Master's Degree

M.S. Degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications

Take your career to the next level with a master's degree in ALEC, which trains you to address critical issues pertaining to food, agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. Our program is small enough to get to know you, your passions, and your goals for the future. At ALEC, you'll have the encouragement of fellow ALEC students and faculty from all backgrounds. You'll learn job-ready leadership, teaching, and communication skills in a welcoming, collaborative environment. And you'll experience the personalized attention that nurtures big dreams for big impact. 

As a Masters of Science student, you can expect:

Academic Excellence

Earn a highly-respected, regionally-accredited degree from a top tier university that consistently earns top rankings.

Quality

Graduate courses are taught by faculty with experiences from a variety of professional backgrounds and in formal and non-formal educational settings. The same content is covered in the online and on-campus programs, and your diploma and transcript is identical, regardless of the type of program you choose.

Value

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is consistently one of the top universities in the United States in terms of educational quality and affordability. Most of our on-campus graduate students are provided teaching or research assistantships that cover their tuition and provides a small stipend for living expenses. Within the online graduate program, you pay the same affordable tuition regardless of where you live.

Convenience

Most of our graduate-level courses are taught in the evening or asychronously online to fit your schedule.  

Access

Have access to numerous University resources, including email, advising, career services, and library services​.

Community

Become a part of our ALEC and campus community, which includes countless alumni from around the world and connecting with other top-notch students, alumni, and faculty.

Career Opportunities

The opportunities with an ALEC degree are endless. Graduates from the AGED Program are involved in a variety of rewarding careers:

  • Secondary and Postsecondary Education
  • Program Administrator
  • Agricultural and Youth Extension
  • Agricultural Marketing, Sales, and Supervision
  • Community Development
  • Organizational Trainer
  • Environmental Education and Natural Resources Advocacy

A Masters of Science degree can advance your career as a professional educator in the classroom, an extension education professional, or in related agriculture and natural science careers where public education, leadership, and communication skills are required.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Masters of Science program in ALEC, students must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (the program is not restricted to students with particular backgrounds or degrees)
  • A minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework (a person with a GPA lower than 3.0 may still be considered in certain circumstances)
  • Submit three letters of recommendation along with your graduate school application
  • GRE test scores are optional, and provide additional information

Degree Requirements

Unlike other degree programs, there is no comprehensive exam required to complete the ALEC Master’s degree program. The program requires the student to complete 32 credit hours of graduate courses. While specific course patterns may be developed to meet individual needs with the help of the advisor, a general recommended set of courses can be found in the course catalog.

View Degree Requirements

Register for Online Classes

Visit the Illinois Online website to view online course offerings by semester, or register for classes.

Interested in a Teaching License?

Only on-campus students can obtain a license to teach agriculture in Illinois public secondary schools. Students preparing to apply for teaching licensure in the state of Illinois to teach agriculture in secondary schools should choose this option. At the University of Illinois, students work with staff specialists and the Council on Teacher Education to create an individualized list of required coursework based on their specific past education. Requirements for teaching licensure are often separate from ALEC MS Degree requirements – students often earn more than the required 32 credits for graduation to gain licensure. Specific questions can be answered by Gary Ochs (garyochs@illinois.edu). 

Questions and More Information

The Graduate College Handbook provides information about specific graduation requirements, along with many other important details related to the program.

You can also request more information here and a faculty member will get back with you.