University of Wisconsin–Madison

Program Tracks

Program Tracks

The Agroecology Program offers a Master of Science degree program with two tracks that differ in coursework requirements and the nature of the final project.

The Research Track provides students the opportunity to obtain experience in the scholarship of original research, culminating in the writing of a thesis. The vast majority of students in this option will work as Research Assistants under the supervision of one or more of the faculty affiliates of the Agroecology Program.  Student research topics in this option span across a wide range of the traditional disciplines and departments of the academy, while maintaining an agroecological framing.  The Research Track is the more common of the two tracks, comprising approximately seventy-five percent of Agroecology MS graduates.

Students on the Research Track typically collect data for two field seasons, leading to a two and a half year period for degree completion.  However, similar to most other MS degrees, the duration of an individual’s program does vary.

Please see the Research Track Learning Plan for course requirements.

The Public Practice Track trains students to be practitioners at the interfaces of agriculture and other sectors of society. Students enrolled in this track will have the opportunity to combine the academic rigor of their coursework with the practical challenges of managing an applied project and generating useful deliverables for stakeholders.  Public Practice students typically complete a final product that is distinct from a thesis and varies in form to meet the needs of stakeholders.  Past examples include creating a training manual for managed grazing, compiling an industry analysis report for a growers group, and a assembling a business and educational outreach plan for an agricultural non-profit.  The time frame and nature of the final product varies depending on the needs of the specific project, but Public Practice students typically graduate in two years.  Historically, about one in four Agroecology students enroll in the Public Practice Track.  Funding availability is the limiting factor for student opportunity to pursue Public Practice projects.

For more information on track requirements, please see the Public Practice Track Learning Plan.

A sample semester-by-semester course plan for both tracks is available in the Student Handbook.