The Department of Agricultural Economics provides programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy. Graduate Faculty in the department provide areas of emphasis in agricultural policy, price analysis, agricultural marketing, agribusiness, farm management, domestic economic development, and production economics. Students must complete a core of courses in agricultural economics, economics and statistics.
Students holding degrees in agricultural economics are employed by academic institutions, local, state, and federal agencies that deal with agriculture, natural resources and economic development; private firms in the agricultural and business sectors; and agencies and governments of foreign countries. These agricultural economists conduct research, develop extension services, teach classes, and serve as managers and administrators in various types of firms and agencies.
Students entering the Ph.D. program are expected to have the following courses: at least a two-course calculus sequence, M.S. level microeconomic theory, and statistics theory. Some of these courses may be taken during the student’s first semester. A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline is generally required for entry into the Ph.D. program. In exceptional cases a student may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program with only a Bachelor’s degree. There are no minimum GPA or GRE requirements beyond those of the Graduate School, but such information, along with letters of recommendation, is used qualitatively in the admission decision.
In addition to the course work requirements, students in the Ph.D. program are required to take a comprehensive examination in microeconomics administered by the Department of Economics. Students also must complete a second-year research paper requirement as part of the preliminary examination requirements. The student must defend a dissertation prospectus during the preliminary oral examination. The ability to conduct original research in agricultural economics, documented through the completion of a dissertation, is required.
Graduate students have considerable flexibility to structure their program with respect to course work and research topics consistent with individual interests. Each student has a major professor and an advisory committee to assist in course work selection and in the thesis and dissertation research.
A graduate handbook is available that provides information regarding program content, degree options and available financial assistance.