Agricultural Economics Ph.D. Program


A doctoral degree in Agricultural Economics prepares students for careers in academia, agribusiness, consulting firms, financial institutions, government, or non-governmental organizations. Opportunities will vary depending upon the student’s choice of specialty area. Please visit our Specialty Areas webpage for more information.


Below you will find information about:

  • ​​Preliminary Exams
  • PhD and MS Degree Requirements​



Preliminary Exams


Graduate students take comprehensive examinations in order to test their professional competence. We call them prelims, but they are often called “qualifying” or “general” exams at other PhD programs. Our rules regarding the prelim exams can be found in the department's policies and procedures manual

Successful completion of the preliminary examinations constitutes formal admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The preliminary examination consists of two parts: economic theory and the prospectus. An examination in microeconomic theory is administered by the Department of Economics (June and August).  Students are required to take this examination as soon as ECON 615, 606, 607, and 609 core courses are completed. The prospectus examination is administered by the Department of Agricultural Economics.  The purpose of the examination is to check competency in the chosen field and preparation for embarking on dissertation research. For details on upcoming exams, please contact Graduate Program Chair Nicole Olynk Widmar​.



PhD Degree Requirements




  1. MS - ECON 51100, ECON 51200; PhD - ECON 60600, ECON 60700, ECON 60900, and ECON 61500
  2. MS – either STAT 51200 or AGEC 65000, plus AGEC 55200; For the Professional MS in International Agribusiness, AGEC 55200 and AGEC 65000 are required; PhD - ECON 67000, AGEC 65100, AGEC 65200, AGEC 65400 (2)
  3. MS – the Professional MS in International Agribusiness has additional requirements, including AGEC 57100 (1 credit), AGEC 57200 (2 credits) AGEC 57300 (3 credits) and a Capstone Project. Check with the Graduate Coordinator for details; PhD - AGEC 62500 (3) or ECON 60800 (2) by permission
  4. Use of course below the 500 level on a Plan of Study requires approval from the Graduate Committee. Written requests for approval should justify inclusion of these courses on a course by course basis. MGMT/OBHR course work must represent less than 50 percent of the credit hours on a Plan of Study.
  5. Credit for acceptable courses taken at other universities may be transferred after one satisfactory semester in residence. Undergraduate transfer credits from another university must be declared in excess for the BS Degree, must be taken for graduate credit and must be equivalent to Purdue 500 or 600 level courses. Equivalency of transfer credits to Purdue credits is determined by the Graduate School. A maximum of nine credits may be transferred if earned as excess undergraduate credit or in post-baccalaureate status at Purdue University.
  6. The research credits for the professional option MS degree are in the form of a special problem, the MS thesis and PhD dissertation research credits are not considered "courses".
  7. The Graduate School requires that all courses appearing on the Plan of Study be passed with a grade of C- or better.
Note: Pass-fail grades are acceptable only for prerequisites. Courses must be taken for a grade to be listed on the Plan of Study. Prerequisite courses and grades will appear on the student's official transcript.



Agricultural Economics, 403 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4191

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