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Online MS Programs in Plant Breeding, Agronomy, Etc


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I'm interested in comments on online Master's programs in plant breeding/horticulture/crop sciences, etc (e.g. Iowa State University, Texas A&M, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska).


I have a BS in biochemistry and began a PhD in chemistry right out of undergrad but had to leave the program due to health reasons.  I worked in an academic research lab briefly then went into an administrative position at a government lab where I've been for almost 10 years.  I'm in the process of getting my Master's in Public Administration (MPA).  The MPA is going well but I still really want to pursue a PhD and I'm not interested enough in public administration to get a doctorate in it.


I don't have any background in plant biology but I've started to get interested in plant biotechnology and think I could work in that field doing a variation of the type of research I used to do.  I'm much more excited about taking a new path than trying to come close to "picking up where I left off" when that was over a decade ago and I wasn't that far along into the degree anyway.  


I feel like I would definitely need to get an MS first due to my lack of knowledge.  I know an MS generally does not shorten the time needed to complete a PhD but I have seen some plant science programs that require an MS for admission.  And I'm not yet ready to become a full-time grad student again but I can handle another part-time MS.    


Because of my location (southeast PA) I would need to do an online MS.  I'd prefer it if there was a school nearby that I could attend in the evenings but there's not.  I think an online degree will still serve my needs which are  to develop an advanced knowledge of the subject and more specifically identify research interests so I can determine where and with who I'll pursue the PhD.   I will have to pay for an MS but tuition for the online programs I've look at is far less than I've paid for my MPA.


So, can anyone offer advice on helping chose between the various programs I listed above or name any more I should consider?  My interests lie more towards plant breeding and genetic modification for something like secondary metabolite production rather than improving common crops.  

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