The graduate program in agricultural economics attempts to help students apply economic theory and methods to significant problems facing society. It emphasizes food and business.
The program offers two options for obtaining a master of science degree. The first involves 24 credits of course work and 6 additional credits for successful completion of a research thesis. Under the second route, students take 30 credits of course work and submit an acceptable 3-credit research paper on the economics of the food industry, agriculture, biotechnology, and natural resources and the environment. A full-time student normally takes two years to complete the program. Teaching and research assistantships that include tuition remission are available for a limited number of full-time students. To the extent that space is available, full-time students are assigned office space in the Cook Office Building, which houses the Department of Agricultural Economics.
All students are required to take introductory econometrics in their first term (unless they have taken this course before entering the program). The remaining core-course requirements consist of three graduate courses: microeconomic theory, research methods, and applied econometrics. Students must pass a comprehensive examination after they complete the required core courses. In addition, at least two other courses in agricultural economics must be taken. Selected courses may be taken from other programs, including anthropology, computer science, economics, environmental sciences, geography, political science, psychology, sociology, statistics, and urban planning and policy development. There are no language or residency requirements for the degree.
A dual master`s degree program is available with the graduate programs in urban planning and policy development. This track leads to a master of science degree in agricultural economics and either a master of science in urban planning and policy development or a master of city and regional planning. Students are accepted independently into both graduate programs after making separate applications to each. Students must meet the require- ments of both programs. However, with proper course selection, 9 credits of course work from each program may be applied to the other degree.
Applicants to the graduate program in agricultural economics normally are accepted for matriculation only in the fall term of each year. Applicants must submit scores of the general test of the Graduate Record Examination, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of personal objectives. Foreign applicants whose native language is not English also must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and should score at a level of approximately 600 or better. For applicants wishing to receive full consideration for financial aid, the application and all supporting credentials should be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by March 1.
Individuals who have a limited undergraduate background in economics or agricultural economics should complete the following courses before applying to the program: an undergraduate course in intermediate microeconomic theory, calculus (minimum of one, but preferably two terms), and introductory statistics. In a few cases, outstanding students who lack these courses may be admitted on a conditional basis, subject to successful completion of the specified courses. Credits from these courses may not be used to fulfill the requirements of the master`s degree. Financial aid is not available to entering students admitted on a conditional basis, although such students subsequently may apply for aid upon completion of conditions imposed at the time of admission.
Details about the program can be found in a brochure entitled Graduate Program in Agricultural Economics, which is available upon request from the office of the graduate director.