Plant Breeding Graduate Program

Student smiling with stalks of corn
Cultivating the future.
Program Summary
Required Credits: 30
Tuition per Credit: $497
Start Your Adventure in Plant Breeding

Programs include Master of Science and Ph.D.

Master of Science in Plant Breeding

The online Master of Plant Breeding focuses on the genetic improvement of crop plants through the study and application of genetics, statistics, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, and related sciences. The program offers fundamental skills in plant breeding, the study of advanced concepts such as genomic selection, and analysis of problems in plant breeding as they arise by global society.

This program prepares for careers such as

  • Management and operation of public and private plant breeding programs
  • Research on plant breeding methodologies, biotechnologies, and information technologies to improve breeding efficiency and effectiveness
  • Cultivar development

Click here to view this program's requirements

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Program at a Glance

  • Courses cover four major areas: breeding, genetics, statistics, and crop production.
  • The program culminates in a “creative component,” which is intended to be an in-depth application of the knowledge and skills acquired from the M.S. Plant Breeding curriculum.
  • The creative component can take many forms, but it always includes a written report related to your area of specialization and approved by your advisory committee.
  • Program requires 30 credits


PhD in Plant Breeding at Iowa State University using online education resources.

Credits Required: 72

The world renowned PhD program in Plant Breeding at ISU provides an opportunity to demonstrate rigorous independent research that advances knowledge for genetic improvement of crop species.  It is possible to successfully earn a PhD with online technical capabilities provided by the Brenton Center in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU, while conducting independent research elsewhere.  The primary challenge for the student with an interest in pursuing a distance PhD is to identify a faculty advisor with similar research interests and a willingness to negotiate a suitable program of study to support the student and faculty member.  Research interests of 28 active plant breeding faculty include a broad range of topics from discovery of causal impacts of genomes, phenomes and environments on crop species to design of efficient breeding strategies for translating the discoveries into useful cultivars. Learn more about our plant breeding faculty here.

Start Your Adventure Today

If you have questions, please contact:

Casey Smith or Michelle Zander,
AgOnline Student Services 0004 Curtiss Hall,
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011
phone: 1-800-747-4478