This rigorous STEM-designated program includes core coursework in economic theory, quantitative methods, and two fields of specialization selected from the following: 

Applicants for the Ph.D. degree should have completed an M.S. degree in economics, agricultural economics, or a closely related field. Prior training should include micro and macroeconomic theory at the master's level, calculus and linear algebra, and mathematical statistics. Students lacking a background in economics or quantitative methods may be required to complete additional coursework before entering the program.

For those in other fields of study looking to minor in applied economics, visit Minor Requirements.

Outline of Requirements

For complete program requirements, please visit the Graduate Student Handbook (PDF).

Core Courses

Microeconomic Theory

Apec 8001-2-3-4: Applied Microeconomic Analysis, 8 credits, two-semester sequence or Econ 8101-2-3-4: Microeconomic Theory, 8 credits, two-semester sequence


ApEc 8211-14: Econometric Analysis, 8 credits, two-semester sequence

Ph.D. Seminar

ApEc 8901 First Year Graduate Seminar, 1 credit
ApEc 8903-8904: Qualifying Paper Seminar, 2 credits, two-semester sequence

Visit the courses page for descriptions.


Students must complete 18 credits (minimum of 6 courses) in Applied Economics at the 8xxx-level in addition to the required courses (not including Ph.D. seminar classes, independent study, pre-thesis credits or thesis credits). These courses must be taken A-F and must be taken while a student is enrolled in the Applied Economics Graduate Program (Ph.D. or MS). The Graduate Handbook provides more details on the requirements for the Ph.D. program.


Written preliminary examinations for the Ph.D. degree include a written examination in microeconomic theory and completion of two fields' coursework with a GPA requirement (Health Economics has a written exam as well). View previous years' examinations for examples.

In addition to the written preliminary exam and field course GPA requirement, Ph.D. students must satisfy the qualifying paper requirement. The paper is expected to be a substantive research paper. Ph.D. students enroll in a year-long seminar class and work with a paper supervisor to support the research and writing to meet the second-year paper requirement.

After passing the written preliminary exam requirements, the student must take a preliminary oral examination. This exam can be based on coursework, a thesis prospectus, or some combination of the two. It is administered by a committee of four people including three from the graduate faculty in the Applied Economics Graduate Program and one from the graduate faculty outside the Applied Economics Graduate Program. At the conclusion of the thesis research, a final oral examination is taken. The final oral exam consists of a public seminar (in which the candidate presents the thesis) and a closed meeting between the candidate and the appointed examining committee.


The expected time for completing the Ph.D. degree is forty-five months for full-time students.