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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Online Plant Breeding and Genetics Program Helps Feed the World

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Online Plant Breeding and Genetics Program Helps Feed the World


In 30 years the world's population will reach 9 billion and the pressure is on to develop smarter ways to grow our food supplies. At the same time, there are too few professionals to address this challenge, and many who are qualified will soon retire. That means tremendous career opportunities for plant breeders and geneticists as seed and food production companies around the world struggle to find the talent they need. 

Fortunately, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has developed a convenient online Plant Breeding & Genetics professional development certificate program that will prepare crop researchers, advisors, supervisors, government regulators and other agribusiness professionals to better meet these demands.

The program includes modules on topics such as: basic genetics principles, plant breeding methods for self and cross pollinated crops, identifying germplasm, crop genetic engineering, crop protection and pest resistance management, genotype x environment interactions, using double haploids, plant pathology and weed science, seed development, and seed production.

Modules are taught by leading researchers and educators, including plant geneticists, physiologists, ecologists, soil and water scientists, and weed scientists. This interdisciplinary approach is used to address real-world production constraints and environmental issues related to agronomic and horticultural production.

Led by Deana Namuth-Covert, Ph.D., UNL’s online genetics education and outreach program is in good hands. Dr. Namuth-Covert graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and earned her masters and doctorate degrees in Plant Molecular Genetics from Colorado State University. She has published several articles on both plant breeding and education, and has received numerous awards for her contributions in the field.

Her primary research includes the development of distance education programs for enhancing and furthering the careers of agricultural learners with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Her interests also include incorporating effective teaching methods for distance delivered educational programs and international collaborations. She is also widely known for her contributions with the Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary website,, containing over 121 peer-reviewed lesson modules targeting credit and non-credit learners and science educators. This website won the 2004 ADEC National Excellence in Distance Education Award and is utilized by 135 countries around the world.

Namuth-Covert has a passion for helping rural areas thrive and for providing cutting edge tools for agri-professionals. She believes in personal hands-on teaching and feels that online tools are an excellent way to delivery that. She believes that the online professional certificate program in plant breeding and genetics provides an excellent continuing education opportunity for those who wish to update their knowledge and learn about the newest advances in the field.

In order to earn a Professional Certificate in Plant Breeding & Genetics, learners must complete a total of 12 modules: 6 required core modules plus 6 elective choices. Modules can be accessed online from any high speed Internet connection so students can study from the comfort of home, work at their own pace and submit homework and exams electronically. Participants can interact with instructors and other global participants directly or through online discussion forums.

For more information about the Online Plant Breeding & Genetics Certificate Program, visit: