Frequently Asked Questions – Swine Science Online

Enrollment / Course Questions

Who can take the courses?  

A unique aspect of the Swine Science Online program is that traditional university students and non-traditional students can take the courses. The courses classify as upper-level undergraduate courses. Non-traditional students may identify as currently employed in the pork industry, looking to join the pork industry, allied industry.  


How do I register to take a course? 

If you are currently a student at one of the Swine Science Online host universities, you can register for any of the Swine Science Online courses just as you would any other course during registration. If you are not at one of the host universities, you can enroll as a non-degree seeking student at one of the host universities. After you’ve been accepted, usually a few days later, you can enroll in the specific Swine Science Online courses you’re interested in taking.  


Can I take these courses if I am not enrolled in an undergraduate program? 

Yes! You can enroll as a non-degree seeking student at one of the Swine Science Online host institutions. After you’re  enrolled you will be able to register for the Swine Science Online courses.


I work full-time, can I take these courses?  

Yes! Many of the students that take the Swine Science Online courses are actively employed in the industry, allied industry using these courses for continuing education / professional development, or some individuals enroll in Swine Science Online courses to help make a career shift. 


Are there any prerequisites for the program or specific courses?  

The Basic Swine Science course is the prerequisite to all the other Swine Science Online courses.  


My university offers a swine production course, can I still take the Swine Science Online courses? 

Yes! We encourage you to take the course(s) that are offered at your university and then enroll in additional Swine Science Online courses that are of interest to you.  


Can I just take one course?  

You can take one course or as many as you’d like. The U.S. Pork Center of Excellence offers a 12-credit Swine Science Online Industry Certificate, check out the details here. 


When are the courses offered? 

Courses are offered in the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters. Click here for a complete list of courses. 


How long are the courses? 

Spring and Fall semester courses are 14-weeks. Summer courses are a condensed 8-week semester. 


Are there scholarships or financial aid available?  

Scholarships and financial aid are available through the host universities. Check out the Swine Science Online host universities to see what they offer for scholarships and/or financial aid.  

Can I test out of a course if I have already taken it elsewhere?

It is possible that a student may have already taken one or more of these courses or their equivalent for another degree or certificate program.  The student must obtain approval by submitting a request to the SSO Policy Committee.  Requests should be sent to USPCE, Attn: Bill Winkelman,

Industry Certificate Questions

What is the US Pork Center of Excellence Swine Science Online Industry Certificate?

The USPCE Swine Science Online Undergraduate Industry Certificate is a 12-credit hour undergraduate program of study. To qualify for the undergraduate certificate, students must complete the necessary coursework. Basic Swine Science is the required pre-requisite for all of the other courses and must be taken first. The other courses may be taken in any order.
What are the course requirements to pursue the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence Swine Science Online Industry Certificate?
Required Courses (7 credits)
  • Basic Swine Science (2 credits)
  • Swine Health and Biosecurity (1 credit)
  • Employee Management for the Swine Industry (1 credit)
  • Swine Breeding and Gestation Management (1 credit)
  • Farrowing Management (1 credit)
  • Swine Nursery and Finishing Management (1 credit)
Elective Courses (Select 5 Credits)
  • Swine Feed Mill Management (1 credit)
  • Pork Product Quality and Safety (1 credit)
  • Pork Export Markets (1 credit)
  • Swine Environment Management (1 credit)
  • Contemporary Issues in the Swine Industry (1 credit)
  • Swine Business and Records Analysis (1 credit)
  • Swine Manure and Nutrient Management (1 credit)
  • Swine Nutrition (1 credit)
  • Advanced Swine Science (1 credit)
  • Swine Breeding and Gestation Management (1 credit)
  • Farrowing Management (1 credit)
  • Swine Nursery and Finishing Management (1 credit)
  • Production Internship in the Swine Industry (1 credit)


How do I apply for the USPCE Swine Science Online Certificate?

Once you have completed the 12 credit requirements, an exit interview will be required of you to receive your certificate. This interview will take place via phone and after your application materials have been received by the USPCE program manager. To apply for the USPCE SSO Certificate mail in the application and unofficial transcript to:
U.S. Pork Center of Excellence
Attn: Bill Winkelman
1776 NW 114th St.
Clive, IA 50325

Who is AG IDEA?

Agriculture Interactive Distance Education Alliance (AG IDEA) is a premier baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate distance education collaboration that provides credit toward inter-institutional undergraduate certificates and minors and graduate degrees and certificates. Through AG IDEA, member institutions from across the United States are able to participate in distance education programs and/or courses in agricultural and related sciences with other institutions. In a multi-institution degree program, students apply and are admitted at one participating university; enroll in courses at that university; and graduate or receive a certificate from that university. Online courses are taught by the best faculty in the discipline from several universities. For more information on AG IDEA, go to

What if my university isn’t partnered with AG IDEA?

If your university is not currently partnered with AG IDEA and you would like to take courses you may enroll in courses at any of the universities that are listed above.  You will be able to transfer the credits back to your current university. Since the courses are online you may take them anywhere! The cost of an AG IDEA course is the same at any partnering institution you may enroll at any participating institution for the same price through their distance education department.