Mission and Objectives

The Master of Science in Agriculture (MSAG) graduate program is governed by official bylaws (pdf), approved by the MSAG Steering Committee, the Graduate School, and the WSU Faculty Senate. These bylaws define the qualifications for membership in the MSAG Graduate Faculty, administration of the program, and composition of graduate student committees. View the full MSAG Assessment Plan (pdf).

Mission of the Program

The mission of the Master of Science in Agriculture degree program is to enhance the career trajectory of agricultural professionals, practitioners, and educators by improving their ability to apply new and emerging scientific findings and technologies to the advancement and expansion of their disciplines through:

  1. Successful completion of high-quality courses designed to support expertise expansion in targeted areas or disciplines;
  2. Participation in an immersion-based, high-quality research experience, internships, or project-based experience;
  3. Opportunities to disseminate knowledge through participation in and/or development of extension programs or media

The degree program is primarily designed to support the educational advancement of place-bound, time-bound students in an online course delivery format; however, students on campus also may access the degree program.

The overall goal of the program is to prepare Master’s level graduates for professional, practitioner, and educator opportunities in agricultural and related fields, so that they may provide leadership and disseminate knowledge to an increasingly complex society.

MS in Agriculture Program Objectives

  1. To prepare students to become experts in professional fields related to agriculture.
  2. To prepare students to become outstanding educators or practitioners in agricultural disciplines.
  3. To prepare students to become outstanding leaders and team players in collaborative and interdisciplinary application of their expertise to address local, regional, national and/or global problems associated with agriculture.
  4. To provide students with an experiential-based research opportunity designed to translate content provided in coursework to reality.
  5. To both enhance the visibility and impact of graduate programs in agricultural sciences and provide students with a pathway for manifesting their career objectives.

Option-specific Objectives

Food Science and Management (FSM): To address the demand for managers who understand both research and economic factors affecting food production, the FSM option is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of food science through courses in the food science core, as well as executive management skills gained through courses in the management core.

Plant Health Management (PHM): To meet the expanding demand for plant health management specialists to promote food security and food safety on a global scale, the PHM option is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of the essential components of plant protection through courses in the plant health management core, as well as a basic understanding of market aspects of the business through courses in the management core.

Student Learning Outcomes 

1a. Expand breadth of knowledge and expertise in agricultural disciplines and closely related fields.

1b. Increase depth of knowledge and expertise in agriculture as related to the student’s professional goals.

1c. Enhance the ability to adapt to emerging changes in technology, economics, societal influences, and communication that have a dramatic impact on the agricultural industry.

2a. Develop critical thinking skills and the ability to assess and comprehend societal problems, stakeholder concerns, and scientific questions that formulate major issues to be addressed through applied and/or basic research.

2b. Develop scientific literacy by independently assessing, interpreting, and summarizing literature and other sources of knowledge on the research topic.

2c. Develop research objectives, research questions, and/or hypotheses through the use of logic and critical thinking.

2d. Propose, evaluate or execute experimental protocol regarding the stated hypothesis, or develop a clearly defined project topic with a plan for investigation and evaluation of collected data.

2e. Collect, summarize, and interpret data.

2f. Effectively communicate at different levels the results of research in written, graphic, and verbal modes.

3a. Acquire advanced knowledge and skills necessary to function as an effective leader, manager, or team player.

3b. Identify, assess and address the interactions among the many issues associated with agriculture and society at large.

3c. Foster commitment to ethical behavior and appreciation for diversity, global cultures, traditions, and perspectives.