- Graduate Program
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The department offers two Master's degrees, a Ph.D. and a Ph.D. minor field in agricultural and applied economics. Small classes, careful student mentoring by faculty, and a rich array of campus resources make the student's experience at Wisconsin a rewarding one. Not least, the students themselves bring a wealth of academic, cultural and professional experience which further enriches the educational milieu.
The department's international reputation is reflected in its consistent ranking in the top departments nationwide. A Wisconsin education is recognized around the world for its rigor, its breadth, and its special commitment to improving the human condition.
Graduate course offerings and faculty interests are structured around four traditional research areas: Environmental and Resource Economics, International Development, Economics of Agriculture, and Community Economic Development.
Since Fall 2015, the department offers a specialized training program within its Master of Arts degree: Resource and Energy Demand Analysis (REDA). This 11-month Master's option offers accelerated training in the economics, analytical methods and quantitative tools needed to design, manage, and evaluate programs to conserve energy, water and other natural resources. This unique program equips students to enter a fast-growing job market working as analysts for consulting firms, utilities, regulators, and organizations promoting renewables and conservation. Explosive growth in smart technologies (water, gas and electricity meters, thermostats, etc.) is generating vast amounts of "big data" to measure which conservation initiatives work.
The department's disciplinary strengths are augmented by top-ranked programs in economics, environmental studies, life sciences, finance, statistics, math, and public policy. The most recent Times Higher Education World University survey ranked UW-Madison 17th in the world in social sciences, ahead of Berkeley, Cornell, Minnesota and other peers. Wisconsin ranked 10th among public universities in the latest U.S. News and World Report ranking.
The faculty, distinguished by its record of service, research and outreach, excels in obtaining research support from government, foundations, and international agencies. Much of this support goes toward collaborative research with graduate students. Students in the department typically have the opportunity to obtain practical research experience and to publish the results through their participation in faculty-led research projects.
Historically, graduate students in AAE arrive and depart with exceptional qualifications. Our incoming students average 162 on the quantitative GRE. PhD students take 5-8 courses taught by nationally prominent faculty in the Department of Economics. Since 2000, the median time to degree for AAE PhD students was 5.3 years, below national averages. Our PhD graduates go on to academic employment, government service and non-governmental organizations and private research institutes. See the employment outcomes, as profiled by the Graduate School, here.
"One of the most positive things about the program is the sense of community among the graduate students and faculty. In my first year, all of us taking the Ph.D. theory sequence approached it like a team sport--we formed tight study groups and helped each other through every problem set, exam and prelim. The faculty members were also extraordinarily friendly and always attended the events put on by the Taylor-Hibbard Club.
"On the academic side, the department offers an excellent sequence of micro and macroeconomic development courses. At the end, you really feel as though you have both a breadth and critical depth of understanding of most of the debates in the literature, and a strong foundation for developing a dissertation topic."
Elizabeth Katz, Class of 1992, Department of Economics, University of San Francisco