WSU to offer online graduate certificate in sustainable ag

By Richard H. Miller, Global Campus

Lynne-Carpenter-Boggs-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will launch an online graduate certificate in sustainable agriculture in the spring.

The nine-credit certificate provides expertise in researching, assessing and improving sustainable agriculture, said Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, the professor directing the program. It is designed for researchers already enrolled in graduate-level agriculture programs and for working professionals such as producers, organic certifying agents and corporate sustainability officers.

The certificate requires two core courses and one elective from a menu of options. Those include a hands-on internship or practicum that lets students apply their knowledge in their own communities and network with prospective employers.

for more information.

WSU has offered the certificate on campus since 2008.

“A lot of our grad students in crop and soil sciences and horticulture are also doing the certificate,” Carpenter-Boggs said. “Some will go out into industry; others will go on as academics and researchers.”

Graduate student Nathan Brugnone is earning the certificate to supplement his studies of viticulture and enology.

“The farmer of tomorrow must be the master of many trades who constantly asks better questions,” said the Prosser, Wash., resident. “You get that background here.”

The principles of agricultural sustainability can also apply to other fields, Brugnone said: “Any good businessperson thinks about sustainability.” For example, just as sustainably minded farmers should avoid monocultures – cultivation of a single crop variety – good financial investors spread risk with a diverse portfolio.

“I would recommend this certificate to anyone who wants to become a better problem-solver in their field,” Brugnone said. “This is the kind of leadership that future businesses will require.”

To be admitted into the program, Carpenter-Boggs said, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA in a related field.

Other online WSU agriculture options include an undergraduate certificate in organic agriculture, a master’s in agriculture, a master’s in agriculture that focuses on plant health management and a master’s in agriculture that emphasizes food science and management.

Certificate Core (6 credits)
• AFS 501: Current Research in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (3 credits)
• AFS 545: Field Analysis of Sustainable Food Systems (3 credits)

• AFS 302: Introduction to Agroecology (3 credits)
• Crop-Sci 360: World Agricultural Systems (3 credits)
• Crop-Sci 443: Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture (3 credits)
• IPM 552: Pesticides and the Environment (3 credits)
• NATRS 550: Conservation Biology (3 credits)
• Soil-Sci 480: Practicum in Organic Agriculture (1-6 credits)
• Soil-Sci 498: Professional Internship (1-6 credits)

Other courses may be accepted upon request.


Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, WSU crop and soil sciences, 509-335-1553,