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Master's Degrees | Agricultural and Extension Education

Agricultural and Extension Education

Entrance Exam: Not Required
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

The Master of Agricultural and Extension Education is designed primarily for people who currently teach K-14 agriculture, who are currently working or desire to work with the Cooperative Extension Service, or who are looking to advance in leadership in their industries.

Students in this program gain in-depth knowledge of the context and content of extension education, school-based agricultural education, or leadership development. It should be noted that completion of this degree does not result in certification to teach high school agriculture. For those who wish to be certified to teach agriculture in the public schools, we offer the LEAP (Licensure in Education for Agricultural Professionals) program. It is possible to combine the two programs and work on both simultaneously.


Applicants for admission must present:

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample

Plan of Study

This degree program is 30 semester hours in length. This program is designed to be completed on-campus or entirely by distance education.

The requirements for the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education degree are as follows (where there are choices, select courses appropriate for the concentration, either agricultural education or extension education):

  • Complete the core required courses (15 hours);
  • Complete 15 hours of electives. These can be in AEE or can be in disciplines such as Animal Science, Crop Science, Horticulture, Entomology, Forestry, Youth Development and Family Life Education. Students may (but are not required) to declare a minor. Typically, declaring a minor means the student will take 9-12 hours in a specialty area, working with a professor from that area;
  • Complete a culminating project.

To demonstrate an understanding and mastery of the theories, principles, and practice of agricultural and extension education, each student is required to complete a major self-directed creative or research-based project. The student will sign up for either AEE 693 or AEE 620 for 3 hours of credit. The student will present the results of their project to the AEE 601 seminar class (however the student does not have to be enrolled in AEE 601 to do this. The student will be scheduled to make a presentation in the same manner that outside guest speakers are scheduled). Or the student can make a presentation at a professional conference such as the summer agriculture teacher conference or at an extension meeting. Students at a distance will either use distance education technology to make the presentation or upload a video file to a file-sharing website so that the culminating activity can be shown to the class.

The culminating activity should utilize and demonstrate the knowledge gained across the spectrum of courses completed in the Master’s program.

Examples of possible culminating activities include (but are not limited) to the following:

Action Research. Teachers select an aspect of their teaching to systematically investigate, such as their wait time during questioning. They record data and consider theories from the research literature, drawing conclusions about how teaching is influencing learning and vice versa, and informing future instructional decisions. The primary intent of action research is to improve the teacher’s immediate classroom teaching; secondarily, if applicable, the intent is to generalize it across other contexts in the school or beyond. Students seeking “M” teaching licensure are required to complete this type of culminating product. More information about the action research project is found below.

Course/Curriculum Development. The individual will develop a teaching unit or course that includes lesson plans, instructional materials (handouts, PowerPoints, etc.) group activities, and assessment instruments. A supporting website might be created. Some or all of the instructional materials/activities will then be implemented in an actual setting and evaluated. The student will reflect on the process and outcomes of the project.

Research Inquiry. The student will conduct a small-scale research project. This could be a descriptive or correlation research study that focuses on areas of concern for the profession such as job satisfaction, teacher turnover, or needs assessment. Standard research procedures and protocols will be used.

Coaching or Mentoring. The student will formally coach or mentor a beginning teacher or agent. A plan will be developed for the mentoring/coaching activity. An instructional coach provides ongoing consistent follow-up by way of demonstrations, observations, and conversations with new professionals as they implement new strategies and knowledge.

Upon completion of the program, the student will receive the Master's degree and can also apply for the Master's (M) teaching license from the state of North Carolina (one has to apply for the teaching license; it does not automatically happen). It should be noted that one has to first have the initial teaching license (the "A") before applying for the "M". If one does not have the "A" license it is possible to work on that license while in the graduate program. This is done by enrolling simultaneously in the NC State LEAP program.

Career Prospects

Graduates of the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education program typically work as leaders within agricultural industries at all levels. Graduates also are equipped to build successful careers as agricultural educators or extension agents.

Agricultural philosophies and practices have evolved significantly, and continue to change as new understanding of agricultural issues emerge. Organizations and businesses within the agriculture industry need leadership, guidance and advocacy as they strive to keep up with ever-changing expectations, advanced technologies and shifts in policies. The Master of Agricultural and Extension Education program teaches professionals how to properly access and interpret the latest research and associated technological options and policy changes. As companies, farmers and ranchers are impacted, leaders and educators are needed across the industry.