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Crop Production (M.S.)

Course Description

The crop production group investigates and compares commonly used and alternative crop production practices and systems and evaluates them with respect to crop yield, profit, environmental and ecological consequences, and agricultural sustainability within the central Corn Belt.

Crop production research benefits greatly from the strong institutional and departmental emphasis on basic research. Researchers cooperate with a number of scientists in related areas such as plant pathology, plant breeding, molecular biology, plant physiology, weed science, entomology, and biometry. This interaction provides an unusual opportunity to search for mechanisms of plant response to crop management practices. Students in crop production benefit greatly from the collaboration among disciplines.

Creative experiences are boundless when you opt for advanced education in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. We offer advanced degree programs tailored to your specific interests that will prepare you for enriching and stimulating careers with a spectrum of public and private organizations in a global agricultural industry.

Our graduate degree recipients hold positions of leadership throughout the world. Our degree programs provide state-of-the-science education to match nearly every interest and career aspiration in crop sciences.

Department faculty is positioned at the leading edge of a growing knowledge base in crop sciences. We are committed to providing you with a nurturing environment for personal and professional growth.

[[Opportunities for Study]]
Programs in crop production lead to M.S. degrees. Course work and thesis research projects are individually designed to meet each student's interests. Most of the scientific effort involves field research, which is strongly backed by greenhouse and laboratory investigations.

Laboratory work is conducted at the main campus at Urbana, while field studies are carried out on the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center near the main campus and at five outlying research centers located in the different soil and climatic zones throughout the state. On-farm research in cooperation with Illinois producers is also actively encouraged and pursued.

Major crops under active investigation include corn, soybean, wheat, oat, alfalfa, and forage species. Current projects include crop growth and development, crop management techniques, integrated pest management, crop competition, cover crops, rotations, tillage, plant nutrition, cultivar evaluation, and agroecology.

Faculty in the crop production group have a wide range of experiences and interests in international agriculture, and a number of international students work toward advanced degrees. In these cases, education is characteristic of each student's chosen discipline but may also emphasize conditions or research approaches relevant to the cultural or physical realities of other countries.

[[Career Opportunities]]
Excellent demand exists for M.S. graduates with education in crop production. Numerous and varied positions are available in industry, universities, government agencies, and international organizations at competitive salaries.

International applicants whose native language is not English must score a minimum of 570 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who are not U.S. citizens also must submit evidence that they have sufficient financial support for their entire program of study.

Prospective students are urged to apply by February 15 for the following summer or fall, or by November 1 for the following spring. However, applications are accepted at any time; they are considered and acted upon by the departmental graduate applications committee monthly.

[[Financial Aid]]
To apply for fellowships, assistantships, and tuition and fee waivers, prospective students should indicate their desire to be considered for financial aid on the admission application form. Credentials submitted with the form are used in determining financial aid.

Students already enrolled in the graduate program without financial aid from the University of Illinois may apply for financial assistance. Demonstration of exceptional ability in their studies and/or research activities is an important criterion in selecting students for available fellowships and assistantships.

Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in the Department of Crop Sciences in recognition of superior achievement and potential. Funding comes from a number of sources, each with specific criteria and opportunities.

The Department of Crop Sciences offers part-time positions to study with departmental faculty on research, teaching, or extension activities. Research assistantships are offered based on availability of funds and space in an appropriate faculty member's laboratory. Teaching assistantships require meeting University standards of English language skills, excellent teaching potential, and competence in the area being taught.

These assistantships include an annual stipend and can be awarded at different levels of time commitment. In addition to the stipend, assistantships of at least one-quarter time carry a waiver of all tuition and most fees. These waivers are worth several thousand dollars over and above the stipend. The department will be pleased to provide current values for assistantships and waivers.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are considered for admission if they have a baccalaureate or equivalent degree comparable to that granted by the University of Illinois, with a "B" average or higher over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and any graduate work completed. Graduate record examination (GRE) scores also are required. Taking the biology section of the GRE is recommended, but not required. Strong letters of reference, evidence of motivation to undertake graduate study, high GRE scores, and good preparation in basic science courses enhance an applicant's credentials.

Course Fees

Please visit http://www.registrar.illinois.edu/tuition-fees for more details.

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Recipient: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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