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Agricultural Systems Technology, MS

Specialization(s): Agricultural Extension Education; Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Extension; Secondary and Postsecondary Agricultural Education
Department: School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education
College: College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Agricultural Systems Technology

About This Degree

Emphasizing a wide range of teaching and learning skills, the MS degree in agricultural systems technology allows students to specialize in teaching, Extension education, and adult education. While this degree does not result in a teaching license for public schools, it teaches skills development, program planning, and an understanding of evaluation techniques. It also requires proficiency in research methodology and statistical applications.

Working professionals in Extension, adult, and community education, as well as those in school-based career and technical education must be lifelong learners. The ASTE master’s degree is conveniently offered through distance education with class times around the state that work well with the schedules of working professionals.


Students must choose a specialization.

  • Agricultural Extension Education: This specialization provides a program for individuals interested in Cooperative Extension work. The curriculum for the program includes coursework related to managing people; planning, implementing, and evaluating programs to promote technology transfer (adult education); understanding research techniques relevant to agricultural education; and the managing of fiscal affairs.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Extension: This specialization serves to expand academic preparation in an area of study, such as family studies, housing, textiles and clothing, nutrition and food sciences, and management of personal resources. This specialization places emphasis on teaching and curriculum/program development and/or Extension.
  • Secondary and Postsecondary Agricultural Education: This specialization is designed for persons desiring to improve their competencies as educators. This specialization provides teachers with opportunities to acquire additional knowledge in professional education and in their teaching specialties.


  • MS - Logan Campus , Regional Campuses (Beaver, Bicknell, Blanding, Brigham City, Castle Dale, Cedar City, Cortez, Delta, Ephraim, Grantsville, Ignacio, Junction, Kanab, Kaysville, Milford, Moab, Montezuma Creek, Monticello, Monument Valley, Nephi, Orem, Panguitch, Price, Richfield, Roosevelt (Uintah Basin), Salt Lake, St George, Tooele, Tremonton, Vernal (Uintah Basin), Wendover)

Graduates in ASTE can pursue the following careers:

Agricultural Extension Education Specialization

  • Extension

Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Extension Specialization

  • Secondary teaching
  • Urban and rural Extension
  • Social science
  • Business
  • Supervisory and administrative positions in business, technical schools, and applied technology colleges
  • Consulting positions in mass media and industry

Secondary and Postsecondary Agricultural Education Specialization

  • This program is designed for people who desire to improve their competencies as educators. This specialization provides teachers with opportunities to acquire additional knowledge in professional education and in their teaching specialties. Generally, teachers with master’s degrees earn higher salaries.

Admissions Requirements

Students from any undergraduate background are welcome to apply.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application (Pay close attention to the essay question in the online application. The response will be used in admissions decision)
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on in the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

Applications, including test results, must be completed no later than two months prior to the start of the semester in which you would like to begin taking classes. Students are not allowed to take courses in the program without being admitted.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students can receive the MS by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis for their degrees.

Financial Assistance

A variety of funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, assistantships, tuition awards, and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Program Requirements

Click here to see course requirements for the Master of Science.

All students involved in the agricultural Extension education specialization must complete an internship.


Debra Spielmaker
Associate Professor
Office: ASTE 102
Phone: (435) 213-5562
Email: debra.spielmaker@usu.edu


F. Richard Beard, PhD, Texas A&M University
Associate Professor
Area: Agricultural systems, research and Extension
Office: ASTE 101 D
Phone: (435) 797-0573
Email: richard.beard@usu.edu

Guy Denton, PhD, The Ohio State University
Associate Professor, Vice Chancellor of USU-CEU San Jan campus
Area: Agricultural Extension, education and international Extension
Office: USU San Juan campus
Phone: 435-678-2201, ext. 182
Email: guydenton@sjc.ceu.edu

Becki Lawver, PhD, University of Missouri
Assistant Professor
Area: Agricultural education
Office: ASTE 111
Phone: (435) 797-1254
Email: rebecca.lawver@usu.edu

Bruce Miller, PhD, Iowa State University
Professor, Department Head
Area: Agricultural systems and mechanization
Office: ASTE 101
Phone: (435) 797-2232
Email: bruce.miller@usu.edu

Rhonda Miller, PhD, Iowa State University
Associate Professor, Agricultural Extension Specialization Advisor
Area: Agricultural systems and research
Office: ASTE 109
Phone: (435) 797-3772
Email: rhonda.miller@usu.edu

Michael Pate, PhD, Iowa State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Agricultural systems and education
Office: ASTE 139
Phone: (435) 797-3508
Email: michael.pate@usu.edu

Lindsey Shirley, PhD, Iowa State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Family and consumer sciences education and Extension
Office: FL 303 B
Phone: (435) 797-3410
Email: lindsey.shirley@usu.edu

Debra Spielmaker, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor
Area: Agricultural Extension and education
Office: ASTE 102
Phone: (435) 213-5562
Email: debra.spielmaker@usu.edu

Brian Warnick, PhD, Oregon State University
Associate Professor, Secondary and Postsecondary Agricultural Education Specialization Advisor
Area: Agricultural education
Office: ASTE 103
Phone: (435) 797-0378
Email: brian.warnick@usu.edu

Julie Wheeler, MS, Utah State University
Instructor, Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Extension Specialization Advisor
Area: Family and consumer sciences education
Office: FL 303 C
Phone: (435) 797-7521
Email: julie.wheeler@usu.edu

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Alpha Tau Alpha: This is a national professional honorary agricultural education organization for those who have chosen a major in agricultural education or Extension education.

Aggie FACS: This club is organized under the Family and Consumer Science Education Department and focuses on five areas: finance, clothing and textiles, food and nutrition, human development, and interior design. All students are welcome to become members of Aggie FACS.

Labs, Centers, Research

Center for Integrated BioSystems: The CIB leads a progressive, interdisciplinary effort in research, core services, and education serving agriculture and life sciences. The CIB is where the first hybrid animal, a mule, was cloned, and was named one of “30 Awesome College Labs” by Popular Science magazine. The CIB has a research program with several active projects in diverse areas of life science that encompass plant, animal, and microbe functional genomics.

Cooperative Extension: Utah State University Extension provides statewide access to university resources and research. With offices in all of Utah’s 29 counties, Cooperative Extension develops practical educational programs tailored to local needs and based on university knowledge and research. Extension faculty and staff live and work across the state, in regional and county offices, as well as at university campuses and research and outreach centers. Cooperating with local governments and citizens, USU Extension agents and campus-based specialists collaborate to develop educational programs and partnerships that make a positive difference in people’s daily lives. Faculty and staff with expertise in agriculture, horticulture, range, forestry, water, health promotion, financial literacy, business management, community development, and 4-H are all part of Extension’s effort to bring the latest information to the people of Utah.

Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: The UAES is part of a network of researchers and facilities at the nation’s land-grant universities and is committed to improving agriculture and managing natural resources for the people of Utah. At research facilities on the USU campus and throughout the state, UAES supports hundreds of research projects that promote agriculture and human nutrition and enhance the quality of rural life.

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