M.S. Degree


  • The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics equips students with a strong base in applied microeconomics that can lead to exciting careers in business, government, or the non-profit sector.  It can also set the stage for Ph.D. studies.
  • Students begin by taking core courses in microeconomic analysis, mathematical and statistical applications for economists, and quantitative methods (typically econometrics).  They proceed to elect a set of courses tailored to their interests (for a total of at least 24 credits, with each course usually 3 credits).  Two paths to the  M.S. degree are offered.
    • For students desiring a major research project, the Plan A option culminates in a thesis (6 research credits).  
    • For students desiring more course study, the Plan B option features a research paper (3 research credits) plus a minor field (6 additional courses credits).  The Plan B option is taken both by students who wish to gain extra skills for the job market and by students transitioning to the Ph.D. program who wish to advance through courses more rapidly. 
  • Typical degree completion time for the M.S. degree is two calendar years, though earlier completion is possible.  Full details on M.S. degree requirements are available in the Department’s Graduate Policy and Program Handbook.
  • M.S. students who perform well may continue to the Ph.D. program with support of their major advisor and permission from the director of graduate studies.  Interested students follow two major routes to getting permission:
    • 1) completing the M.S. degree first, and
    • 2) completing one year of M.S. courses and entering the Ph.D. first year course sequence to demonstrate their competence. 
  • All students admitted to the M.S. program must complete requirements for the M.S. degree before gaining Ph.D. student status.
  • To see M.S. theses and Plan B research papers written by AFRE M.S. graduates since 1990, view here, or use the subtab on the left to view any or all degrees, sorted by year, author and thesis topic.



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