The University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Wayne State College have partnered to offer students an innovative pathway to degrees in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences, while staying close to their home communities.

Students who complete the new dual-degree program can receive two bachelor’s degrees: an applied science degree (concentration in agriculture and natural resources) from Nebraska and a life sciences degree (concentration in biology) from Wayne State.

Program candidates will begin their education with coursework at Wayne State, then finish the degree in Lincoln while remaining, if they desire, in Wayne to complete the final year online or in a laboratory setting. With these degrees, graduates will be prepared for careers in agricultural and natural resource fields — from animals, plants, soil and climate to business, mechanization, leadership and food. Students will take 90 credit hours, including 30 hours of general education through Wayne State, and then finish 30 credit hours at Nebraska that can be completed online or on the university campus.

Students will study agriculture and biology to become professionals who can apply concepts, processes and procedures to manage resources in the areas of food, animal and plant systems. Study topics will include biology of natural systems, as well as the impact human society has on the natural world.

“The idea is maximum flexibility for the students,” said Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska. “This is really all about student choice. Some students would prefer to stay in Northeast Nebraska here at Wayne State. Others may choose to move from Wayne to UNL. I think the key thing here is that the students in this dual-degree program get to experience both campuses, both cultures and that really is an enriching opportunity where they get to learn about even more perspectives than if they were at one institution.

“This a brain-gain for Nebraska. It’s keeping Nebraskans in Nebraska by making a sought-after program accessible. This gives students a chance to stay here, geographically tethered to their community, contributing to their community and the economy and really pursue two great degrees from two amazing institutions.”

The partnership provides students with a wide range of options that serve their career goals and the Nebraska workforce.

“Agriculture is very important to the state of Nebraska,” said Tiffany Heng-Moss, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “One in every four jobs is connected to the agricultural and natural resources industry and that holds true here in this part of the state. So, this program is a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to leverage the strengths of our two institutions. The benefit for students is they can obtain a dual credential. There are a lot of opportunities for us to work together to be able to support agriculture and to help develop the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators and leaders that will go on to advance what we do here in Northeast Nebraska, as well as the state of Nebraska, and beyond, on the global platform.”

Steven Elliott, vice president for academic affairs at Wayne State College, said the program is a tremendous opportunity for students.

“We are really excited to lock arms with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in this program,” Elliott said.

“This is an outstanding partnership, something we’re very proud of and very excited for. And we’re really looking forward to students being able to pursue an agricultural degree right here in northeast Nebraska.”

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