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Graduate Program Information

Degree Options

The Department offers graduate programs leading to either a Master of Sciences (M.S.) in Agricultural and Applied Economics or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Economics. The AAEC Ph.D. in Economics is jointly offered with the Department of Economics and, as of fall 2019, is coded as a STEM degree, which allows international students to receive up to three years of Optional Practical Training (OPT). A brief description of the various degree programs in Agricultural and Applied Economics is presented below. More detailed information is included in the Academic Requirements section. 

Student Planning Guide


The Agricultural and Applied Economics graduate program offers an M.S. in Agricultural and Applied Economics. A student may select courses that build upon a broad-based undergraduate economics curriculum or may specialize in a specific field of interest. By selecting from a variety of core curriculum courses and electives, students may develop specialties in diverse areas such as General Economics; Econometrics and Quantitative Methods; Food and Health Economics; Natural Resource and Environmental Economics; Food System Economics and Management; Policy and International Trade; and Economic Growth and Development.  The M.S. offers both thesis and non-thesis options.


The AAEC graduate program offers a joint Ph.D. in Economics with the Department of Economics. The program is coded as a STEM degree, which allows international students to receive up to three years of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Ph.D. students take a common set of core courses in the first three semesters of the program and a common written qualifying examination. Each student must also pass a preliminary examination based either on the student’s declared fields of study or defense of the student’s dissertation proposal. Students also write a dissertation and present a final dissertation defense. The Department also offers a Special Ph.D. Track in Academic Employment and Remote Sensing

The Graduate School requirements for a Ph.D. degree include a minimum of 90 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the baccalaureate, with at least 27 hours of coursework and 30 hours of Research and Dissertation (AAEC/ECON 7994).