Lincoln, Neb. —More than 75 online masters of science students in entomology may shorten the time it takes to earn their degrees following changes from the Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Starting in the fall of 2021, the first change reduces the required credit hours from 36 to 30 credits. The second change reduces the length of time required to earn the degree from 10 years to five years. A third change allows online entomology students the chance to earn a minor.
“These changes will help students earn their degree more quickly and at a lower cost,” said Tom Weissling, graduate chair and coordinator of the online program for the department of entomology.
“Offering a minor will make our students more knowledgeable and more marketable.”
According to Weissling, all entomology students currently enrolled may switch to the new 30-credit hour program by submitting a new memorandum of courses under “option B.” Students who are graduating in August 2021 will stay with their current program and don’t need to take any action.
“Most online students who pursue the option B master’s degree develop a graduate-level project rather than a research-based thesis,” said Erin Bauer, graduate lecturer in entomology.
The Option B master’s degree is aimed toward students pursuing practice-based or professional careers. The Option A degree is geared toward students who are developing a thesis and want a career in research or academia. With these changes, both master’s plans are set at 30-credit hours.
According to Bauer, under the new requirements the masters project will now be three credits instead of four credits. This capstone project provides online students with the opportunity to apply knowledge they have gained from their courses and create an original body of work tailored to an area of personal or professional interest.
“There are two safeguards in place for students who may have trouble earning their degree within the new five-year time limit,” Weissling said.
“Students may request either academic leave or a program extension. Academic leave may be used if students have personal obstacles such as illness or injury, providing care for immediate family members, meeting military obligations, or other life events. A program extension allows students to ask for one or two extra terms to finish their degree. Students must go through an approval process and have a completion plan to receive an extension.”
The minor includes nine credits from a subject area that is complementary to entomology. Popular minors include agronomy and horticulture, plant pathology, or biology. Students should check with the minor department for specific requirements.
Required courses to earn the online masters in entomology include:
- ENTO 818 Insect ID and Natural History,
- ENTO 801 Insect Physiology or ENTO 820 Insecticide Toxicology, and
- ENTO 888 MS Project.
Fifteen of the required 30-credit hours must be graduate-only courses at UNL. Entomology master’s students are also required to take an online general exam and a written comprehensive exam.
For a detailed list of academic program requirements, click here.