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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Doctoral Program


The AEDE PhD program is a globally recognized leader in the disciplinary areas of development, environmental and regional economics and in 2011, was ranked by the National Research Council as the top program in Agricultural and Resource Economics in the United States.

Students acquire rigorous training in economic theory and advanced quantitative methods, and learn to apply these skills to a wide range of real-world economic problems. Degree recipients go on to assume teaching, research, and managerial positions with universities and colleges, research institutions, government agencies, multilateral international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies and corporations.

An MS degree is not required for admission to apply to the PhD Program.  Students whose undergraduate degrees are not in economics or business are welcome to apply as well.  Please see the Admissions Process and Criteria page to learn more.

fields of specialization

The AEDE PhD program requires students to take a total of 12 credit hours of frontiers courses to provide specialized training in the field of their choice.The AEDE frontiers courses cover topics relevant to environmental and resource economics, regional economics and development economics.
Graduate students are given wide latitude to design their own program of study and to choose a dissertation topic. In recent years, under the supervision of AEDE faculty members, doctoral students have conducted innovative theoretical and applied research on agricultural policy and trade, agricultural finance and risk management, consumption and marketing economics, food economics and agribusiness, environmental and natural resource economics, international and regional economic development, poverty and food security, climate change, spatial and land-use economics, health economics, bioeconomics, and experimental and behavioral economics.
Innovative research that addresses pressing social problems is encouraged, regardless of the sub-discipline of economics with which it may be identified.

course requirements

The PhD program requires a student to complete a minimum of 90 graduate semester credit hours. PhD students must take the non-credit Math Camp offered by the Economics Department in July and August immediately preceding the start of classes in the first year. Students are required to take a minimum of 56 credit hours of in-class coursework. This is comprised of 44 credit hours of required courses that provide a strong foundation in microeconomic theory, econometric theory, applied econometrics and applied welfare as well as 12 credit hours of frontiers courses relevant to the student’s intended research topics to provide more specialized training. All additional credit hours cover departmental seminar requirements and dissertation research. Please refer to our curriculum sheets for the first year and second/third years in the PhD program for a more detailed understanding of the required coursework.


In addition to required coursework, a PhD student must: Pass a Microeconomics Theory Qualifying Examination prior to the beginning of the second year; Pass the Second Year Manuscript requirement prior to the beginning of their third year; Pass the Candidacy Examination and defend their Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, typically before the beginning of their fifth year; Complete the Doctoral Dissertation and pass a Final Oral Examination.

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