Grasslands Management, Graduate Certificate

Ag*IDEA Program

The online Grasslands Management, Graduate Certificate is designed to provide students with knowledge about the conservation, utilization and sustainability of managed grassland systems.

Students in this multi-institutional, online Grasslands Management certificate program will learn about the conservation, utilization, and sustainability of managed grassland systems.

Through graduate-level coursework students gain knowledge in:

  • Pasture and range management
  • Vegetation analysis
  • Root growth and utilization
  • Grassland and wetlands ecology
  • Watershed management
  • Fire ecology
  • Grasslands plants, insects and diseases
  • Basic research and educational programs in grasslands

Additional Certificates

The University of Nebraska-Lincolns Department of Agronomy and Horticulture offers three graduate certificates in horticulture:

The department is able to offer these three certificates as a member of the AG*IDEA Consortium. The Great Plains IDEA is a consortium of 20 universities in the Health Sciences and Agricultural disciplines.

Career outlook

Grasslands represent a fundamental resource of the region that determines the environmental and economic future of the Great Plains states. Grasslands including rangelands, pasturelands, and hay lands are the principal land resource type in the Great Plains, composing more than 50% of the land surface area. Grasslands need to be managed properly to ensure long-term productivity, maintain or improve grassland diversity and health, minimize undesirable botanical composition shifts, and prevent overgrazing.

Ag*IDEA Program Ag*IDEA is an affiliate of the Great Plains IDEA, a national consortium of universities that offer programs and courses in agriculture disciplines. The Ag*IDEA's membership of top accredited universities offer master's degrees and graduate certificates fully online from top faculty.


Core Courses
AGRO 843: Ecology of Invasive Species (3 credits) Ecological principles and their application to invasive species. Discussion of population, community and ecosystem level characteristics affecting a wide variety of invasive plant and animal species. Discussions will include current global consequences and governmental policies/programs designed to limit the spread of invasives.
AGRO 846: Forage Quality (3 credits) This online course provides an in-depth study of the chemical characteristics of forage components and the interactions with ruminant physiology and digestion that influence forage feeding value and the laboratory procedures used to evaluate forages for grazing livestock.
AGRO 847: Grassland Fire Ecology (3 credits) The course is designed to describe the ecological effects of fire on grassland ecosystems. It also provides insight into the history of fires, the people who use them and why, the parts of a fire, how fires behave in relation to fuel and weather, and the conducting and safety of prescribed burns.
AGRO 848: Grassland Monitoring & Assessment (2 credits) A course emphasizing the quantitative measures used in vegetation analysis, root growth, and utilization. Vegetation sampling theory and plot selection will be covered. Use of similarity index, health, and trend for grassland monitoring and assessment will be explained. Basic statistics and the microcomputer will be used to analyze biomass, basal cover, frequency, and density data.
AGRO 849: Watershed Management (3 credits) Study of the management of physical/biological settings and processes along with the human activities on water and watershed considering preventative and restorative strategies in a natural resource rangeland setting.
AGRO 851: Grassland Plant Identification (2 credits) Prereq: Admission to UNL's Graduate School, and BIOS 101 and 101L and AGRO 240, or their equivalents, recommended. Study of plants that have ecological and/or agricultural importance in the Great Plains. Plant identification, grassland ecosystems and plants' forage value, palatability and utilization by both domestic livestock and wildlife. Cultural and historical uses of grassland
AGRO 852: Grazing Ecology & Management (3 credits) This course discusses the ecological principles of domesticated livestock grazing and their application to manage grazing lands. Theoretical and applied models of plant/animals interactions will be presented. Grazing systems and their management of ecosystem services will be presented as balance between production and conservation outcomes.
Tuition and Fees How to Apply Contact Us

Students pay the Ag*IDEA/Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for this program. Choose "Online Distance Class (ES)" on the tuition and fees cost estimator page and enter your credit hours in the "AG*IDEA, Great Plains IDEA" boxes.

Clicking "How to Apply" takes you to the Graduate Studies website for additional program and application information.

Graduates of the Grasslands Management, Graduate Certificate may find careers in a multitude of areas, including:

  • Rangeland Management Specialist/Conservationist government agencies
  • Land Steward private organizations
  • Ranch Manager
  • Extension Educator
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Co-op Manager

I like that it's diversified and I can take classes that interest me. It's also easier to get a minor in whatever I want without having to invest additional time in college.

Applied Science Student in Central City, Nebraska

Service you expect from a leading University

  • Access the same student services available to on-campus students
  • An academic adviser will guide you along your journey
  • Career services are available when you are ready to take your next step


  • Combine a number of disciplines to create a unique degree
  • Choose more than 50% of the courses you take as electives
  • Complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you within a select timeframe

Quality learning experience

  • The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years
  • Interact with faculty and students through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups
  • Direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience

To be accepted to this program

  1. A bachelor's degree
    Only required if English is not your native language. Minimum score of 79 on Internet-based TOEFL, 550 on paper-based TOEFL, or 6.5 on IELTS required for admission.
  2. 2.80 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  3. Completed coursework
    Successfully completed at least a semester of coursework in plant science or botany
  4. A written personal statement
    briefly state your interests and professional goals” to “In 1-2 pages, describe 1) your professional goals and career aspirations and specifically what you plan to do with your certificate, 2) background experiences, events, and/or education that have influenced your professional goals and 3) how enrolling in this certificate program will assist you in meeting your professional goals.
  5. 3 letters of recommendation
    These must be from professionals who are familiar with your work ethic or scholastic ability. Personal references from friends, relatives, etc. are not acceptable.
  6. Resume or curriculum vitae
  7. Taken the TOEFL or IELTS. Only required if English is not your native language. Minimum score of 79 on Internet-based TOEFL, 600 on paper-based TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS required for admission.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: May 15
Summer Semester: October 1
Spring Semester: February 15

John Guretzky

John Guretzky, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

John Guretzky's research interests include the impact of grazing systems on structure and function of grassland ecosystems. Guretzky's area of expertise is range and forage sciences.


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