Graduate Programs

The first state university west of the Mississippi River, the University of Missouri (MU) celebrates more than 160 years of teaching, research and service. Read more about its rich history at About Mizzou.

At MU, the best and the brightest students are educated and challenged to excel in competitive professions.

Why study agricultural and applied economics at MU?

A Ph.D. or M.S. degree in agricultural economics prepares you for a rewarding career in academia, agricultural business, government or international agriculture.

Programs focus on:

  • Business management, organization, contracting, governance and strategy.
  • Collective action and cooperative theory.
  • Econometrics and price analysis.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Environmental economics.
  • Food and agricultural policy and regulation.
  • Food production, distribution and consumption and sustainable agriculture.
  • Natural resource use.
  • Regional economics.
  • Rural development policy and economic development.

The graduate program at MU is recognized for its innovative approach to graduate training in agricultural economics. A distinguishing feature of the program is the integration of organizational, institutional and welfare economics in both applied and theoretical research. This approach gives the program a competitive advantage.

Graduate students have the opportunity of working with leading scholars engaged in a diverse range of challenging research projects that develop new knowledge about state, national and international agricultural issues. Many of these scholars are affiliated with internationally renowned research centers, including:

Many students conduct research with faculty, the results of which often lead to coauthorships on published papers, grants and other research reports.

Master of Science Degree

The M.S. degree program, usually completed in two years, offers students two alternatives:

  1. A traditional thesis option program comprising a minimum of 24 semester hours of course work and a thesis, or
  2. A non-thesis option comprising additional course work and a technical paper in place of the thesis.

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree program emphasizes preparation for research, teaching and extension and usually requires about three years beyond the master's program to complete.

Students build on a core of neoclassical economics, new institutional economics and welfare economics. This core is designed to give students a solid foundation in economic theory and quantitative methods, with an emphasis on applied research relating to agriculture, development, natural resources, and policy.

Ag Econ students

During the first year in the program, the Ph.D. core consists of two courses in advanced microeconomic theory, one course in new institutional economics, one course in welfare economics and one course in econometrics.

During the second year, students take a second econometrics course and a course in research methodology. Students also select their fields of specialization during the second year in the program.

During the third year, students conduct their dissertation research.

Progress in the Ph.D. program is assessed in part through written qualifying and comprehensive exams testing competency of the Ph.D. core and the student's chosen field of specialization, a sole-authored paper written during the second year in the program, and dissertation research.

Emphasis Areas

Beyond the core, doctoral candidates have flexibility in developing their own program by choosing specialties from one of the department's three areas of emphasis. The three areas of emphasis and related specialties are as follows:

  • Agribusiness Management, including agribusiness management and organization, contracting, governance and strategy, collective action and cooperative theory, entrepreneurship, sustainable agriculture, and economics of biotechnology and innovation
  • Public Policy Analysis, including food and agricultural policy, regulatory policies (e.g. food and environmental safety, IPR and market structure), rural development policy, econometrics and price analysis
  • Resources and Development, including natural resources and environmental economics, international trade, economic development, and regional economics

In addition to these specialty areas, students can also pursue studies through:

For More Information

Contact Harvey James, Director of Graduate Studies, at

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