AUBURN, Ala. – The Alabama Commission on Higher Learning granted Auburn’s wish for an online masters of turfgrass management program for Auburn University’s College of Agriculture.

The program will be a non-thesis graduate degree program and will focus on key areas of turfgrass management such as installation methods, breeding and development, insect and disease control and construction of specialty areas, such as athletic fields and putting greens.

The program is designed for working professionals who may want to take classes while employed and offers its entire curriculum online,” said Josh Woods, director of communication and marketing for the College of Agriculture. “The program began this spring and requires 32 credit hours for graduation, which are offered through our department of crop, soils, and environmental sciences.”

Since it is a non-thesis program, students will not be required to do a major research or thesis project as students do in the traditional turfgrass management program.

According to, the published in-state tuition for the program is $7,900, while the out of state tuition is published at $21,916.

Students enrolled in the online program will be advised by turfgrass faculty with experience in weed control, turf pathology, turf entomology, and turfgrass management

Headed by Elizabeth Guertal, lead faculty member for the online masters of turfgrass management, Auburn is the second of two universities in the country to offer the masters completely online.

“The program is the first of its kind in this area, positioning us to be a leader among surrounding schools,” Guertal said.

The traditional turfgrass management offered at the University has a current enrollment of more than 50 students, one of the largest in the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences.

Woods said turfgrass management comes with a wide range of career options although most of the graduates pursue a career in golf course management.

Woods also said the way turfgrass is managed affects lakes and streams, animals and non-target species, as well as the athletes and people who use the turf along with numerous other environmental effects.