Black, White

Partner content

Sports gear, Safety glove, Comfort, Gesture, Finger, Thumb
A flexible master’s program for tomorrow’s agricultural and life sciences leaders
Personal computer, Public space, Laptop, Furniture, Table, Infrastructure, Tree, Chair

Students from all around the globe, especially aspiring leaders in agriculture and life sciences, choose online options like the OMALS programs for their unmatched flexibility and convenience. They earn the same accredited degree as those studying on campus without leaving their homes. Extensive practical experience and up-to-date theory also give them an edge when advancing their current careers.

Online master’s programs are the future. With this, there’s no need for anyone to quit their jobs, move states, or use their entire savings to earn a master’s degree. Virginia Tech (VT) knows this well and they are leveraging this opportunity to reimagine how education and technology intersect.

Take their Online Master of Agricultural and Life Sciences, for example. Offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, it has eight concentrations in the areas of agribusiness, applied animal behavior and welfare, applied nutrition and physical activity, education, environmental science, food safety and biosecurity, leadership studies, and plant science and pest management. VT is home to one of the most respected food safety research programs nationally and internationally.

Explore Virginia Tech's OMALS concentration areas


Agribusiness — a term referring to economic activities derived from or connected to farm products — helps producers become more efficient and sustainable.

The Agribusiness concentration is designed to give students an edge in this field by developing their skills in management, marketing, economics, finance, policy, and economic analytics. There’s an emphasis on preparing for a diverse, multicultural workplace in an increasingly connected world, with a special focus on critical thinking and problem-solving within the firm, farm, or support organization.

People in nature, Terrestrial plant, Smile, Happy, Grass

Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare

This concentration is for those interested in animal behavior and the welfare of animals in an applied setting. Here, coursework satisfies the requirements to become an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist through the Animal Behavior Society. Plus, hands-on work can be geared towards meeting the case study or research paper requirements for certification.

Students will gain a comprehensive perspective on animal behavior and principles of effective behavior change, drawing from the fields of applied behavior analysis and ethology. As part of their coursework, they will complete a hands-on project and are able to join a week-long hands-on workshop on training, behavior, and welfare.

People in nature, Skin, Jeans, Bird, Smile, Plant, Vertebrate, Phasianidae, Chicken, Happy

Applied Nutrition and Physical Activity

Research and recommendations on nutrition, exercise, and health continue to evolve rapidly, especially after COVID-19. As we strive to enhance human performance and treat lifestyle-related diseases, the ability to translate current science into practical guidelines, interventions, and programs has never been more important.

That inspired VT to design the Applied Nutrition and Physical Activity concentration. It is suitable for students with a science, health-related, community, coaching, or education background who want to advance their knowledge in nutrition and physical activity.

Table, Hand, Shirt, Desk, Interaction


As the name suggests, this concentration advances a student's teaching, learning, and leadership skill sets in this dynamic field of agriculture education. Aspiring educators will learn to assist individuals and communities with diverse needs and interests, which includes adult program management, program curriculum design, and STEM integration in agriculture education, to name a few.

Upon completion, graduates can be confident in their ability to train others on new techniques, develop engaging programs for the public, or communicate new concepts in a wide range of settings.

Window, Comfort, Eyewear

Environmental Science

António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, warns that the "climate time bomb is ticking" after scientists released the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on the state of climate change.

It’s a monumental task to tackle but one the Environmental Science concentration aims to succeed in. The concentration enables plenty of interaction with faculty and professionals in the field through hands-on activities that lead to a deeper understanding of real-world environmental issues.

People in nature, Plant, Sky, Wheel, Tire, Farmer, Grass, Agriculture, Cloud, Vehicle

Food Safety and Biosecurity

Food safety is inextricably linked to food security and good health. The World Health Organization estimates that one in 10 people fall ill from food contamination annually, resulting in 420,000 deaths and the loss of 33 million life years.

The Food Safety and Biosecurity concentration explores this from the lens of food safety, security, sanitation, and microbiology. Students learn about the microbiological safety of food, water and the environment, including the laws affecting food production and processing.

Personal computer, Baseball cap, Table, Furniture, Laptop, Chair, Desk, Community

Leadership Studies

The Leadership Studies concentration equips students with interdisciplinary skills to be well-rounded agricultural professionals who can lead, teach and communicate about current agricultural issues facing society today.

Students gain the expertise necessary to lead in a diverse and multicultural environment. This concentration focuses on leadership in a global society, problem-solving, and the role of agricultural professionals as agents of change in communities worldwide.

Personal computer, Office supplies, Space bar, Hand, Table, Calculator, Laptop, Nail, Netbook

Plant Science and Pest Management

VT caters to niche fields such as Plant Science and Pest Management. In this concentration, students get a broader understanding of this diverse industry, including issues concerning production, business, economics, and many more. They will also gain specialised skills in areas like weed science, plant pathology, and crop management.

Plant, Smile, Greenhouse, Leisure

“As a zookeeper, the asynchronous online platform has really allowed me to fit the master's program into my already hectic schedule. I work with a wide variety of animals and the classes and other students have provided many different perspectives to allow me to better care for the unique needs of each species.”

Theresa Hawkins

OMALS student
(Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare concentration)

Forehead, Smile, Chin, Eyebrow, Shoulder, Neck, Sleeve, Happy

“As a zookeeper, the asynchronous online platform has really allowed me to fit the master's program into my already hectic schedule. I work with a wide variety of animals and the classes and other students have provided many different perspectives to allow me to better care for the unique needs of each species.”

Theresa Hawkins

OMALS student

(Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare concentration)

Forehead, Smile, Chin, Eyebrow, Shoulder, Neck, Sleeve, Happy

“I improved my technical writing skills and learn about formatting for publication in various journal styles. I learned an enormous amount about food safety and those skills have allowed me to move into an A/P faculty position in my department and refer to myself as a food scientist. I am also on my way to becoming a recognized process authority, which is a person who is capable of providing and processing information to producers who wish to make shelf-stable acidified food products. There are very few process authorities in the US and we are fortunate to have two at VT."

Melissa Wright

OMALS graduate
(Food Safety and Biosecurity concentration)

Academic dress, Smile, Outerwear, Mortarboard, Happy, Gesture, Scholar, Headgear, Graduation

“The top three skills I have gained in the OMALS program are how to conduct research, how to communicate research and other ag topics to the public, and intense time management. I communicate agriculture topics every day, from the farmer's market to talking to growers to discussing our next steps on the farm. Conducting research has potentially opened some doors for me in doing some seed or variety evaluations, so hopefully, that will come to fruition. Lastly, time management is a skill that I will always need in every aspect of my life.”

Jessica Allen
OMALS graduate
(Plant Science and Pest Management concentration)

Motor vehicle, Smile, Glasses, Hat

Hear from current
and former students

“The access to the faculty and staff is outstanding. The coursework and program are excellent on their own. However, they also serve as a springboard for your own academic intrigue. Utilize all levels of information that you have access to while a student at VT. Visit campus, get to know your faculty, build relationships, and your own personal academic journey will grow further, and you will develop a stronger perspective.”

Ronald Jennings

OMALS graduate
(Agribusiness concentration)

Grey, Wood
Black, White

Copyright © 2023  Study International, official representative of Virginia Tech: CALS: Online Master of Agricultural & Life Sciences