Volume 46 - Number 4 - 2005 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2005.04002
Iowa State University began offering an off-campus master of agriculture (M.Ag.) degree in 1979 and an off-campus B.S. degree in 1991. The major for both degree programs is Professional Agriculture. In the fall of 1993, a follow-up study was conducted to evaluate the programs and to gain an understanding of the off-campus learning experience. Seven years later, another follow-up study was conducted. Data were obtained from 46 of 53 persons who graduated by fall 1993 and from 34 of 54 persons who graduated from spring 1994 to spring 2001. When compared to 1993 respondents, a smaller proportion of 2001 respondents were male and employed in farming. A greater proportion of 2001 respondents were employed in agribusiness and "other" occupations. Graduates in both follow-up studies took about five and three quarter years to complete their programs, but respondents in 2001 traveled to campus more often for reasons associated with their degree program. Year 2001 respondents perceived thirteen challenges to off-campus study as less significant than 1993 respondents. Respondents in 2001 perceived they had significantly greater access to instructors and that instructors understood their needs more than did respondents in 1993. The two most significant challenges faced by graduates in both studies were the limited number of course offerings and the difficulty in balancing school, personal, and work responsibilities.