Graduate Programs Overview

We offer two master's degrees: the Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics and the (nonthesis) Master of Agricultural and Applied Economics (MAAE), as well as a Doctor of Philosophy degree. All of our programs offer students support and flexibility in tailoring their experience to best fit their goals with personalized mentoring from faculty and fellow students, as well as the opportunity to expand their knowledge by attending courses and seminars outside of ACE.  

Our program helps set our students up for success by offering weekly seminars, networking opportunities, and funding for conference and publication expenses. The Department of ACE also helps students find funding opportunities, with over 90% of our graduate students having enough funding to cover the cost of tuition.

Learn more about each of our degree programs below. To get an idea of the work students have accomplished in the past, you can view past theses and dissertation titles.

Past Theses and Dissertation Titles

Masters of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics

The M.S. program in Agricultural and Applied Economics typically requires one and one-half to two years of course work and research. A minimum of 24 graduate semester hours of coursework and 8 semester hours of thesis credit culminating in an acceptable thesis are required. Masters of Science theses are developed in close consultation with a committee of faculty advisors selected by the student. Researching and writing the thesis generally takes six months to one year. The written thesis is then defended before a faculty committee and a seminar is presented to the department.

More information about requirements is available through the university's course catalog.

M.S. Information

Non-thesis Master of Agricultural and Applied Economics (MAAE)

The non-thesis MAAE can be completed as a five year bachelor's plus master's program (for ACE undergraduate students only) or as a standalone master's degree that is expected to take one to two years to complete. Students will work closely with an advisor to successfully complete a professional internship or research apprenticeship as part of the program. Strong core traning will revolve around advanced microeconomics and econometrics, and additional quantitative tools. Students will also choose a specialty training area to best tailor their degree to their career goals.

MAAE Information 

Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural and Applied Economics

Study and research for the PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics typically requires four years beyond the MS degree.

  • The first year is devoted to completing the PhD core courses which cover the theory and quantitative methods upon which field or elective courses in agricultural and consumer economics are based.
  • The second year is usually devoted to courses in the student's chosen area(s) of specialization and to completion of an independent research paper.
  • The third year students present their research paper, complete research, and orally defend a proposal for dissertation topic.
  • The fourth year student defend their final exam and deposit their dissertation.

Upon completing courses and passing a written preliminary examination, doctoral students must complete a significant research paper and orally defend a proposal for dissertation research. The oral defense assesses their preparation and plans for independent research and other related topics. Each PhD candidate presents the completed research in a final dissertation defense. You can also view requirements on the university academic catalog.

To view the general requirements of the PhD program, see the university's course catalog. We have also created a sample program to help visualize how a PhD student's time would be spent.

View our PhD Specializations