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More universities are now offering entire degree programs online, and this is especially good news for all students including international students. There are more selections than ever for them to obtain an internationally-recognized degree from the convenience of their own home. With travel restrictions hurting study abroad chances and throwing graduation plans off-kilter, an online degree might just be your best choice. You receive the same quality of expert instruction as face-to-face learning.

Virginia Tech (VT) has a uniquely positioned program that meets the evolving and dynamic needs of today’s agricultural professionals. A top-100 university in the US, this Blacksburg-based institution has extended campuses and research institutes all over the state and in Washington D.C., with an overseas center in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, to host study abroad programs. If you’re a professional seeking advancement in your career, VT’s Online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences (OMALS program) is a 100% distance learning program offering a world-class curriculum that can be accessed anywhere to suit your working schedule.

Experience a world-class curriculum, anywhere

Sounds too good to be true? Not at VT, where your OMALS degree carries equal weight and requirements as classes on campus. This postgraduate degree is administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where graduates walk away with greater industry knowledge that can be applied directly to their chosen careers. Students enrolled in OMALS can choose from one of eight concentrations for their degree, ranging from Plant Science and Pest Management and Applied Nutrition and Physical Activity to Environmental Science.

Environmental Science students can trust their education is in good hands. “Virginia Tech has one of the oldest Environmental Science undergraduate and online graduate programs in the country,” says Matt Eick, coordinator for the Environmental Science Concentration who also teaches several of its courses. “We have faculty members that teach courses which are very unique to our program. Additionally, our faculty are very experienced at teaching online courses and VT has great support services for online learners,” he adds.

Graduate student Matalin Collins was searching for a master’s program when a chance conversation propelled her to choose OMALS. “I felt the program would work well and help me to balance education and career well in a very stress-free way,” she recalls. Collins had intended to further her studies, but still wanted the flexibility of retaining her job. OMALS provided her with the right work-life balance with its online modules, and she hasn’t looked back since joining the program.

The work-at-your-own-pace structure of the OMALS program means that the graduate degree is open to learners in all stages of life. Whether you’re fresh out of your bachelor’s degree, or a mature student looking to enhance your knowledge for career advancement, the online master’s program at VT allows you to set the tone and pace of your educational journey while pursuing other professional ventures.

Virginia Tech: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Source: Virginia Tech: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

A degree for industry-wide solutions

Environmental Science at VT is tailored to help students strategically transform theories into practical real-world solutions. Students within the program are trained to use interdisciplinary knowledge to tackle complex environmental issues, such as devising mitigation plans for ecosystems that are at risk. This is especially crucial in the US, where agriculture-related businesses contribute up to US$1.109 trillion to the country’s GDP.

In addition to learning about regulations and practices governing soil and water quality, students also learn niche skills such as utilizing crop requirement guides and describing soil profiles. “Students pursuing this concentration take courses related to soil and water resources that prepare them for careers as environmental professionals,” Eick explains of the program. “Many of our graduates will pursue careers in the environmental engineering and consulting industry, teach environmental science in high school, work as environmental professionals in industry, work for state and federal regulatory industries, and nonprofits.”

For Collins, her OMALS degree has been more than just an academic pursuit. “I think the most valuable skill I’ve really developed is my own time management,” she reflects. Collins has successfully navigated the work-life balance and is now seeing greater possibilities. “I’m finding the more courses I take, the more possibilities are out there as to where I can take my career after graduation. I would love to stay in my field and perhaps work in a governmental setting.”

At VT, the guiding principle that underpins learning lies in its motto: “Ut Prosim” (Latin for “That I May Serve”). The Environmental Science concentration is very much modelled after the science that it’s championing — a form of learning that is truly organic and self-paced according to one’s capacity, but is ultimately all about growth than can spur impactful change. If you’re looking for a career switch, or to upgrade your current knowledge in the life sciences, click here to learn more.

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