Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC)

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The Department offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from one of the nation's premier graduate programs in agricultural and resource economics. Both programs focus on the application of advanced microeconomic theory and econometrics to issues in environmental and resource economics, agricultural economics, and development economics. Courses are taught by leading researchers in those fields, who combine rigorous scholarship with extensive policy experience.

The Department's faculty includes internationally prominent scholars in environmental and resource economics, agricultural economics, and development economics. In recognition of their research, Department faculty members have received such international awards as Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Prize, the American Economic Association's John Bates Clark Medal, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association's Quality of Research Discovery and Publication of Enduring Quality Awards, among others. Several have been elected fellows of such professional associations as the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (formerly the American Agricultural Economics Association), the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics, the Econometric Society, and the American Statistical Association. Department faculty members have served as presidents of the American Agricultural Economics Association and Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and as editors and associate editors of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, and Environment and Development Economics, among others. One faculty member is currently a research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. For additional Department highlights, please visit

The policy experience of the Department's faculty is equal to its scholarship in both quality and extent. Three have served on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Other policy experience includes service as consultants to agencies and organizations like the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. The University's location in the Washington, D.C., area provides numerous opportunities for interaction with the World Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, Resources for the Future, International Monetary Fund, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Agency for International Development, Food and Drug Administration, Inter-American Development Bank, Census Bureau, and a host of other such institutions and organizations.

Questions about the Department's graduate programs should be directed to the Graduate Program Coordinator at or 301-405-1820.

Admissions Information

At a minimum, students entering either the Department's M.S. or Ph.D. program are expected to have the following preparation:

  • Knowledge of macroeconomic theory at the intermediate level and microeconomic theory at the advanced level.
  • Knowledge of multivariate calculus and linear algebra.
  • Knowledge of elementary statistical methods.

    Additional coursework in mathematics is desirable--for example, analysis, probability, advanced statistics, or differential equations.

    Students are normally admitted to the MS and PhD programs only for the fall semester, because the first year program consists of course sequences that begin only in the fall.

    Transfer from M.S. to Ph.D. Program

    Students enrolled in the Department's M.S. program may apply for admission to the Department's Ph.D. program by submitting a new Graduate School application, supplemental transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. The Graduate School application fee is waived if the student applies for the Ph.D. program in or before the semester in which the M.S. degree will be completed. Students within the Department's M.S. program need not submit GRE's when applying for the Ph.D. program.

    Application Deadlines
    Type of Applicant Fall Spring

    Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents

    Deadline: January 15
    Preferred: January 15

    International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.

    Deadline: January 15
    Preferred: January 15

    Application Requirements

    University of Maryland's Graduate Application Process The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons (link is external) application system. Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements (link is external) site for specific instructions.

    As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

    1. Graduate application Graduate application (link is external)
    2. Transcripts
    3. Statement of purpose
    4. Three letters of recommendation
    5. A curriculum vitae or resume
    6. A listing of all economics, mathematics and statistics courses taken
    7. Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which an applicant applies
    8. Students from non-English-speaking countries are required to demonstrate English proficiency by providing scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

    The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean. To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions (link is external).

    Information for International Graduate Students

    The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (link is external) (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students. International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions. The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance. Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents. Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants (link is external) for more information.

    Degree Requirements

    Master of Science (M.S.)
    The M.S. program trains students to conduct economic research in the fields of environmental and resource economics, agricultural economics, and development economics. It provides rigorous training in microeconomic theory and econometrics and in the application of microeconomics and econometrics to policy issues. Students completing their MS degrees go on to work in U.S. government agencies and international organizations.

    The M.S. program requires a minimum of 33 credits of coursework (i.e., 16 credits of electives in addition to the 17 credits of required coursework) and defense of a scholarly paper. No M.S. thesis is required.

    Required courses for the M.S. program consist of basic coursework in microeconomic theory and econometrics:

  • The first semester of the sequence in microeconomic theory (ECON 603).
  • A two-semester sequence in applied econometrics (AREC 623 and 624).
  • A one-semester course on mathematical optimization (AREC 620).
  • A one-semester course on applications of microeconomic theory to agricultural and resource economics (AREC 610).

    The first-year coursework normally includes these 17 credits (3 credits each for ECON 603, AREC 620, AREC 610 plus 4 credits each for AREC 623 and AREC 624).

    M.S. students fulfill additional coursework requirements by taking electives to suit their own interests during their second year. Elective courses are normally selected from M.S. level courses (600 level or above) in AREC or ECON but may be taken in other disciplines with adviser approval. For detailed information on the scholarly paper, see the "MS Scholarly Paper Requirement" at

    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    The Ph.D. program trains students to design, perform, lead, and implement economic research projects in the fields of environmental and resource economics, agricultural economics, and development economics. It also trains students in how to disseminate research results in the major professional media including journals, reports, conferences, and seminars. It provides rigorous training in microeconomic theory and econometrics and in the application of microeconomics and econometrics to policy issues. Students completing their Ph.D. degrees find employment in academia, U.S. government agencies, international organizations, and consulting firms.

    Requirements for the Ph.D. degree include a minimum of 42 credits of coursework, completion of a four course field, 12 credits of Ph.D. dissertation research (AREC 899), development of a research paper worthy of submission to a well-regarded journal, development and defense of a dissertation prospectus, and successful defense of a Ph.D. dissertation.

    The first year of the program consists of basic coursework in microeconomic theory, econometrics, and mathematical methods. It consists of the following courses: A two-semester sequence in microeconomic theory (ECON 603 and 604); A two-semester sequence in applied econometrics (AREC 623 and 624); A one-semester course on mathematical optimization (AREC 620); A one-semester course on applications of microeconomic theory to agricultural and resource economics (AREC 610).

    Students must earn a "B-" or better in each of these courses and a B (3.0) average or better in graduate coursework. If necessary, students can re-take these courses one time to achieve this standard. The first-year course requirements account for 20 credits (3 credits each for ECON 603, ECON 604, AREC 620, and AREC 610, plus 4 credits each for AREC 623 and AREC 624). First-year students are also expected to complete self-directed instruction regarding econometric software during August and January, attend additional instruction and develop qualifying paper topics during January, and participate in a paper-writing workshop in June at the end of the first year. The June workshop helps students develop their research for publication in academic journals as well as oral presentation. This workshop is useful for fostering the completion of the required research paper.

    The second year of the program consists mainly of six elective courses. All students are required to take four courses from among the following courses offered in AREC: AREC 783, AREC 785, AREC 815, AREC 825, AREC 832, AREC 845, AREC 846, and ECON 781 with the remainder from that list, from graduate courses offered by the Economics Department or (with approval by the Director of Graduate Studies) from another supporting department on campus.

    Facilities and Special Resources

    The AREC Department provides a 15-seat computer lab for the exclusive use of our graduate students. The lab is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Another 25-seat lab is available by reservation for classes, presentations, and research (e.g., experimental economics sessions). These labs are equipped with thin client devices that connect end users to desktop virtual desktops. This solution allows graduate students to remotely access a virtual desktop with all the applications listed below, as well as their files stored on the network servers. The following applications are available at this time: ArcInfo, Fortran, Mathematica, Matlab, Mozilla Firefox, MS Office, R, SAS, Stata, StatTransfer,TextPad, Lyx and WinEdt. Graduate students can access the AREC network and Internet from home via several remote access methods. A multifunction printer/scanner/copier is available in the graduate student computer lab. Wireless access is available to the campus network.

    The Department offers close proximity to an incomparable array of government agencies, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations devoted to environmental issues, agricultural policy, natural resource management, and international development. Opportunities for attending stimulating seminars abound. Many students find useful work experience, access to data, and cutting-edge thesis topics as well as future employment through these organizations. These include (all within approximately 10 miles) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Economic Research Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Resources for the Future, the Joint Institute for Food Science and Nutrition, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center with its National Agricultural Library, as well as the U.S. Capitol, Senate, and House of Representatives.

    Financial Assistance

    Graduate assistantships are offered to qualified applicants on the basis of past academic performance, research potential, and availability of funds. Many full-time students in the Department hold assistantships or some other form of financial aid. Part- time and summer work are sometimes available for students who do not have assistantships. Graduate fellowships are also available on a competitive basis. The Department offers financial assistance in the form of graduate assistantships and fellowships. To apply, use the form for requesting financial assistance included in the Graduate School application packet.

    Graduate Assistantships

    Many of our students are supported by graduate assistantships with responsibilities for either research or teaching. Graduate assistants are expected to work an average of 20 hours a week on their research or teaching duties. They must maintain at least a B average. They are considered employees of the University and are thus covered by health insurance. In addition to a competitive salary, graduate assistants receive tuition remission for up to 10 credits in the fall and spring semesters and up to 4 credits each summer semester.


    The Department awards a number of fellowships each year to highly qualified applicants. Annual fellowship stipends are highly competitive. Fellowship awards also include tuition remission of up to twelve credits per semester. Fellowships are awarded to Ph.D. students for two (2) years. After the expiration of the fellowship, the Department expects to provide Ph.D. fellowship recipients with an additional two years of support as a graduate assistant subject to satisfactory academic progress.

    All applicants for financial aid are automatically considered for fellowships as well as assistantships.

    Financial assistance in the form of loans and work study may also be available. Interested students should contact the University's Office of Student Financial Aid.

    Contact Information

    The AREC Graduate Program website at provides course requirements, examination procedures, and descriptive material for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

    Graduate Program
    Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2200 Symons Hall, University of Maryland

    College Park, MD  20742
    Telephone: (301) 405-1820


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