Bumpers College Offers Master's Degrees Through Consortium Programs

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, in conjunction with numerous other universities across the nation, is now offering new ways of earning a degree online.

Bumpers College is currently offering online programs for a master's degree in agricultural and extension education, a master's degree in human environmental sciences with a study focus in gerontology through the AG*IDEA and Great Plains IDEA consortiums, respectively, and 12 courses for horticulture students through the ACCEPtS consortium.

The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA) is a partnership of 20 public university members which provide access to educational opportunities by collaboratively developing high-quality, online academic programs.

Gerontology is the study of old age, the aging process and the particular problems of older people.

"By 2030, approximately 23 percent of the population will be age 65 and older," says Tim Killian, assistant director of human development and family sciences in the School of Human Environmental Sciences.

With a growing demographic and job security, this program provides an outlet for students to earn an education through a non-thesis master's program by offering availability to leading educators in the field from across the nation.

AG*IDEA is an affiliate of the Great Plains IDEA, and is a national consortium of 19 land grant universities offering programs and courses in agriculture disciplines. The online certificates and courses provide flexibility, enabling students to balance career advancement with professional, social and financial commitments.

Bumpers College offers an M.S. in agricultural and extension education through the AG*IDEA consortium.

"This opportunity to study online is broadening our reach as a university," says Donna Graham, professor of agricultural and extension education.  

The program is currently offering both thesis and non-thesis tracks.

Great Plains IDEA and AG*IDEA consortiums classes are offered at a common price, currently $545 per graduate credit hour, and the programs have simplified the process of working with other institutions for online credit transfers.

The two programs have created a system where a home institution is established, the university in which the student enrolls and receives their degree from, and the students take classes from the teaching institution in the program offering particular classes. Students log on to the teaching institution's course, and at the end of the semester, grades are reported to the home institution, cutting out the need to request a transcript or transfer of any courses from the teaching institutions.

The U of A, in partnership with Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University, have also formed the Alliance for Cooperative Course Exchange in plant sciences (ACCEPtS) for horticulture students. The program currently offers 12 classes in undergraduate and graduate level programs. Any student who wishes to enroll in one of the ACCEPtS courses should contact their academic advisor, and register through UAConnect.

These programs offer a new and innovative way for students to earn degrees that may not have been possible otherwise.

"It's very flexible, and the flexibility is its strength," says Graham. "Technology allows you to accommodate work, your family and your job while obtaining your degree."

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Jacob Logsdon, communications intern
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
479-575-4625, jllogsdo@email.uark.edu

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