Students interested in studying agricultural economics at the graduate level can find many master's and doctoral degree programs available in the subject. These degree programs often offer several different specialty areas and typically have a thesis option for master's students and require doctoral students to complete a dissertation. Learn more about the master's and doctoral degree programs in agricultural economics below.
Information for Graduate Degree Programs in Agricultural Economics
Students usually study agricultural economics in a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy program that may offer different specialty areas, like international trade, agribusiness, natural resources, community and regional economics, farm management and more, at one or both degree levels. Elective courses often vary based on these specialty areas and a student's research interests, but here we discuss some of the common core courses for these programs.
Students are usually required to take one or two courses in microeconomic theory. These courses explore a wide range of theories, including production and cost theories, duality theory and equilibrium and welfare theory, and apply them to different market structures. Students may also explore topics in price formation, supply and demand, output determination, externalities and more.
Master's students may take an introductory-level course in econometrics, while doctoral students take a more advanced version of the course. These courses examine different statistical economic models and discuss how to set parameters, account for errors and analyze results. Students typically apply concepts from lecture to practice problems. Specific topics may include linear models, dummy variables, autocorrelation, systems of equations, stochastic regressors and more.
Some courses in macroeconomics may focus on broader macroeconomic topics, while others may look at macroeconomic issues in agriculture specifically. Those broader courses may discuss aggregate dynamics and growth, while those looking at the connection with agriculture may explore the different links between agriculture and the macro economy. Students study how these links affect different agricultural models, commodity models and policy.
Courses in agricultural economics discuss and equip students with different quantitative and research methods in the field. Students learn how to identify economic problems, conduct research and analyze economic policy. These courses typically involve a lot of projects and case studies to allow students to apply their analysis skills.
Students in agricultural economics degree programs usually take multiple courses in statistics, but the specific courses they take are likely to depend on their research interests and input from their advisor. Students may choose from statistics courses in statistical theory, applied regression, statistical inference and more. General statistics courses may cover topics in sampling distributions, statistical hypotheses, linear models, probability models, multivariate distributions and more.
Common Entrance Requirements
Most master's and doctoral degree programs in agricultural economics require applicants to submit official transcripts, letters of reference, a statement of purpose and/or a resume/CV with the appropriate application. Some programs may require students to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. It is also common for master's and doctoral programs to require students to have prior coursework in economics, calculus, statistics and/or other areas of mathematics. Doctoral programs typically require applicants to hold a master's degree and both degree levels either require or strongly encourage students to submit GRE scores.
Master's and doctoral degree programs in agricultural economics are available for interested students and often offer various areas of concentration. Students typically complete research for a thesis or dissertation and take courses heavy in economics and mathematics.