Graduate Program

Who We Are

The Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication (ASEC) offers state-of-the-art graduate training in three specializations:

  • Agricultural and Extension Education
  • Agricultural & Science Communication
  • STEM Learning Systems

Our curriculum offers students the flexibility to create a customized curriculum tailored to their academic and career goals. With guidance from their major professors, students may develop unique and targeted programs of study including courses from sociology, psychology, educational psychology, engineering, political science, environmental studies, and more.

Students build additional expertise by participating in national and international scholarly conferences where they showcase their research and build professional networks.


Contact Us

Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication
915 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-8423
News crew shot
Graduate student links Purdue-based educational system to his Rwandan homeland

Purdue PhD student Aimable Mugabo single-handedly distributed more than 1,000 USB cards promoting Purdue-based Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) at Rwanda Day 2024, the largest event of its kind in the U.S. Mugabo’s efforts build...

Read More


Our faculty are experts in education, science communication, and extension. Faculty research spans agricultural and informal STEM education; evaluation and assessment; international and local extension; and communication of science, technology, and agricultural issues. Graduate students work closely with a faculty member of their choosing to select courses, plan their research, and achieve their career goals.

Visit our faculty directory

Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication offers master's and doctoral degrees. We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Sciences Education, Extension, and Communication

We offer three specializations for the master's and doctoral degrees:

  1. Agricultural and Science Communication
  2. STEM Learning Systems
  3. Agricultural and Extension Education

Master's Degree (M.S.)

Students earning a master's degree will gain a firm foundation in theory, critically analyze outcomes of education and communication processes, and learn about strategies used to influence how people learn and make decisions.

The ASEC master's degree strikes a balance between theory and practice — students sharpen professional skills while exploring the disciplines of educational psychology, communication, and sociology in the context of agricultural and life sciences. Students funded by assistantships or fellowships are expected to complete a thesis. Most students complete a master’s degree in two years.

Master's degree potential course list

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)

Students earning a doctoral degree will develop a comprehensive foundation in social science theory and develop competency to conduct novel research in their specialization areas.

Doctoral students showcase their scholarship and contribute to the literature through a unique dissertation focus that moves the research field forward. Doctoral programs require 90 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. Typically, 30 credits of a master’s degree program may be eligible toward the 90 graduate credits. It typically requires three to four years beyond the master’s degree to complete the doctorate.

Doctoral degree potential course list

Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Sciences, Education, Extension and Communication

The Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Sciences, Education, Extension and Communication provides an opportunity for students to gain knowledge and experience in education and communication in the context of agriculture as an enhancement to their existing graduate programs in a technical area. The certificate consists of 9 credits.

Admission Requirements

Current admissions requirements for the Purdue Graduate School are provided on their website. Applying for programs requires you to create a free account. When you apply, select the Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication program.

Details specific to our M.S. and Ph.D. programs are available from the Graduate School.

Required supporting documents for your application will include:

  • Online application form
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • Approved English proficiency test scores (for international students)
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Academic statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal history statement

The Graduate School provides specific details for some of these documents and explains the English proficiency requirement.

In addition to these documents, applicants must have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) from their most recently conferred undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree. Applications are due by November 15.

Current admissions requirements for the Purdue Graduate School are provided on their website.

The Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Sciences Education, Extension, and Communication is a post-baccalaureate certificate for students who are currently admitted to a Purdue University degree program that is not in the Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication.

Details, including courses and plan of study, are available on the certificate website.


Graduate students may pay for their own graduate studies. If they are interested in financial assistance, there are three sources:

  1. Fellowships
  2. Assistantships
  3. Scholarships


Fellowships come from a variety of areas and are funded very specifically after completing the application process. Fellowships typically waive tuition and provide graduate students a stipend. Depending on the fellowship, it may be funded for a student’s entire graduate program, or for a finite period, at which time the student may have an opportunity for an assistantship.

The Graduate School Fellowship Office provides more information about fellowships.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are common for on-campus graduate students. Once students are admitted to Purdue, it is their responsibility to find funding. Graduate students should work closely with their advisors to find graduate assistantships. Graduate assistantships in ASEC are typically funded by external grants.

Graduates on assistantships typically work 20 hours a week, and receive bi-weekly pay, health insurance, and paid tuition. Students are responsible for out-of-pocket University fees of about $750 a year. Graduate assistants are considered graduate staff of Purdue University and receive a salary that is considered payment for services. Students may receive a 12-month or an academic-year appointment (9 months). Academic-year appointments are typically from August 15 to May 15.


The Harlan and Dorothy Parr Memorial Scholarship is awarded by the Parr family to graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in ASEC.

Each year, the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette awards one student approximately $2,500 (varies annually) to help toward tuition and fees. The scholarship may be awarded in smaller amounts to two students not to exceed the annual allocation from the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette. Applications are due February 23 each year.

Application: Word MS Word Icon

The Graduate Program in Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication has prepared professionals for a variety of careers, including:

  • Science writer at NASA’s Goddard Space Center
  • Marketing specialist at Rhea & Kaiser
  • Administrator at John’s Hopkins University
  • Faculty members at Cornell, Maryland, Langston universities, and more
  • Program manager at The World Bank
  • Extension and community youth educators
  • Informal educators for public gardens, zoos, museums, and arboretums
  • Communication directors
  • Science-based communication specialists or journalists
  • Curriculum specialists and educational administrators
  • Public policy staff, lobbyists, and government specialists
  • Education specialists for business, industry, and government
  • Entrepreneurs in agricultural business
  • Non-government organization directors
  • Project managers or education evaluators and social science researchers
  • Higher education careers at community colleges and universities, including faculty members, outreach specialists, student development professionals, and administrators


The ASEC graduate experience encourages students to engage in a variety of experiences that will prepare for them their professional careers, connect them with research communities in their disciplines, and build friendships for a lifetime.

Professional Conferences

Graduate students share innovative ideas and research through professional conferences, including:

Teaching Experiences

Graduate students may have the opportunity to develop teaching skills in various subject areas (including public communication and communicating controversial science) in informal and formal education venues (including 4-H career development events, Indiana State Fair, precollege camps, and the Purdue PK-12 program).

A Sense of Community

ASEC graduate students in develop common bonds through travel, study, and academic collaboration. One way they do this is through the ASEC Graduate Student Organization (GSO). The GSO is an informal group that participates in student governance in ASEC, the College of Agriculture, Purdue Graduate Senate, intramural activities, and social networking.

Our graduate students have earned various awards over the years, including:

  • 2024 Unsung Diversity Hero Award — Favour Ojike
  • 2024 Outstanding Thesis Award — Sarah Thies
  • 2024Outstanding Dissertation Award — Lauren Murfree
  • 2024 College of Agriculture Pathmaker Award — Oluwatosin Benjamin Fakunle
  • 2023 Outstanding Thesis Award — Lauren Murfee
  • 2022 College of Agriculture Spotlight Award — Rob Weiner
  • 2022 NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award — Miranda McGuire
  • 2022-24 National Secretary at MANNRS — Zac Brown
  • 2022-23 National Region V Graduate Student Vice President — Victoria Parker
  • 2022 ASEC Outstanding Dissertation Award — Andres Zabala
  • 2022 ASEC Outstanding Thesis Award — Ryan Kornegay
  • 2021 ASEC Outstanding Thesis Award — Elizabeth Alexander
  • 2021 ASEC Outstanding Dissertation Award — Brandon Allen
  • 2020 MANRRS Foster Spirit of Excellence Award — Zachary Brown
  • 2020 Student Graduate President of MANRRS — Zachary Brown
  • 2020 Purdue Agriculture Graduate Student Pathmaker Award, MS level — Elizabeth Alexander 
  • 2019 MANRRS Region V Graduate Student Vice President — Zachary Brown
  • 2019 NACTA Conference Poster Contest First Place — Theo Nzaranyimana
  • 2019 NACTA Conference Poster Contest 3rd Place — Bryanna Nelson
  • 2019 Outstanding Dissertation Award — Torrie Cropps
  • 2019 Outstanding Thesis Award — Ashley Rice


Q. What "homework" should I do before completing my graduate application?
A. Begin by thinking about your career goals and how a graduate degree will help you achieve these goals. You should compare at least two graduate programs to learn more about their similarities and differences. You should ask lots of questions to make an informed choice about the graduate program that's right for you. An important consideration is the selection of a faculty member who will serve as your advisor. Review faculty profiles on department websites and then communicate directly with specific faculty to explore mutual interests. You’ll also want to prepare for the GRE. Many study resources are available to help you. Finally, identify individuals who can submit letters of recommendation for you.

Q.Could I visit the ASEC graduate program before I apply?
AThere are a number of ways you could become familiar with the ASEC graduate program to help you decide if you should apply. The Graduate Chair would be glad to visit with you and answer your questions via a campus visit or phone call. You may also wish to visit with faculty and current students. Many students wish to visit campus at some point to learn more about the program and department. Some choose to visit campus before they apply, while others visit after they have been admitted. Please let the Graduate Chair know your preferences and how we can accommodate you.

Q.When should I apply?
A.Applicants applying for fall admission must submit an application by November 15th.
Note: ASEC will no longer accept applications for the spring semester.

Q.What should I write in my statement of purpose?
AThe statement of purpose is a key component of the graduate application. It should provide a sense of the applicant's motivation, goals, interests, and direction in pursuing a graduate degree. The statement of purpose helps the graduate committee determine program fit and to identify a prospective advisor for the applicant. The statement should be approximately 500 words (approximately 2 double-spaced pages) and it should directly address the applicant's purpose for undertaking or continuing graduate study, reasons for wanting to study at Purdue, research interests, professional plans, and career goals. Applicants may also wish to explain any special circumstances in their background and to elaborate on scholarly publications, awards, achievements, abilities, and/or professional history. The statement of purpose is evaluated in terms of both content and quality of writing.

Q.Should I identify in my statement of purpose potential faculty with whom I would like to work?
AIt is important to articulate your career and research interests, even if you do not know who would be best to work with as your advisor. You are encouraged but not required to mention any faculty whose work is most closely aligned with your research interests.

Q.Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
AYou should ask three qualified individuals to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Typically, these individuals hold doctoral degrees and can accurately assess your competencies and potential to develop competencies as a successful graduate student. Professors who can accurately assess your academic performance and potential as a graduate student are excellent references.

Q.What does the graduate committee look for in an application? How can I know if I’ll be competitive?
AThe graduate committee considers the entire application as evidence and focuses on two global criteria: (1) academic excellence, and (2) Program fit . Academic excellence is demonstrated through transcripts, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Program fit is demonstrated through the statement of purpose, CV or resume, and letters of recommendation. A graduate application is competitive when multiple sources of evidence consistently support academic excellence and fit into the ASEC graduate program.

Q.Can ASEC provide funding? Can I get an assistantship?
AFunding decisions are handled separately from admissions. Once admitted to the ASEC graduate program, students should work closely with their faculty advisor to identify and secure funding. Assistantships are the most common source of financial support. Graduate students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. may be eligible for fellowships. The graduate chair and committee determine if a doctoral application should be nominated for a fellowship. While it is the student's responsibility to secure funding, ASEC can provide assistance.

Q.Do I qualify for a tuition waiver?
ATypically, tuition is waived for students on fellowship or those supported by at least a quarter-time graduate assistantship. Students on a assistantship pay fees, which is around $750 per year.

Q.How will I be notified if I have been admitted?
AGraduate committee review of applications typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. You will be notified via a letter sent to the postal address listed on your graduate application. You will be asked to accept, decline, or defer your admission via a response form that you will send back to the department.

Q.How many graduate credits can I transfer into the ASEC graduate program?
AMaster’s degree students may transfer up to 12 graduate credits, if the student’s graduate committee approves. Doctoral degree students may transfer up to 30 graduate credits from their master's degree, if their graduate committee approves.

Q.Can I take a graduate course and then apply to a graduate degree program? What are the requirements to apply for non-degree status?
AAn applicant may apply as a non-degree student and, if accepted, complete up to 12 graduate credits. Admission to non-degree status does not guarantee admission to the graduate program. To apply as a non-degree student, you will need to complete the following steps: (1) complete the online application, (2) write a statement of purpose, and (3) submit official transcripts to the department. GRE scores are not required for non-degree applications.

Q.What if I have additional questions?
AThe Graduate Chair is an excellent source for any questions you may have about the ASEC graduate program. Diane Greenberg, the Graduate Program Coordinator can assist you with specific questions on completing your graduate application and checking the status of submitted applications. They can be reached at 765-494-8439.