Master of Science

Graduate Studies

At Mississippi State University, we understand that you want to set yourself up for success in a job that pays you what you're worth, keeps you engaged, and brings enjoyment and opportunities for personal and professional growth. The Department of Agricultural Economics' Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Agricultural Economics is designed to help you do just that.

Our M.S. program graduates are well positioned to either enter the workforce directly upon graduation or to continue into a Ph.D. program to further develop their skills and expertise. The program stresses mastery of advanced microeconomic theory and quantitative data analysis for application to problems related to agriculture, the environment, health, and more.

Successful Graduates

With all the options available for a Master's degree, how do you know which program is right for you? At Mississippi State, we believe that student success after graduation is the best measurement of value. Master of Science in Agriculture with a concentration in Agricultural Economics graduates who wish to continue their education have entered some of the top agricultural and applied economics Ph.D. programs in the nation. M.S. program graduates who entered the workforce directly have worked as analysts, program managers, marketing specialists, and economists for government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Where are they now?

Betty Thomas entered the M.S. program after graduating with a bachelor's degree in Agribusiness from Mississippi State. She wanted to further her education in the field to deepen her data analysis skill-set. Her thesis research examined the consumer purchasing response to mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food. Upon graduation with her M.S., she was employed as a research analyst at Bryant Christie, Inc., an international agricultural affairs firm on the West Coast that assists U.S. commodity groups with market access, market development, and regulatory concerns abroad. Regarding her time at Mississippi, she said, "I truly learned how to think like an economist, analyze policy with a critical and data-driven lens, and effectively communicate about complex issues."

Julian Hwang graduated from our M.S. program in 2013. He was then employed as an economist by a Florida state government agency where he conducted economic research on natural resources and conservation issues and made policy recommendations. He pursued his Ph.D. at the University of Florida while he continued to work as an economist. Today, he is the chief economist with a Louisiana state government agency and a professor of practice at a university. Reflecting on his time in our program, he says, "You never know when your life is about to change, but the M.S. program was the first step to my American dream. Came for a degree, left with mentors and friends for life!"

A Program with You in Mind

Students in our M.S. program work closely with devoted, knowledgeable, nationally- and world-renowned faculty in their respective fields. Students learn how to conduct cutting-edge research using the latest data analysis and modeling methods so that they're prepared to address a wide variety of problems in a Ph.D. program or in the workplace after graduation. Students learn to use data analysis and other software programs they're likely to use after graduation: R, SAS, Stata, MATLAB, and Qualtrics, to name a few.

The Degree

The M.S. program typically takes two years to complete. Requirements include the completion of at least 26 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis research. Students pursue thesis research topics in natural resource and environmental economics, agricultural risk and risk management, policy, health, behavioral and experimental economics, econometrics, etc. For more information on research conducted by our faculty, see the individual faculty links on our department's website. See below for more detailed information on the program, admissions, and assistantships.

Our Plan for Your Success

Starting your journey to a better life begins with just three easy steps:

  1. Request more information about the program
  2. Apply Online
  3. Begin classes and be on your way to a brighter future

More information

Program of Study

First Year, Fall Semester
AEC 6713 Quantitative Economics 3
AEC 6733 Econometric Analysis in Agricultural Economics 3
AEC 8163 Consumers, Producers, and Markets 3
AEC 8611 Research Seminar I 1
First Year, Spring Semester
AEC 8123 Analysis of Agricultural Markets 3
AEC 8143 Agricultural Production Economics 3
AEC 8403 Game Theory 3
AEC 8621 Research Seminar II 1
First Year, Maymester
AEC 8843 Survey Design and Experimental Economics 3
Second Year, Fall Semester
AEC 8233 Applied Welfare and Environmental Economics 3
Additional Required Hours
AEC 9000 Thesis research hours in AEC 6
Total Required Hours: 32


A student must have previously completed the following undergraduate courses (or equivalent) with a grade of C or higher before beginning the M.S. Program of Study:

EC 3113 Intermediate Macroeconomics
EC 3123 Intermediate Microeconomics
MA 1613 Calculus for Business and Life Sciences 1
ST 2113 Introduction to Statistics

Admissions Requirements

Visit the Graduate School website for official details. We provide a summary of requirements here.

Admission and assistantship funding decisions are made by the department's graduate admissions committee. Prospective students should therefore not contact individual faculty members about program admission or possible assistantships before applying.

The application requirements are: transcript, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, an application fee, and, for international students not meeting the conditions outlined in the Graduate Catalog, official TOEFL scores. Additionally, official GRE scores and official undergraduate transcripts are required to be considered for an assistantship. We do not waive any of these requirements or fees for any applicants. The minimum requirement for TOEFL scores are 575/84 or higher or IELTS scores of 7 or higher. Based on recent years, students admitted to the MS program with assistantship funding have had combined Verbal/Quantitative Reasoning GRE scores of 300 or better (and individual scores each of 150 or better). That said, no particular scores are a guarantee of admission to the program or of assistantship funding as those decisions are made on a competitive basis each application cycle.

We admit students into the M.S. program only in the fall semester. For more information on deadlines, see the Graduate School Deadlines. Applications are submitted online.


Admission and assistantship funding decisions are made by the department’s graduate admissions committee. Prospective students should therefore not contact individual faculty members about program admission or possible assistantships before applying. Admitted students identify their thesis major advisor and research area in their first (fall) semester. While a student’s assistantship work may be tied to a particular faculty member and project, the student can conduct thesis research with any faculty member. No additional documents are required to apply for an assistantship. The assistantships come with a full tuition waiver and a stipend. For full consideration for an assistantship, we recommend prospective students submit complete applications no later than February 1 for admission in the subsequent fall term.

Additional Inquiries

If you have additional questions, contact Dr. Dan Petrolia, Professor & Graduate Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Economics.