

Learning Outcomes Statement

The Department of Agronomy graduate programs expect all students to demonstrate mastery of required coursework by maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or better (above 3.2 desired). All students will demonstrate the ability to work in teams with other students or within a research group, to design and conduct a research project or creative component, to show breadth within their field or work within multiple disciplinary areas, and to present their work both orally and in writting. In addition, all students are expected to be aware of societal and ethical issues that surround their discipline.

Mechanisms used for assessment of learning outcomes include:

  • grades received in coursework attempted.
  • writing a thesis or creative component to the satisfaction of the POS Committee.
  • defense of thesis/creative component to POS Committee.
  • oral seminar or thesis/creative component presentation.
  • exit survey with Department Chair.
  • post-graduation surveys.
  • preliminary examination (PhD only).