Virginia Tech, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Promoted by Virginia Tech

Why an online master’s degree at Virginia Tech is the solution to study-work-life balance

Previously seen as less valuable than campus-based degrees, online or remote programs are now revered as the only solution for those looking to further their education while juggling a career and other personal commitments.

With Virginia Tech, students get all the perks of learning online – and a world-class education. They earn the same regionally accredited degree as an on-campus student but have the flexibility to achieve their goals from anywhere. , “The Online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences (OMALS) program allowed me to work on my master’s even though I wasn’t on campus. The classes are valuable and applicable to my current work,” says Jaelyn Munson, who is currently undertaking the Applied Nutrition and Physical Activity concentration.

It was during her orientation as a Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) agent that Jaelyn found out about the program. Being able to pursue it from the comfort of her own home convinced her to sign up.

Because Jaelyn would like to continue working in her current field, she needed to enhance her skills so that she could work more with universities or non-profit organizations in areas related to preventative health education. The OMALS program is helping her achieve these goals – at her own pace.

One of the courses offered is Program Development in Health Education, which covers the theory, trends, and design of community health education programs implemented in communities, health agencies, hospitals, and industry. Without sacrificing any personal or professional commitment, students like Munson can learn how to develop programs that are designed to impact a specific health problem or develop culturally competent interventions.

“I’ve just been really pleased with the classes and content,” she enthuses.” I’ve loved learning again, taking classes again, and increasing my knowledge and applicable skills.”

Virginia Tech, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Source: Virginia Tech, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Overall, the OMALS program has been uniquely tailored to meet the evolving and dynamic needs of today’s professionals. One of the many selling points is its 100% online format, which allows students to complete it at their own pace wherever they are located – all while earning the same regionally accredited degree as an on-campus student at Virginia Tech. What this means is that, on average, students will take two courses (six credit hours) a semester, leading to completion of the program in five semesters.

The program offers eight concentrations in the areas of Agribusiness, Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare, Applied Nutrition and Physical Activity, Education, Environmental Science, Food Safety and Biosecurity, Leadership Studies, and Plant Science and Pest Management.

All concentrations lead to tremendous impact. Graduate Ashlee Humphries says she gained more than just greater knowledge of industry competencies, but also time management, perseverance, and resilience. None of this would have been possible without the people and structure of OMALS. “I loved being a student in the OMALS program because my professors and advisors knew me personally,” she says. “They understood my time constraints and demands as an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) athletic trainer and were willing to help me whenever I needed it.”

Working professionals have distinctive needs – something faculty members are always ready to meet. “Virginia Tech faculty and staff are dedicated to help students succeed!” says Stella Volpe, who is the Head of the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. “We meet with our students and get to know our students to help them find their career path.”

The OMALS program is a master’s degree that can advance careers in many ways and help students achieve their goals. Those pursuing the Agribusiness concentration learn how to analyze, assess, and contribute to the diverse and broad industry of agribusiness. Skills like management, marketing economics, finance, policy, and economic analytics will be taught and emphasized over the course of the program so that graduates are set to join various sectors such as input supply, farm production, and output marketing.

Meanwhile, courses such as Applied Economic Analytics, Applied Microeconomics, and Agricultural and Food Policy expose students to the application of statistical properties and probability theory to applied economic data; static neoclassical consumer and producer microeconomic theory; and policy issues related to trade, farm bills, natural resource preservation, and food, nutrition, and health.

That’s not all. Graduates will have the know-how to demonstrate management skills for effective interactions with coworkers or clients; develop a marketing plan for a product, service, or training; evaluate impacts of micro- and macroeconomic conditions on the organization; analyze and interpret financial statements; and assess data and determine their implications for the organization.

To learn more about the Online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences,  click here.