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Agricultural & Applied Economics Graduate Student Handbook

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Introduction
Department Organization
Graduate Program Requirements and Regulations
Funding, Teaching, and the Job Market
Department Physical Facilities
Department Check-out
Section 1
Introduction

This handbook describes the major programs, policies, procedures, and regulations of the Agricultural and Applied Economics graduate program. The REDA option has its own handbook. The UW-Madison Graduate School is the ultimate authority for granting graduate degrees at the University, and the department administers the program under its authority. The handbook delineates departmental expectations with respect to its graduate students as well as what graduate students can expect from the department. Thus, it is intended to serve as a convenient central source of information for both students and faculty. The information in this handbook supplements the Catalog and the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures and should be used in conjunction with those resources.

The graduate program offers Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, as well as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The objective of the graduate program is to train economists knowledgeable in theory, econometrics and at least one applied field for professional positions in teaching, research and extension in colleges and universities, and for research and administration in public and private agencies and organizations. The graduate requirements are designed to develop a set of analytical skills applicable to a wide range of problems.

The Master's program requirements include a set of core theory and econometrics courses, and electives in Agricultural and Applied Economics and other departments. Master's students are also given the opportunity to conduct research leading to a master's thesis for the Master of Science degree. The formal learning goals for Master’s students include:

  • Articulates and critiques theories and empirical methods to address research issues in agricultural, environmental, international development or community economics
  • Identifies data sources, appropriate methodologies, and evaluates evidence relevant to questions in agricultural, environmental, development or community economics
  • Clearly communicates applied economics issues, methods, and empirical analysis using both written and oral strategies
  • Recognizes and applies principles of ethical, collegial and professional conduct

In addition to the specific course and examination requirements, the Ph.D. program requires that the student obtain practical research experience through the preparation of a dissertation. A student in either program has the opportunity to obtain additional practical experience as a Research Assistant.

All candidates for advanced degrees are required to show acceptable mastery of economic theory and econometrics. In addition, Ph.D. candidates must choose a specialization and develop expertise in a major field of study. The formal learning goals for Ph.D. students include:

  • Articulates and critiques theories and empirical methods to address research issues in agricultural, environmental, international development or community economics
  • Identifies data sources, appropriate methodologies, and evaluates evidence relevant to questions in agricultural, environmental, international development or community economics
  • Creates scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to the chosen major field and to society
  • Clearly communicates applied economics issues, methods, and empirical analysis using both written and oral strategies
  • Recognizes and applies principles of ethical, collegial, and professional conduct

The procedures and requirements described in this document are intended to guide the student through the program. Special problems or circumstances may arise in which the procedures are not clear or in which an exception to the rule appears warranted. Questions on all such matters may be discussed with the department Academic Programs Coordinator or the Director of Graduate Studies. The department's Graduate Committee (described in Section 2) formally considers specific requests for modifications of or exceptions to the rules. Generally, rule exceptions require a formal petition to the Graduate Committee. This can be submitted through either the Academic Programs Coordinator or the Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Committee will then act on the request.

Section 2
Organization of the Department

The department operates on democratic principles. Each year the department Chair is appointed by the Dean on the basis of an advisory ballot by all assistant, associate, and full professors. The Chair is viewed by the department as its official representative and as an administrator who executes rather than develops departmental policies. Thus, the entire department develops and approves all programs, policies and staff changes. To expedite its work, the department uses standing committees; members are appointed annually by the Chair with the advice and consent of the faculty. Graduate students elect representatives to serve on the Graduate Committee.

Departmental standing committees include:
Advancement. Manages alumni relations and fundraising.
Curriculum. Curriculum planning and management.
Executive. Composed of all tenured professors; makes important policy decisions, including reviews of all personnel actions with respect to promotions and tenure.
Extension. Oversees departmental policy in all areas of extension activity.
Graduate. Handles graduate student admissions, ranks students for financial aid, evaluates satisfactory progress, initiates course changes for the graduate curriculum. The extended committee includes 2-3 student representatives, who advise the committee on non-personnel matters.
Information Technology and Media. Manages department network, classroom technology, purchasing.
Major Field Prelim. Prepares and grades preliminary exams in four thematic areas: international development; environmental and resource economics; economics of agriculture; and community economics. (see Section 3.4).
Personnel. Recruits new faculty, evaluates assistant and associate professors for promotion, and handles general personnel matters involving all faculty members.
Renk Council. Oversees the Renk Agribusiness Program.
Undergraduate. Reviews student petitions for course substitution and considers departmental and college curriculum changes.

Section 3
Gradudate Program Requirements and Regulations
3.1 Advising

Incoming students will be assigned a faculty advisor. To the extent possible, students and advisors are paired based on research interests. The advisor helps students select courses in their first semesters, providing important guidance especially in choosing the major and minor field courses. Students are encouraged to keep in close contact with their faculty advisor, who will help them secure funding, write research proposals, and make a variety of professional decisions during their course of study.

As students begin to define their research interests and make plans for writing the thesis or dissertation, they may want to change faculty advisors in order to work with someone better able to guide their research. Students take the initiative in changing advisors, and there is no formal procedure for doing so. However, it is important to communicate fully with both the initial advisor and the new major professor. Also inform the Academic Programs Coordinator when any change is made.

Students can maximize their learning and professional development by starting their graduate careers with an Individual Development Plan. The IDP helps with goal-setting, tracking progress and communicating with mentors. More information on IDPs is available through the Graduate School Office of Professional Development.

Graduate students are responsible for knowing the procedures and requirements of the University. Students should always reference the student resources page, this handbook, the Graduate School’s website (www.grad.wisc.edu), and the Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures (http://grad.wisc.edu/acadpolicy/) for answers on various program-related questions. Help and further clarification is always available from the Academic Programs Coordinator, who may play a role with issues including satisfactory academic progress, academic deadlines, graduation completion, program-related forms, advising/course holds and permissions, course offerings and other types of support.

3.2 The Master's Degree
Overview

Graduate Students may work toward either the Master of Arts (M.A.) or the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Applied Economics. Both the M.A. and the M.S. degrees require students to demonstrate a Master's-level understanding of economic theory and quantitative methods by successfully completing a set of core courses. Beyond the core courses, however, the programs have different emphases: the M.A. program emphasizes subject matter, while the M.S. program emphasizes research and requires writing a thesis.

The Master's programs include course work that presumes students have taken courses in intermediate microeconomic theory, intermediate macroeconomic theory, two semesters of calculus, and introductory statistics.

Requirements for the Master of Arts

To receive the M.A. degree, a graduate student must earn 30 credits with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). A minimum of 15 credits must be courses designated as “graduate level” in the Course Guide. They must also successfully complete requirements 1-3, below, earning a grade of B or better in each course, as recorded on the official transcript. The specific course requirements are as follows:

  1. Microeconomic Theory* (3 credits)
    AAE 635 Applied Microeconomic Theory
  2. Econometrics* (6 credits)
    AAE 636 and 637 Applied Econometric Analysis I & II
  3. Economic Analysis (15 credits, both a and b)
    1. At least 9 credits of Agricultural and Applied Economics taught courses at the 500 level or above, and
    2. At least 6 credits of Agricultural and Applied Economics taught courses at the 400 level or above
  4. Other Course Work (6 credits)
    Six credits at the 300-level or above in any department (including Agricultural and Applied Economics) to bring the total number of credits up to 30. These credits may include independent study.
* Students in the doctoral program who decide to stop with a Master's degree may be allowed to substitute 711, 713 and 709, 710 for these requirements.
Requirements for the Master of Science

To receive the M.S. degree, a student must complete a Master's thesis and earn 30 credits with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale). A minimum of 15 credits must be courses designated as “graduate level” in the Course Guide. In addition, the courses used to fulfill requirements 1-3, below, must be successfully completed with a grade of B or better in each course, as recorded on the official transcript. The specific course requirements are as follows:

  1. Microeconomic Theory* (3 credits)
    AAE 635 Applied Microeconomic Theory
  2. Econometrics* (6 credits)
    AAE 636 and 637 Applied Econometric Analysis I & II
  3. Economic Analysis (9 credits)
    Nine credits in Agricultural and Applied Economics taught courses at the 500-level or above
  4. Other Course Work (6 credits) Six credits at the 300-level or above in any department (including Agricultural and Applied Economics). These credits may include independent study.
  5. Six additional credits of 990 Research and Thesis, or graduate-level taught courses.
* Students in the doctoral program who decide to stop with a Master's degree may be allowed to substitute 711, 713, 709, 710 for these requirements.

The Master's thesis is a written report on a research topic chosen by the student, in consultation with the major professor. The thesis must be successfully defended during an oral examination before a thesis committee composed of at least three people, one of whom is the student's major professor and one of whom may be non-graduate-faculty (such as academic staff, visiting professor, emeritus professor, etc.). The selection of the remaining committee members is the student's responsibility, in consultation with the major professor. Faculty outside the department may serve on committees, but a majority of the members must be from within the department. Students are also responsible for arranging the final oral defense with the committee members and making sure they are provided a copy of the thesis at least two weeks prior to the defense date. Students should expect to have to make at least minor revisions to the thesis after the defense, necessitating a stay of at least two weeks after the oral defense to complete the final version of the thesis.

A student may choose whether to deposit her/his thesis in Memorial Library (follow style guidelines), but he/she must file a copy in the Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room. See the Academic Programs Coordinator for guidelines on preparing the library copy of the thesis.

It may be helpful to look at examples of other theses available on the shelves of the Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room.

Typical Course Sequences for the Master's Degrees in Applied Economics
Master of Arts
Fall Spring
Year 1 AAE 635 & 636
Any course > 300
AAE 637
Any course > 300
AAE>=4XX
Year 2 AAE >=5XX
AAE >=5XX
AAE>=4XX
AAE >=5XX
Master of Science
Fall Spring
Year 1 AAE 635 & 636
Any course > 300
AAE 637
Any course > 300
AAE>=5XX
Year 2 AAE >=5XX
AAE >=5XX
AAE 990 (thesis)
AAE 990 (thesis)
Receiving the Master's Degree

By the middle of the semester in which a student anticipates receiving the Master's degree, he or she should report to the Academic Programs Coordinator. See the deadlines for and procedures degree completion. The record will be checked to make sure the student has completed all degree requirements, removed all incompletes, etc. If everything is in order, a Master's degree warrant will be ordered from the Graduate School. All incompletes must be removed before a warrant can be issued for a Master's degree. The final grade for 990 credits must be changed from P to S.

Students must be registered for at least two credits in the semester in which they plan to receive a Master's degree. In rare situations the Graduate School will approve the payment of a degree completion fee for students who have met all degree requirements except thesis defense or removal of an incomplete. To be eligible the student must have submitted the thesis paper while registered. The fee is equal to 2 graduate credits at the in-state rate. The department must complete a request for this exception to be made.

Master's Degree Completion Checklist
  • Complete coursework, maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA, and clear all incompletes.
  • By mid-semester in semester in which you will receive the degree, notify the Academic Programs Coordinator. You must be registered for at least 2 credits for the semester in which you receive your degree. (see Graduate School Master's Degree Deadlines and Events).
  • If receiving the Master of Science, schedule a thesis defense in consultation with major professor, committee and Academic Programs Coordinator
    • Give APC three weeks of notice for warrant to be ordered
    • Take degree warrant to thesis defense for signatures
  • Submit bound thesis to the APC for the Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room
  • Submit electronic copy to APC for consideration for department and AAEA thesis award
  • If submitting thesis to Memorial Library, consult the Graduate School's Guide to Preparing Your Master's Thesis; walk manuscript and advisor's page to Memorial Library before degree deadline
  • If receiving the Master of Arts, at the end of semester verify that Academic Programs Coordinator has sent degree warrant to the Graduate School
  • If attending Commencement, make arrangements according to instructions available from the Commencement Hotline, 262-9076
  • If leaving department, see checkout instructions in Section 6

3.3  Change of Status to Ph.D. Program

Master’s students who wish to continue for the Ph.D. must apply for a change of status. The application should consist of a brief letter from the student simply requesting a change in status, accompanied by 1 to 3 letters of support from the student's advisor and other department faculty. Applications for admittance to the Ph.D. sequence usually are made after a student has successfully completed AAE 635 - 637.

 

3.4 The Ph.D. Degree
Overview

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to develop comprehensive proficiency in four distinct areas: (1) economic theory; (2) econometrics; (3) a major field of study; and (4) a minor field. Proficiency is demonstrated through course work and performance on preliminary exams. The Ph.D. program includes course work that presumes students have taken one year's equivalent of calculus, introductory statistics, and mastery of the mathematical topics covered in Economics 703 (including linear algebra).

Following a summary presentation of these requirements, the specific requirements are spelled out in detail.

Summary of Ph.D. Curriculum
  1. Economic Theory (9 credits)
    Econ 711 and 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence and Econ 712 or 714 Economic Theory: Macroeconomics Sequence
  2. Statistics and Econometrics (6 credits)
    Econ 709 and 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I & II.
  3. Major Field (9 credits)
    9 credits of taught AAE courses; see below for required courses.
  4. Minor Field (9 credits; courses must be designated as “graduate level” in the Course Guide; choose a. or b., below)
    1. Option A External (minimum of 9 credits): Credits taken from a single department or major field. The Option A minor program is planned in consultation with a faculty member in the minor department. The minor professor usually participates in the student's final oral examination. Signature from minor department required on prelim warrant.
    2. Option B Distributed (9 credits):
      9 credits from one or more departments and can include course work in AAE if it is outside the major field.
  5. Preliminary Examinations

    Preliminary Examination in Microeconomic Theory (must be taken unless grades of B or better in Econ 711 and 713): Administered by the Economics Department following completion of Ph.D. micro theory sequence. Students earning grades of B or better in Econ 711 and 713 receive an automatic pass.

    Major Field Preliminary Examination: Exam administered by the department. Student selects one of four major field areas (Environmental and Resource Economics; Economic Growth and Development; Economics of Agriculture; and, Community Economics) and prepares for exam based on major field course work.

  6. Minimum Credit Requirements

    Students must take a minimum of 9 credits of 600 and 700-level AAE courses. These credits may include courses used to fulfill the major and minor fields.

    The Graduate School requires a minimum of 32 credits of graduate work taken in residence at UW-Madison and 51 degree credits, which can include prior graduate course work taken at another institution. More details are in the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures.

Course Work in Microeconomic Theory

Every Ph.D. student must complete the doctoral microeconomics sequence, Economics 711 and 713. This sequence demands a high level of mathematical competence. Students intending to take these courses must have at least the equivalent of one year of calculus (including differential and integral), one semester of linear algebra, and one additional semester of advanced mathematical analysis and be prepared to gain mastery of the mathematical topics covered in Economics 703. Concurrent registration in Economics 703 and 711 is allowed, but students planning to do so must first satisfy the mathematics requirements outlined above.

Preliminary Examination in Microeconomic Theory and Progression in the Doctoral Program

As of 2006, students who receive a B or better in both Economics 711 and Economics 713 receive an automatic pass on the microeconomic theory prelim. Students who receive a BC or lower in either Economics 711 or Economics 713 must take and pass the prelim to meet the prelim requirement. Students cannot meet the requirement by retaking a course and receiving a grade of B.

Students who do not automatically pass must take the prelim in the summer following completion of the Ph.D. microeconomics sequence. This exam is typically given in June with an August re-take. A prelim application form must be submitted to the Economics Department, which administers the exam.

The theory examination committee from the Economics Department grades the exams blindly and assigns a numerical score. Based on those scores, the AAE Graduate Committee will assign one of three grades: pass; pass with distinction; or, fail. A grade of pass is taken as sufficient evidence that the student has acquired the necessary competence in microeconomics to excel as an applied economist and to advance to the next phase of the doctoral program. Students whose performance in the exam is outstanding may be awarded a pass with distinction.

In the event that it judges a student to fail the exam, the Graduate Committee will decide whether the student will be permitted to retake the exam. The exam must be taken at the next available time (usually December). A student not recommended for a retake will be asked to leave the doctoral program. Under rare circumstances, the Committee may recommend that a student who failed the exam twice be permitted to take the exam a third time.

The Graduate Committee’s recommendations on prelim exam grades and progression are subject to final approval by the AAE faculty.

Course Work in Macroeconomic Theory

Each Ph.D. student must satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B or better, as shown on the official transcript) either Economics 712 or 714 (Economic Theory: Macroeconomic Sequence).

Course Work in Econometrics

Each Ph.D. student must satisfactorily complete one of the following sequences (1) Economics 709-710; or (2) Economics 715-716 (with a total of 6 credits of work in econometrics 709 and above). This requirement must be completed, or be in the process of completion, before the student will be permitted to take the major field preliminary examination. To avoid delays in progress, students are encouraged to satisfy the econometrics requirement as soon as possible in their graduate program.

Major Field Course Work

The major field course work requirement is met by successful completion of one of the following fields:

Community Economics - 9 credits
Choose 9 credits in consultation with advisor

International Development - 9 credits
AAE 642 Foundations of Development Economics
AAE 730 Frontiers in Development Economics 1
AAE 731 Frontiers in Development Economics 2

Economics of Agriculture - 9 credits, choose from:
AAE 641 Foundations of Agricultural Economics
AAE 746 Frontiers in Agricultural Economics 1
AAE 747 Frontiers in Agricultural Economics 2

Environmental and Resource Economics - 9 credits
AAE 643 Foundations of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
AAE 760 Frontiers in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 1
AAE 762 Frontiers in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 2

It is to the student's advantage to determine his/her major field interest as soon as possible after starting graduate work, and to ascertain the specific research interests of the faculty in that area. By the end of the first year of course work (usually at the beginning of the summer session), the student should have discussed research possibilities with the faculty in the selected major area of interest and be prepared to begin problem definition and literature search.

The summer session is most conducive to this activity and holds at least two distinct advantages for the student. First, it can reduce significantly the time required to complete the doctoral program compared to those who do not begin to formulate their research interests until after several semesters of course work. Second, involvement in research--even if only at an elementary level--can be an extra and exciting stimulus to the appreciation of difficult course work; it can give a vitality to economic theory and econometrics that may be missing when these concepts are presented in the abstract.

For students on Research Assistantships research activity in the summer is viewed as a requirement, as is a specified amount of work during the academic year.

Major Field Preliminary Exam

In addition to the major field course work, each student is required to write an exam in one of the major field areas

The major field preliminary examination assures that all students receive breadth of coverage within one major field so as to qualify them for teaching in an area, and for giving them the basis from which to evolve as scholars. The major field examinations are comprehensive in nature, requiring a knowledge and understanding of the economics literature and its application in the particular area. Preparation for these examinations provides the student with an opportunity to identify and fill gaps in knowledge of the literature, to synthesize and organize the material encountered, and to bring it sufficiently under command so that it becomes effectively usable. The file of past major field examinations is available for study from the Academic Programs Coordinator in 423 Taylor Hall. Many students find team study helpful.

The preliminary examination will utilize a five-day take-home format. The exam is made available to students at 8 a.m. on the Monday of the exam week, and is due back at 5 p.m. on Friday of the exam week. Each major field examination committee prepares an exam based on the material covered in the field courses.

A student who is not granted a passing grade may petition to take the exam a second time. Only under rare circumstances would a student be permitted to take the exam a third time. A major field committee may also, with departmental approval, require an oral examination or other work related to the student's written examination performance.

Before taking the major field examination, the student must have completed all the department course requirements in economic theory, econometrics, and have completed all the major field course requirements. Minor field courses do not need to be completed. All incompletes must have been removed from the record. The major field examinations are generally offered during the summer at a time that is mutually agreeable to all students taking the exam.

Research Colloquium

All Ph.D. students who have not defended a dissertation proposal before the spring semester of their third year are required to take the Research Colloquium (AAE 780) taught in the spring semester. This course is designed to help students develop a dissertation proposal. Working in groups and with some additional feedback from individual advisors, students develop research questions, literature search, word models, math models, testable hypotheses, and identification strategies. They work with data, use LATEX, give presentations and do peer review of weekly assignments. The colloquium also helps students develop a cohort for subsequent feedback through dissertation writing and job search.

AAE 780 may be used as a minor field course.

Minor Field

The minor field is a university requirement whose purpose is to add breadth to the student's program of study. A well-planned minor field is comparable to a major field. For example, the student can take a set of major field courses in another department or another field in AAE. It can be valuable to a student as an alternative area for dissertation research and as an additional field of expertise when the student enters the job market. Ph.D. students should plan a minor early in their graduate careers (minor programs can always be revised). By formulating the minor plan early, students will be able to take the appropriate courses when they fit most easily into the program of study.

The Graduate Committee has determined that AAE 635, 636 and 637, as well as Econ 700, 701, 702, 704, 705, 706, and 708, are not allowable minor field courses because they are preparatory and do not add breadth or depth to a doctoral program. Preparatory courses in other departments are also not allowed for the minor (such as lower level economics or math courses). Likewise, courses taken in the theory and econometrics core (Econ 709, 710, 711, 713) cannot be used for the minor.

The two minor field options are described in the section on Summary of Ph.D. Curriculum, above.

Doctoral Minor for Students outside the Program

 

For doctoral students in other programs completing their minor using Option A:  Any student enrolled in a UW–Madison doctoral program may pursue a doctoral minor in Agricultural and Applied Economics.  Many students take the master’s core courses of AAE 635, 636 and 637 to gain training in microeconomic theory and econometrics that are designed to develop a set of analytical skills applicable to a wide range of problems in many disciplines, especially the social sciences.

 

Graduate students who wish to pursue an Option A external minor in Agricultural and Applied Economics should consult the AAE graduate coordinator or director of graduate studies of the department. Courses should be chosen in consultation with the student's departmental advisor and submitted for approval to AAE before they are taken. A student may earn a doctoral minor in AAE with 9 credits, if all 9 credits are in graduate-level courses pre-approved by AAE.  Students are expected to achieve a B or better in all courses used for the minor. Directed study courses do not count toward the minor.   The AAE director of graduate studies certifies the minor on the prelim warrant.

 

Major and Minor Field Course Planning Requirement

After passing the microeconomics theory prelim, each student is required to submit a Major and Minor Field Course Planning Form to designate courses which will be used to fulfill the major and minor requirements. The form must be signed by the student's major professor and be submitted to the Academic Programs Coordinator by the end of the year following successful completion of the prelim. If the student's curriculum subsequently changes, a revised form should be submitted to the Academic Programs Office.

Typical Course and Exam Sequence

Most new graduate students who do not already have a Master’s degree begin their studies on the Standard Track, augmenting their background in microeconomic theory and econometrics before embarking on the core Ph.D. courses in their area. The Graduate Committee makes recommendations to the student's academic advisor about whether s/he should begin with AAE 635 Applied Microeconomic Theory and AAE 636-637 Applied Econometric Analysis I & II.

The following tables illustrate a typical course work sequence for this Standard Track, as well as the sequence for the Accelerated Track, in which students begin the Ph.D. theory and econometric courses immediately upon matriculation. Students with Research Assistantships generally take 3 courses per semester, and students on fellowships take 3 or 4 courses per semester.

Typical Standard Track Course Work
Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 AAE 635
AAE 636
Econ 703
AAE 637
Foundations course
Minor field course
Year 2 Econ 709
Econ 711
Econ 712
Econ 710
Econ 713
Frontiers major field
Micro prelim, or auto-pass
Year 3 1 or 2 minor field courses
Begin dissertation research
Frontiers major field
780 Research Colloquium
Major field prelim
Defend dissertation proposal
Year 4 Dissertation research
Typical Accelerated Track Course Work
Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 Econ 709
Econ 711
Econ 712
Econ 710
Econ 713
Foundations field course
Micro prelim, or auto-pass
Year 2 Frontiers major field
2 minor field courses
Frontiers major field Major field prelim
Year 3 Begin dissertation research 780 Research Colloquium Defend dissertation proposal
Time Frames for 4- and 5-Year Ph.D. Programs

These tables present road maps for students on the Standard and Accelerated Tracks.

FOUR-YEAR TIME FRAME FOR Ph.D. PROGRAM
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Fall: Fall: Fall: Fall:
  • Core classes
  • Seek own funding opportunities (continue throughout years 2 and 3)
  • Become familiar with timeline and expectations for different career paths
  • Frontiers classes
  • Minor/skills classes
  • Consider completing dissertation proposal defense and moving to 'dissertator' status.
  • Assemble thesis committee
  • Dissertation research.
  • Finish job market paper
  • Participate in job market.
  • Dissertation research.
Spring: Spring: Spring: Spring:
  • Core classes
  • Foundations class
  • Initiate habit of reading literature in areas of interest
  • Frontiers classes
  • Minor/skills classes
  • Converge on a thesis topic.
  • Proposal writing class
  • Dissertation research
  • Begin preparing for job market
  • Finish job market
  • Complete and defend dissertation
  • Graduate
Summer: Summer: Summer: Summer:
  • Micro prelim exam (if needed).
  • Initiate work on a research paper in an area of interest.
  • Complete field exam.
  • Begin work on dissertation proposal document.
  • Dissertation research
  • Finish a paper suitable for entry in the 'best paper' contest
  • Prepare for next stage
  • Begin preparing manuscripts from dissertation for publication.
Potential goals: Potential goals: Potential goals: Potential goals:
  • Begin identifying role models in your areas of interest.
  • Identify area of dissertation research.
  • Present research in an informal graduate student venue.
  • Present research in a department seminar.
  • Submit a manuscript to a journal.
  • Give a conference talk
  • Complete transition from graduate student to professional economist.
FIVE-YEAR TIME FRAME FOR PH.D. PROGRAM
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Fall: Fall: Fall: Fall: Fall:
  • Pre-core classes
  • Become familiar with timeline and expectations for different career paths
  • Core classes
  • Seek own funding opportunities (continue throughout years 3 and 4)
  • Frontiers classes
  • Minor/skills classes
  • Converge on a thesis topic
  • Pass dissertation proposal defense early in fall and move to 'dissertator' status.
  • Finish job market paper
  • Participate in job market.
  • Dissertation research
Spring: Spring: Spring: Spring: Spring:
  • Pre-core classes
  • Foundations classes
  • Initiate habit of reading literature in areas of interest.
  • Core classes
  • Frontiers classes
  • Minor/skills classes
  • Proposal writing class
  • Assemble thesis committee
  • Dissertation research
  • Begin preparing for job market
  • Finish job market
  • Complete and defend dissertation
  • Graduate
Summer: Summer: Summer: Summer: Summer:
  • RA-type research activity.
  • Engage in empirical skills building activities.
  • Micro prelim exam (if needed).
  • Initiate work on a research paper in an area of interest.
  • Complete field exam
  • Finish a paper suitable for entry in the ‘best paper’ contest
  • Finalize dissertation proposal document.
  • Dissertation research
  • Polish job market paper
  • Prepare for next stage
  • Begin preparing manuscripts from dissertation for publication.
Potential goals: Potential goals: Potential goals: Potential goals: Potential goals:
  • Use first year writing assignments to explore dissertation topic candidates.
  • Begin identifying role models in your areas of interest.
  • Identify area of dissertation research
  • Present research in an informal graduate student venue.
  • Give a conference talk.
  • Present research in a department seminar.
  • Submit a manuscript to a journal.
  • Complete transition from graduate student to professional economist.
The Dissertation

The department requires a written dissertation proposal that must be orally defended before and approved by a three-person faculty committee.

Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Students who are undertaking dissertation research involving the use of surveys, interviews or other data gathering involving human subjects must comply with the university’s requirements. For information on compliance and approvals needed, see CALS research protocols on human subjects.

Proposal and Proposal Defense. Each student must prepare a dissertation proposal and have it approved by 3 faculty members who agree to serve on the student's thesis committee. Usually, the student presents the proposal before the committee at an oral defense, after which the proposal is either approved or further revisions are required.

The document for the dissertation proposal can take many forms, and the specifics are worked out between the student and major professor. The following provides one possible design that is based on the “three essay” model, which has become common in economics.

The proposal is organized around the three essays that will constitute the dissertation. For each essay, the student should, at a minimum:

  • Describe the research question
  • Motivate the importance of the research question and place it in its proper literature context
  • Identify the necessary data sources and how they will be obtained; and
  • Propose the steps that will be taken to complete the research.
In addition, the student should discuss the general themes that tie the three essays together.

The research question should be defined with a high degree of specificity, so that it can be placed into an identifiable academic literature. It should be motivated by its importance as an applied, real-world, and/or policy issue, as well as its potential to fill a gap in the academic literature. For the latter, the relevant literature should be described in a way that organizes existing knowledge on the subject, defines the scope of related and complementary studies, and places the proposed research into that organizational structure.

The data section should summarize the data that will be used in detail. Ideally the data will be in hand, so that the document can contain summary statistics, preliminary results, and basic evidence that the data are sufficient for the research question. If the data are not in hand, the student should present a concrete plan for their acquisition, as well as a fallback plan in the event that necessary information becomes unavailable.

Finally, the student should identify the tasks that will be undertaken to complete the research, and present any progress that has been made to date. This can include discussion of theoretical and empirical methodologies, planned field work, computational and programming considerations, skills that need to be acquired, and any other steps specific to the project.

These sections do not need to be equally detailed for all three essays, and it is common for one of the essays to be further developed than the others. Nonetheless, the proposal document should contain enough substance to convince the committee of each essay’s topical importance, contribution, originality, and reasonable prospects for success. There is no set page limit for the document, though 30 double spaced pages is often sufficient. An electronic version of the proposal document should be sent to committee members at least 10 days before the proposal defense.

Candidacy. A student is formally admitted to Ph.D. candidacy upon demonstrating mastery of economic theory, completing all courses including the major and minor requirements, passing the major field prelim, and obtaining approval of the written dissertation proposal. Dissertators pay a lower tuition rate but must remain continuously registered for 3 990 credits in fall and spring (and summer, if on an RAship); no further taught courses may be taken by dissertators.

Advancement to dissertator status is accomplished by filing the preliminary exam warrant in the Graduate School with the appropriate signatures, including those of the major professor plus the two other members of the reading committee, the department chair to certify that all major field requirements have been fulfilled, and the minor professor (or the department chair for a "distributed" minor). The student should notify the Academic Programs Coordinator three weeks before he/she is ready to advance to candidacy. Usually approval of the dissertation proposal is the last requirement to be completed. The Academic Programs Coordinator will order the preliminary warrant from the Graduate School. Please note that the preliminary warrant cannot be ordered until all incompletes have been removed from the student's record. The student is responsible for obtaining all the required signatures on the preliminary warrant. Once the warrant is completed and the needed signatures obtained, it should be returned to the Academic Programs Coordinator, who will photocopy it for the student's file and return the original to the Graduate School. The date on the preliminary warrant indicating when all the major field requirements have been completed must be prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which the student wishes to advance to dissertator status.

Final Oral Examination. The Graduate School's web site contains information on deadlines and rules for dissertation defense and guidelines for producing the final copy of the dissertation. Additionally, major professors may indicate style preferences. Students may also find it helpful to consult dissertations on file in the Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room.

When the major professor and student agree that the dissertation is ready for final defense, the student arranges for the final oral examination. It is the student's responsibility to provide the dissertation committee with the complete dissertation draft at least two weeks prior to the scheduled defense. The full committee of five consists of the three faculty who reviewed the dissertation proposal and signed the preliminary warrant, plus two other people, one of whom must be graduate faculty and one of whom may be non-graduate-faculty (such as academic staff, visiting professor, emeritus professor, etc.). The committee must include at least one member from outside the department. Note that faculty members with joint appointments in Agricultural and Applied Economics and another department do not qualify as outside members of the final oral exam committee. If the student has an external minor, it is traditional that one of the five members be from the minor department.

When the composition of the committee is determined and the oral defense date scheduled, the Academic Programs Coordinator requests the degree warrant from the Graduate School. Once this form is filed the oral defense date may be changed, but any changes to the committee composition must be reported in a revised warrant request. The Academic Programs Coordinator retains the degree warrant in the student's file until the defense.

The student should bring to the exam the final warrant, which must be signed by the major professor and other committee members as appropriate. See the schedule of deadlines for the Graduate School to receive the signed warrant, approved library copy of the dissertation, and other materials in order for a student to be awarded the Ph.D. for that semester. The Graduate School also stipulates that no final oral exam may be taken more than five calendar years following the major field prelim exam.

Copies of the dissertation must be filed as follows:

  1. Electronic deposit to the Graduate School Ph.D. Coordinator
  2. One bound copy to the APC for the Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (hard cover binding with the student's name on the side; double-sided pages are ok)
  3. One electronic copy to the Academic Programs Coordinator, if the student wishes to be considered for the departmental or AAEA dissertation award.
  4. Bound copies to the major professor and reading committee, if requested
  5. Copies to other members of the committee as requested by them

Other Ph.D. Program Requirements

In addition to the course work, exam and dissertation requirements, there are several other requirements for the Ph.D., described below.

Minimum Credit Requirement. Effective in 2014-15, the Graduate School requires 32 credits taken in residence at UW-Madison, and 51 total degree credits for the Ph.D..

Language Requirement. There is no general departmental foreign language requirement for doctoral candidates. However, depending on the student's area of interest, the major professor may suggest course work to facilitate competence in a particular language if that language is necessary for the student's proposed field research

Grade Requirements. The Graduate School requires students to maintain a grade point average of at least B (3.0 on the 4-point scale) throughout their studies. Although credits earned with a grade of C (or BC) are below Graduate School standards, these grades may be accepted toward course and credit requirements provided they are offset by an equivalent number of credits of A (or AB) work in taught courses or seminars (not arranged reading courses, research, or special projects). Grades of B or better are required in all the core courses.

Enrollment Requirement. Students are expected to register and pay tuition while using university facilities and consulting with faculty advisors. The Graduate School requires that all dissertators maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in 3 credits of AAE 990.  In rare circumstances where this is not possible a degree completion fee is assessed to recognize the inevitable use of university facilities (which includes faculty and staff time) up to and including successful defense of the dissertation. The fee is equal to 12 times the current per-credit dissertation rate, based on resident or nonresident status held during the last term of registration. If a student breaks registration and then re-enters and registers for less than 4 continuous terms before completion, s/he pays the 12-credit fee minus all continuous registration credits paid since the time of re-entry.

Students holding Research Assistantships are required to register in the summer for at least 2 graduate-level credits (usually 990 Research and Thesis); dissertators register for 3 credits. Students who do not hold Research Assistantships for more than one summer month do not need to register for summer. Fellows paid in summer are required to register for a full load in summer.

Students who have held RAships during the academic year that provided a tuition remission in the spring semester are eligible for the tuition remission over the summer, even if their RA appointment has ended. All students need to be registered for summer if they plan to receive an August degree.

International Student Enrollment Requirements. International students (before they become dissertators) must maintain full-time status by registering for at least 8 credits a semester to meet the requirements of their visa. There are a few exceptions to this rule; see the ISS web site.

Professional Development. Doctoral students are expected to fully participate in the intellectual life of the department, the university and the profession. Attendance at department workshops and seminars is expected, as is participation in the activities of the Graduate School Office of Professional Development. Students are encouraged to present their research in the department and national/international conferences (see Section 4 for information on funding available) and to whenever possible engage in scholarly publishing before finishing their degrees. Mandatory training for Teaching Assistants and the responsible conduct of research is also required.

Ph.D. Completion Checklist
  • If admitted as a Master's student, apply to Graduate Committee for change of status to Ph.D. program
  • Microeconomic Theory Preliminary Exam
    • If required to take exam (grades below B in Econ 711 and 713), submit application to Economics Graduate Office
  • Major and Minor Field Course Planning Form
    • Submit to Academic Programs Coordinator (APC) before end of post-core year
  • Major Field Preliminary Exams
    • Remove all incompletes
    • Complete all major field courses
  • To receive a Master's Degree, apply by mid-semester with APC
  • Apply for Human Subjects approval for dissertation research, if applicable
  • Proposal Defense
    • Complete proposal and arrange a defense date with committee members
    • Notify APC at least 3 weeks before proposal defense
  • Prelim Warrant
    • Obtain from APC before proposal defense, obtain signatures, and return to APC
    • Complete defense and all other requirements before the first day of class of the semester in which you want to become a dissertator
  • Continuous Registration
    • Dissertators must register for 3 credits each fall and spring semester until degree completion
  • Final Dissertation Defense (see Completing Your Degree for details)
    • Arrange defense date with committee members
    • Notify APC at least 3 weeks before defense
    • Give copies of dissertation to committee members at least 2 weeks before defense
    • Day of exam obtain warrant from APC; obtain signatures
    • Return signed warrant to APC
  • Deposit Dissertation
    • Before preparing the final version of the dissertation show sample pages to Ph.D. Coordinator in the Graduate School
    • Electronic deposit
    • Make appointment with Ph.D. Coordinator
    • Pay fees at Bursar's Office
    • Give bound copy of dissertation to APC for deposit in Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room
    • Give one electronic copy to APC, if you wish to be considered for the departmental and AAEA dissertation awards
  • Commencement
    • At the beginning of the semester in which you plan to graduate, inform APC if you will attend commencement and apply to graduate in your Student Center. Make arrangements according to commencement instructions.
  • Diploma
    • Diplomas are mailed to the home address you leave with the university about 3 months following the degree deadline. A notarized letter certifying that you have received your degree is available from the Registrar as soon as your degree is posted. See Registrar's website for details.
  • Follow department checkout procedures.
3.5 Maintaining Satisfactory Progress

The Graduate Committee monitors the progress of all students in the graduate program. The guidelines for satisfactory progress are explained below. The Graduate Committee reviews each student's course grades, the appropriateness and timeliness of the course work for the degree being sought, and progress on the thesis or dissertation. When evaluating students who are employed as graduate assistants, the Graduate Committee also considers the quality and quantity of work performed as a Research or Teaching Assistant as a component of satisfactory progress.

If the student is not making satisfactory progress the Graduate Committee informs the student, the student's major professor, and the department Chair. It is important to note that satisfactory academic progress includes classroom performance, progress towards completing a degree in a timely manner, and, for Research and Teaching Assistants, satisfactory work progress. The Graduate Committee uses two sets of guidelines to evaluate the progress of students in the graduate program. The first set, described under Satisfactory Progress as a Graduate Student, applies to all students enrolled in the graduate program. The second set, described under Satisfactory Progress as a Graduate Assistant, applies only to those students who hold Graduate Assistant appointments with the department and who wish to have their appointment continued.

Parenthood Accommodation. Students who become parents through the birth or adoption of a child will be granted an automatic one-semester extension of departmental requirements. They will also be excused from their regular RA duties for a period of six weeks during which time they will continue to receive support. In line with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the 12 months after the birth or adoption event.

Satisfactory Progress as a Graduate Student

Satisfactory progress toward a Master's degree involves following a plan of study that enables a student to complete all requirements within four semesters of graduate work in the department.

Satisfactory progress toward a Ph.D. involves:

  1. Passing the microeconomic theory requirement before the beginning of Year 3
  2. Finishing all required course work before the beginning of Year 4
  3. Passing the major field examination before the beginning of Year 4
  4. Defending a dissertation proposal before the end of the first semester of Year 4
  5. Defending a dissertation before the end of year 5

Some students, especially those on the Accelerated Track, may complete the requirements more quickly than the standards required for satisfactory progress.

Satisfactory progress requires students to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4-point scale in taught graduate courses or seminars at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Taught courses do not include conference courses with numbers such as 699, 990, or 999. Course grades below a B are normally considered failing grades and may necessitate retaking a course, thereby preventing a student from making satisfactory progress.

A student whose graduate GPA falls below a cumulative 3.0 at any time is automatically placed on departmental probation. Students with a GPA below 3.0 may enroll for one additional semester. If, after this additional semester of work, the student's cumulative GPA is still below 3.0, the student will not be permitted to register for further course work. Students denied permission may appeal their case to the Graduate Committee.

Incomplete Grades. Accumulation of incomplete grades can also result in being placed on probation. The Graduate School monitors incompletes, and their rules appear in the Academic Guidelines: http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/acadpolicy/guidelines.html#104. All students placed on probation by the Graduate School are automatically on department probation. See also the Graduate School policy on probation.

Field Work Accommodation. Students who anticipate conducting fieldwork for their dissertations for 6 months or more can petition the Graduate Committee before they start their fieldwork for an extension of up to one year on the requirements for the total time in the program.

Students Transferring from the Master’s Program. Students who enter the AAE program as terminal Master’s students and convert to the Ph.D. program will have their Ph.D. “clocks” started from when they convert to the Ph.D. program.

Satisfactory Progress as a Research Assistant

A Research Assistantship is a special form of academic training in which a graduate student receives a stipend and is offered the opportunity to be trained in -- and to collaborate on -- academic research under the supervision of a faculty member. Research Assistants must make satisfactory progress on the research project to which they are assigned.

In February, the Graduate Committee begins a careful review of funding availability and commitments to continuing students. Evaluations by Research Assistants’ academic and research advisors are very important for this review. Teaching assistants are similarly reviewed by their supervising professor and the Graduate Committee for the quality of their teaching effort.Based on its reading of each student's record and discussion with the student's major professor, the Graduate Committee makes a list of those students (new and continuing) who are deemed eligible for a Research and/or Teaching Assistantship for the following year. The Graduate Committee recommends to the Chair that Graduate Assistants who are not making satisfactory progress not be reappointed. Individual faculty members and the department Chair make the actual decisions about who is hired as a Graduate Assistant. Letters of reappointment for continuing students are usually sent in May or June for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Vacation Leave for Research Assistants. Research Assistants are, for the most part, on 12-month appointments and are not covered by the rules of the collective bargaining agreement between the university and the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA), which negotiates paid vacation allowances for TAs and PAs. Vacations and other absences must be approved by the student’s supervising professor. Teaching Assistants are usually appointed for a semester or an academic year and their work schedules are covered by the agreement of the TAA with the university. The rules of the TAA contract can be found here (see TA and PA Collective Bargaining in Section 4.1, below). Graduate Assistants who take un-approved leaves of absence will be deemed as not making satisfactory progress.

Consequences of Failing to Make Satisfactory Progress

Pre-dissertators: A pre-dissertator who is not making satisfactory progress will be put on probation for one semester. If the student does not return to satisfactory status before the beginning of the next semester, the student will continue on probation and be barred from receiving a departmental Graduate Assistantship. If the student is still not making satisfactory progress at the end of one year s/he will not be permitted to register for further course work.

Dissertators: A dissertator who is not making satisfactory progress will be put on probation and cannot receive departmental funding. In general this means the department will not fund dissertators beyond their fifth year in the program, unless the student has an exemption. Dissertators will not be permitted to register for research credits beyond the sixth year without an exemption. Students who enrolled in AAE before the summer of 2012 will be granted one extra year to fulfill all requirements.

Appeals of Probation. Students may appeal a finding of unsatisfactory progress and academic probation to the Graduate Committee. A student’s appeal should include a letter from the student describing the mitigating circumstances and a letter of support from the student’s academic advisor. A strong appeal for dissertators could include letters of support from committee members.

Please see the Appendix for information on conduct expectations and consequences:

  • Professional Conduct
  • Academic Misconduct
  • Non-academic Misconduct
  • Research Misconduct
  • Disciplinary Action and Dismissal
  • Grievance Procedures and Reporting Misconduct and Crime

Section 4
Funding, Teaching, Professional Development and the Job Market
4.1 Financial Assistance

There are four categories of financial assistance administered by the department: Research Assistantships, Project Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships. The majority of graduate students obtain funding through Research Assistantships. While grants paying for Research Assistantships are often established entirely through faculty initiative, some students jointly prepare grant proposals with faculty members. Some students also obtain grant or fellowship funds through their own intiative. In all cases, it is in the student's interest to establish working relationships with faculty members in their area of interest and to plan ahead for grant and fellowship proposals.

It is the department’s practice to make multi-year offers to incoming students, with priority given to Ph.D. track applicants. The details of these offers are outlined in the appointment letters, which are renewed at the start of each fiscal year (July 1). The percent of students receiving funding can be seen in the Graduate School’s department data profile, and more information on the funding landscape appears on the website.

The department cannot guarantee subsequent years of funding to students entering with their own funding who did not receive a multi-year initial offer. Resources for obtaining funding are found on the Graduate School’s website.

Questions about funding can be addressed to the Academic Programs Coordinator or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Research Assistantships

The Research Assistantship appointment should satisfy the following three criteria: (1) the grant must be made primarily to further the education and training of the recipient, (2) the research for which the stipend is paid must be accepted by the institution in satisfaction of degree requirements, and (3) equivalent research must be required of all candidates for that particular degree.

Students holding Research Assistantships are required to register for a full-time graduate credit load each semester they hold an appointment. During the summer, students holding Research Assistantship appointments are required to register in the 8-week summer session for a minimum of two graduate credits (usually AAE 990). Dissertators holding summer RA appointments are required to register for 3 credits of 990 in the 8-week summer session.

Assistantship awards of at least one-third time exempt a student from the tuition for that semester. Summer tuition is waived for students who have held an RAship the previous spring, even if they do not have a summer appointment.

The terms of the Research Assistantship are arranged between the professor and student, with time generally used for research which will ultimately lead to a part of the dissertation. These appointments conform to general University policy, and more information is available from the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Administrator.

Funds for Research Assistantships are, for the most part, generated from research grants obtained by faculty, sometimes with the collaboration of a graduate student. Every effort is made to assign Research Assistants to projects which are compatible with their interests and capabilities, and which will yield a research project suitable for an acceptable thesis.

From time to time, students change projects. In the event that a student anticipates moving to a new project, s/he should consult with the current supervisor and the faculty member sponsoring the new project by early January. Decisions about funding for the student body as a whole are made in January and February. Therefore, it is important for all parties to come to agreement on changes early in the calendar year. This allows faculty to consider incoming students for any positions being vacated.

Project Assistantships
Project Assistant appointments may also be made. This appointment is for work on departmental research which will not necessarily lead to a dissertation, and is subject to withholding of state and federal income tax and social security. Project Assistants need to register for a full-time credit load except in the summer months.
Teaching Assistantships
The department has several one-semester Teaching Assistantships available each year for undergraduate courses. These appointments form part of a student’s funding guarantee, and every effort is made to provide a teaching experience for students who plan to go on the academic job market. TAs must take mandatory training offered through the College of Engineering.
TA and PA Collective Bargaining

The contract between the state and the Teaching Assistant's Association covering TAs and PAs (http://oser.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=7113) is no longer in force; however, the university is continuing to use the terms of the contract until final university policies are adopted. Since the TAA no longer represents TAs and PAs, sections of the contract referring to “union” rights and responsibilities are no longer in effect. TAs and PAs can find policies in the contract related to: grievance procedures; appointments; orientation, training, and evaluation; non-discrimination; termination; health and safety; and benefits, including sick leave, vacation, and leave of absence.

Stipend Levels and Paychecks

Stipend rates for graduate assistantships are set by the University. Current rates for TAs, PAs, and RAs can be found on the website of the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources: http://uwmadisonoffr.wordpress.com/funding-overview/assistantships/ Graduate assistants are paid on a monthly basis and stipends are usually deposited directly into student’s bank accounts. Direct deposit forms are distributed at orientation.

Tuition Remission and Payment of Segregated Fees

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers (Students Assistants) with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hrs/week) receive remission of their full tuition (in- and out-of-state, as applicable). Students with these appointments are still responsible for paying segregated fees.

Health Insurance Benefits

TAs, PAs, RA, and Lecturers (Student Assistants) with appointments of 33.3% or higher (approximately 13 hrs/week) for at least the length of a semester are eligible to enroll in a health insurance program. Information about health insurance options can be found at http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/new-emp/grad.aspx. Current monthly premiums can be found at http://uwservice.wisc.edu/premiums/index.php#sgh. Questions about health insurance can be directed to the departmental benefits coordinator.

Maximum Appointment Levels

The Graduate School sets the maximum levels of graduate assistantship appointments. International students should be especially aware of maximum levels of employment. For more information on these policies, please visit http://www.grad.wisc.edu/admin/hr/policy/maxlevel.html.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships, as they can serve as an important credential in the job market. Some fellowships are available by departmental nomination only. For others, students must apply on their own initiative. Some awards may exempt a student from payment of tuition and may provide a monthly stipend and dependent allowance. Other awards are specifically for travel for dissertation research, and many awards are available only to those students with dissertator status. Awards are made in recognition of scholarly achievement and promise as evidenced by academic records, letters of recommendation, research experience, and the dissertation proposal.

Students should keep in mind the importance of planning well in advance in order to secure future financial support, especially for dissertation field research. Many competitions, such as the Fulbright, are announced during the summer and have early fall deadlines in September and October. Students must be ready to submit research proposals and fellowship applications in the early fall in order to obtain fellowship support for the next year.

Individual fellowships announcements are circulated by email. Listings of fellowship opportunities are available from:

  • Fellowships Office of the Graduate School
  • International Institute Fellowships Office
  • Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Memorial Library Reference Room

4.2 Professional Development Opportunities and Funds for Research or Travel to Meetings
Professional Development Resources

The Taylor-Hibbard Club offers leadership opportunities to all AAE graduate students, including serving as club officers, organizing the Student Research Colloquium, and sitting on department committees. Other opportunities for student involvement are described in the Appendix.

The department encourages all students to attend and present their work at the weekly workshop and seminar series, especially as they approach the job market. The schedule for these events is posted on the department home page. Students are also encouraged to publish their work with help and collaboration of their advisors and other mentors.

Five prizes are offered to eligible students:

  • The Outstanding Teaching Assistant Prize awarded yearly to the best TA, based on teaching evaluations.
  • The Barbara Forrest Prize for the best paper submitted by students in their second year.
  • The Daniel and Joyce Bromley Prize given to the dissertator judged to have produced the most outstanding dissertation proposal.
  • The Henry C. Taylor Master’s Thesis Prize for the best thesis written in the previous year. The winner of this prize is also nominated for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Prize of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • The Henry C. Taylor Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation written in the previous year. The winner of this prize is also nominated for the Outstanding Dissertation Prize of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
These competitions are managed by the Graduate Committee, and details are announced each year to current graduate students.

Useful resources for professional development, such as proposal writing guides, are found on this department page: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/gradprogram/current_students/resources.asp

Campus-wide Resources for Professional Development

The Graduate School Office of Professional Development and Communications (OPDC) provides direct programming in the areas of career development and skill building, and also serves as a clearinghouse for professional development resources across campus. The best way to stay informed is to watch for the weekly newsletter from OPDC, GradConnections Weekly, and to visit the webpage http://grad.wisc.edu/pd/events for an up-to-date list of events. For example, typical topics covered throughout the year are:

  • Individual Development Plans (IDPs) and planning for academic success
  • Dissertation writing support
  • Communication skills
  • Grant writing
  • Teaching, mentoring and research ethics
  • Community engagement and entrepreneurship
  • Career exploration: academic, non-profit, industry, government, etc.
  • Job search support and pursuing postdoctoral training

Students can benefit from other programs offered by the following campus services:

Funds for Research and Travel to Conferences

The Graduate School Office of Professional Development and Engagement administers the Student Research Grants Competition, with priority given to dissertators. Awards are granted for domestic or international travel to conferences or for research purposes to eligible students.

The department has several limited sources of support for research or presentation of a paper or poster at a professional meeting. These are awarded at the discretion of the Graduate Committee. Funds can also be requested for rental of a University vehicle for group travel to the summer AAEA convention. Details about how to apply are posted on the department website, and more information is available from the Academic Programs Coordinator.

The AAEA Foundation offers travel grants to graduate students attending the annual summer meeting. Applicants who are actively participating in the meeting and who have financial need will receive priority. Details are announced in the AAEA Newsletter and on the AAEA web site.

Other Teaching Opportunities

Graduate students not holding Teaching Assistantships who want to acquire a supervised teaching experience (usually assisting with graduate courses in AAE) may enroll in AAE 799, Practicum in Agricultural and Applied Economics Teaching.

Students have also been successful in obtaining part-time teaching positions at the Madison Area Technical College, Edgewood College, Beloit College, Cardinal Stritch College, and at two-year campuses in the University of Wisconsin System which are within driving distance of Madison. Those students wishing to be considered for such opportunities may contact these institutions and the UW System Administration directly.

4.3 The Job Market

The department assumes responsibility for providing graduate students with all possible assistance in obtaining employment following completion of their graduate program.

Job market activities for Ph.D. students are coordinated by the Placement Director, who leads periodic sessions on the job search process, including mock interviews. Students are encouraged to post their credentials on the department website and to practice job talks in the department seminars, workshops and Student Research Colloquium. In addition, written materials on the job search, including sample vitae and cover letters, information on strategy and timeline, etc., are posted on the department intranet. Students should review these materials early in their tenure in the program.

The availability of this general assistance in no way abrogates the role and responsibility of the student's major professor. Many, if not most, positions are ultimately obtained through personal contacts and, in many cases, the major professor is in the best position to provide the student with information concerning specific positions available in the student's primary area of interest. In addition, the major professor is frequently the best qualified to provide information concerning work conditions at specific universities and organizations. Other faculty might provide advice concerning employment opportunities and letters of recommendation.

Students are encouraged to register their interests and qualifications with the National Employment Registry for Agricultural Economists by contacting the AAEA Employment Service.

See AAE employment data for Ph.D.s and Master’s graduates.

Section 5
Departmental Physical Facilities

Taylor Hall building hours are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Graduate students may enter the building at other times with a building key but must have a student I.D. Security personnel do periodically check the building after hours, and anyone without a valid I.D. will be asked to leave immediately.

Policy on Office Space

The department has office space for approximately 60 graduate students. Desk space is assigned based on the following priority listing: 1) Agricultural and Applied Economics majors with funding; 2) Non-departmental majors with funding from a member of the department faculty who lack office space elsewhere; 3) Agricultural and Applied Economics majors without funding; 4) Non-departmental majors with funding from a member of the department faculty who have other University office space. Preference within these categories for specific offices is based on seniority (time enrolled as a graduate student in the department). Students with assigned office space will be required to deposit $20 at the Bursar's Office in the Peterson Building in order to receive an office key and an outside door key to Henry Taylor Hall. This money will be refunded upon return of all keys. Students with keys will have access to the building on a 24-hour basis but must keep their student I.D. card with them at all times; security personnel do check the building periodically after building hours.

Meeting Rooms and Equipment

The Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (103) is used for public events and houses the collection of AAE M.S. and Ph.D. theses. The Parsons-Penn Commons (115) serves as a meeting space for everyone in Taylor Hall. A coffee and tea maker, comfortable chairs, and several daily newspapers are available there.

Additional meeting space is available in rooms B30 (also a classroom, outfitted with a Smart Board), 113 (outfitted with a Smart Board and used for committee meetings, dissertation defenses, student lab meetings, etc.), and 215 (used for student study groups and other general purposes). Rooms can be reserved using the facilities link in the department website.

Laptops, LCD projectors, a digital camera and conference phone can be checked out.

Information Technology Services Center

The director of the IT Services Center provides technical support to all members of the department, including graduate students. The ITSC manages printing services and wireless internet throughout the building, maintains the department’s computer networks, software licenses, and internal email lists, and provides remote access to department servers.

Section 6
Department Check-out Procedures

Following is a list of procedures students should follow when graduating and leaving the department. Students should also be sure to follow the Graduate School procedures for completing the thesis or dissertation. Please see the Academic Programs Coordinator if you have any questions.

  • Inform Academic Programs Coordinator if you plan to complete your degree.
  • If you wish to attend graduation ceremonies, apply to graduate in your Student Center and report who your faculty escort will be.
  • Give employment information to Academic Programs Coordinator (position title, place of employment, etc.) If you gain employment after you leave, please report to the APC.
  • Leave a forwarding address, email and telephone number with Academic Programs Coordinator in room 423. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! This address will be used for forwarding mail, as well as helping people get in touch with you. Also please keep us informed of email address changes so you will receive our alumni newsletter.
  • Make arrangements to close your department network account (IT Services Center).
  • Leave your forwarding address in My UW so that the University will know where to mail your diploma. See the Registrar's website for diploma information.
  • Turn in any department keys to the building manager, who will give you a receipt for a refund of your key deposit at the Bursar's Office.

Appendices
  1. Master’s Degree Progress Sheet
  2. Ph.D. Progress Sheet
  3. Major and Minor Field Course Planning Form
  4. Satisfactory Progress: Conduct Expectations
    1. Professional Conduct
    2. Academic Misconduct
    3. Non-academic Misconduct
    4. Research Misconduct
  5. Disciplinary Action and Dismissal
  6. Grievance Procedures and Reporting Misconduct and Crime
  7. Opportunities for Student Involvement
  8. Student Health and Wellness
Last updated on Thu, January 19, 2017 3:36 PM