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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry offers
online master's program in agroforestry

June 14, 2011

Source: Shibu Jose, 573-882-0240

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Agroforestry has been gaining attention among landowners and natural resource professionals for its environmental and economic benefits. With this increase in recognition, the need for trained professionals in agroforestry also has been expanding.

The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri has introduced an agroforestry focus option to an existing master of science forestry degree. The courses will be offered through MU Direct Online. A 12-hour certificate in agroforestry is in the approval process.

The master's curriculum is a 30-credit, non-thesis degree with a 16-credit required core including a professional paper, optional 3-credit field internship and elective course work. In addition to the students admitted to the agroforestry focus program, which must be done through the MU Graduate School, both graduate and undergraduate students from other disciplines are welcome to enroll in individual online courses for credit.

"Professionals across the U.S. and overseas are looking for courses, graduate degree or certificate programs in agroforestry," said Shibu Jose, UMCA director.

"Hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers, for example, work every year on agroforestry-related projects. This program could provide them with an opportunity to pursue a degree or certificate in agroforestry while working abroad. We are not aware of any similar program in agroforestry elsewhere in the country."

The master's in forestry with a focus in agroforestry is designed to be a flexible degree to meet the advanced educational goals of a wide range of students, such as professionals working in natural resources who already have an undergraduate degree in a related field. The online master's is open to individuals holding accredited bachelor's degrees who wish to expand their breadth and depth of knowledge in agroforestry.

"We hope to increase enrollment of graduate students in courses related to agroforestry," Jose said. "The ultimate outcome of this project will be 'society-ready graduates' who are capable of making positive changes in the agriculture, natural resources and environmental sectors in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world."

Course options include a core of four courses: Agroforestry Theory, Practice and Adoption; Agroforestry Economics and Policy; Ecological Principles of Agroforestry; and Agroforestry for Watershed Restoration. The first two courses will be offered this fall.

The Center for Agroforestry received funding from the University of Missouri System, the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and the School of Natural Resources to add the agroforestry focus option to the existing forestry degree program.

For more information about the program or individual courses, go to http://mudirect.missouri.edu/degprog/agroforestry/index.shtm

Randy Mertens
Coordinator of Media Relations
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
214 Gentry Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Phone: 573 882 3237

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