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Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology - MS, MAg, Applied Economics-PhD

Programs Degrees:


Graduate degrees in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology (DAERS) include the master of science (MS) in agricultural economics or rural sociology, the master of agriculture (MAg) in agricultural economics, as well as the PhD in applied economics. Admission to the masters program in agricultural economics requires a bachelors degree from an accredited institution with 15 semester hours in related courses including economics, sociology, statistics, or related subjects accepted by the Graduate Committee. Applicants are required to have a bachelors degree from an accredited institution and generally are required to have a minimum score of 290 (150 V and 140 Q) and a GPA of 3.0 on all completed coursework. Admission into the MS programs requires a minimum GRE score of 900 (450 V and 450 Q). Admission into the PhD program requires and minimum GRE score of 1000 (400 V and 600 Q). Admission into the Master of Agriculture program requires a minimum GRE score of 800 (400 V and 400 Q). International applicants from non-English speaking countries must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (213 computer). Applicants with GRE scores below 400 will be required to complete specified English courses. Applicants to all graduate programs are generally required to have a minimum GRA of 3.0 on the last 60 semester hours of completed coursework.

The master's program in rural sociology is part of an Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology. Admission to the program is administered by co-directors representing the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work and the Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology.  Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and generally are required to have a minimum GRE score of 290 (150 V and 140 Q) and a GPA of 3.0 on all completed coursework.  The applicant's resume and letters of recommendation also are considered in making a decision on admission. Further details on the master's degree in rural sociology can be found in the AU Bulletin and the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology guide.

The MS in agricultural economics (thesis option) requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit with 6 hours of thesis research. Required of all MS students:

ECON 6020Advanced Microeconomics3
ECON 7130Mathematical Economics3
AGEC 7590Introduction to Agricultural Econometrics3
AGEC 7700Research Methods in Agricultural Economics3
Total Hours12


Course substitution for will be allowed for ECON 6020 upon approval of the Graduate Program Officer. A total of 12 hours of core course is required in a program of 24 course hours. The remaining 12 hours can be filled with any graduate-level courses approved by the major professor and thesis committee. At least one-half of all credit hours toward the minimum degree requirement must be earned in courses at the 7000-level or above. All MS candidates must pass a comprehensive examination covering the major field, as well as research and thesis. This usually is a two-hour oral examination upon completion of coursework and the thesis, but the student’s advisory committee also may require a written examination.

There is a non-thesis MS option that requires 36 hours of course work. Twelve of these hours must be in core courses:

ECON 6020Advanced Microeconomics3
ECON 7130Mathematical Economics3
AGEC 7590Introduction to Agricultural Econometrics3
AGEC 7700Research Methods in Agricultural Economics3
Total Hours12


The remaining 24 hours can be filled with any graduate-level courses approved by the major professor and graduate committee. At least one-half of all credit hours toward the minimum degree requirement must be earned in courses at the 7000-level or above. The non-thesis option requires a “Plan B” paper that serves as the basis for the student’s final oral exam.

Graduate study in rural sociology (MS thesis or MS nonthesis) is available through the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology, which includes rural sociologists from DAERS as well as sociologists and anthropologists from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work.   

The master of agriculture (MAg) in agricultural economics requires 32 graduate credit hours, 18 in the major, as approved by the advisory committee. A final oral examination is given by the advisory committee.

The MBA in agribusiness or natural resources and environmental management is offered in coordination with the College of Business. Requirements include 36 graduate credit hours with 24 hours in business and 12 hours in agricultural economics or a closely related area approved by the director of the MBA program and the major professor in DAERS.

A PhD in Economics is offered through the interdepartmental program in economics, which is administered jointly by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, the Department of Economics, and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. For students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, the PhD in Applied Economics requires a minimum of 42 credit hours beyond a masters degree or 60 hours beyond a bachelors degree, plus at least 10 hours of dissertation research. All students must take:

ECON 7110Microeconomics I3
ECON 7120Microeconomics II3
ECON 7130Mathematical Economics3
ECON 7210Macroeconomics I3
or ECON 7220 Macroeconomics II
ECON 7310Econometrics I3
or ECON 7320 Econometrics II
AGEC 7080Production Economics I3
AGEC 7090Resource Economics II3
AGEC 7110Agricultural Economic Development3
AGEC 7590Introduction to Agricultural Econometrics3
AGEC 7690Microeconometrics in Agricultural Economics I3
AGEC 7700Research Methods in Agricultural Economics3
AGEC 7960Special Problems in Agricultural Economics3
AGEC 8060Theory of Agricultural Markets3
AGEC 8080Production Economics II3
AGEC 8090Food and Agricultural Policy3
AGEC 8690Microeconometrics in Agricultural Economics II3
Total Hours48

This is a total of 48 hours of coursework in a program of 60 (42) course hours beyond the bachelors (masters) degree. The remaining hours can be filled with any courses at the 6000-level or above approved by the major professor and thesis committee.

The PhD written preliminary examination requirement is satisfied by a research paper due July or October after the first year of coursework. In addition, PhD students with a GPA below 3.5 In their first-year core courses must pass- a written examination that integrates material from the core courses. There is an oral examination on the field and proposed dissertation research (referred to as the PhD prelim oral exam), and a final oral defense of the dissertation. For details on exam requirements, see the DAERS Graduate Handbook posted on the department’s web site. After satisfactory completion of the PhD prelim oral exam the student advances to candidacy. PhD students are encouraged to consider a graduate minor in statistics, which requires 12 hours of coursework in statistics (see Statistics Department web site for details).

A Graduate Minor in Agricultural Economics (GMAE) is offered for non-majors wishing to obtain training in the application of economic principles to problems affecting rural communities and households. The GMAE requires 12 credit hours of graduate-level coursework in agricultural economics (6 hours must be at the 7000 level or above). The student’s graduate committee must include a faculty member from the agricultural economics department, and the student must demonstrate competence in the application of economic principles to problems in research. The latter requirement is typically met via a chapter or section in the student’s thesis or dissertation.