The Agricultural and Applied Economics Professional Option (MSPO) program is a full-time, 15-month, accelerated professional master’s program. The program focuses on helping students to develop skills in economic reasoning, data management, empirical analysis, and technical communication. Students will be well prepared to enter the professional workforce in both the US and abroad in data-intensive and quantitatively focused jobs in economic consulting, businesses, agribusinesses, non-profit organizations focused on development, and governmental sectors.
Students take a prescribed set of courses in a cohort setting. Full-time students attend Fall, Spring, Summer and Fall terms. Applications from new students are accepted in Fall only. Students enter this program with a variety of majors but have taken the prerequisite courses.
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- Online application
- Statement of purpose
Summarize educational goals and past experiences relevant to career plans. Information about educational background or other relevant details should be included. Use pdf format to upload to the online application.
- Two letters of recommendation
Solicit detailed letters from instructors or advisors who are able to judge your qualifications for graduate work in this field. Most useful are letters from faculty who have taught you in one or more classes. In the application, you will supply their email addresses, and the Graduate School will send them instructions on how to upload their letters.
- Transcripts from all colleges or universities
- You will be asked to upload unofficial transcripts or copies of official transcripts into the online application. The Graduate School will request official paper copies of all transcripts if you are admitted to the department.
- International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The GRE is optional for candidates who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. We also approve GRE waivers to students with a strong undergraduate GPA and background in economics, statistics, math or related subjects. If you would like to request a GRE waiver, please fill out this form.
- Candidates who are below a 3.0 GPA are strongly encouraged to take the GRE to show the admissions committee they have the academic ability to handle the rigors of the MSPO program. GRE scores must be from within the previous 5 years. For score reporting, use the UW-Madison institution code of 1846. No department code necessary. GMAT scores are not accepted in lieu of GRE.
- English proficiency exam for international students
We accept scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The minimum required proficiency score is 92 on the TOEFL (iBT), 580 (paper-based TOEFL) or 7.0 on the IELTS. This requirement is waived for students who have studied for at least 2 semesters in the U.S. or if English was the language of instruction for their undergraduate degree. For score reporting, use the UW-Madison institution code of 1846.
- Application fee
Cost of Study and Financial Aid
The MS AAE Professional Option program costs $1500 per credit.
There are limited scholarships offered for this program for Wisconsin and Minnesota residents, Peace Corps returnees and working professionals residing in the U.S. Decisions are based on application materials. There is no separate application. Students are notified at the time of admission.
More information on the full cost of study at the University of Wisconsin is available here.
MSPO Admissions Information
- The MSPO program includes course work that presumes students have successfully completed undergraduate-level courses in intermediate microeconomics, multivariate calculus and introductory statistics.
Number of credits of taught courses: 30
Average time to degree: 15 months
MSPO Admissions Timeline
Early November Take the Graduate Record Exam. GRE scores must be from within the previous 5 years.
March 15 Priority consideration applications due
April 15 Deadline for international applicants
June 1 Deadline for domestic applicants
June 1 Deadline to accept offer (international applicants)
July 15 Deadline to accept offer (domestic applicants)
Frequently Asked Questions
MS AAE Professional Option Frequently-Asked-Questions
Questions about Applying
Q Is there a minimum grade point average or test score required for admission?
A The Graduate School requires an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or the equivalent for admission. There is not a cutoff for GPA or GRE scores. All application materials are taken into consideration when making admission decisions.
Q What are the institution and department codes I should give to ETS so that my GRE or TOEFL scores will come to you?
A The institution code for UW-Madison is 1846. You do not need to list a code for agricultural and applied economics. Our Graduate School will obtain scores electronically and load them into an applicant database accessible by any department.
Q I graduated from a U.S. University. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
A No. Your U.S. studies exempt you from this requirement. Anyone who has studied in the United States or another English-speaking country for two or more years, and the language of instruction was English, does not need to submit a TOEFL score.
Q Is there a form for letters of recommendation?
A No special form is required. Recommendation writers should follow emailed instructions for electronically submitting letters.
Q Do you admit students for the spring semester?
A No. Courses are sequenced so that the Fall courses must precede the Spring courses.
Q Can I apply to the MS AAE Traditional Option and MS AAE Professional Option?
A Yes, Simply indicate interest in degree options in your statement of purpose.
Q I can’t afford the application fee – can I apply for a fee waiver?
A There are no waivers at this time. Students must submit the application fee before the department will be able to review their application for admission.
Q I am a Visiting International Student. Can I apply to the MS AAE Professional Option?
A Yes, If you are a current AAE VISP student, and you are taking the first year of MSPO courses, you can apply at the end of your first year. Up to 15 credits can be counted toward your MS AAE Professional Option program. See the MSPO Coordinator if you would like to apply.
Questions about Academics
Q What is the difference between the MS AAE TO and MS AAE PO program?
A The MS AAE Traditional Option is ideal for students interested in preparing to apply to PhD programs in Agricultural and Applied Economics or in pursuing a research career. Students take a set of core courses but have much more flexibility in choosing courses in Economics of Natural Resources and Environment, International Development, Economics of Agriculture or Community Development Economics. The degree normally takes 3 to 4 semesters to complete. New student applications are accepted for the Fall term only.
The MS AAE Professional Option (MSPO) program is a full-time, 15-month, accelerated professional master’s program. The program focuses on helping students to develop skills in economic reasoning, data management, empirical analysis, and technical communication. Students are prepared to enter the professional workforce in both the US and abroad in data-intensive and quantitatively focused jobs in economic consulting, businesses, agribusinesses, non-profit organizations focused on development, and governmental sectors. Students take a prescribed set of courses in a cohort setting. Students enter this program with a variety of majors but have taken the prerequisite courses. There is also a tuition difference. The MSPO is $1500 per credit.
Q I’m not yet certain if I want a Ph.D. If I begin the MS AAE Professional Option program, can I later apply to go on for a Ph.D.?
A The MS AAE Traditional Option is the best program for students who plan to apply to PhD programs. However, you can apply at the end of your first year of the MSPO program. See the PhD page for prerequisite course work.
Q How is your program ranked?
A The MSPO is not ranked yet. The UW-Madison consistently places in the top five to twelve programs nationally and the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is ranked among the top 10 programs in agricultural and applied economics.
Questions about admission and financial assistance
Q Do you provide assistantships or scholarships for MS AAE Professional Option degree students?
A There is a limited number of scholarships offered at the time of admission for Wisconsin and Minnesota residents, Peace Corps returnees and working professionals residing in the U.S.. There are no full scholarships. All MS students can apply to jobs that are posted in the UW Jobs listing. International students can work on campus up to 20 hours per week if on an F1 Visa.
Q What is the size of your entering class?
A The MSPO program typically enrolls 10-15 new graduate students per year.
Q Can I be a part-time student?
A student can pursue the MS AAE Professional Option on a part-time basis. However, international students who are on F1 Visas must be enrolled full-time.
We welcome you to come visit the department. Any prospective students who would like to arrange an on-campus visit should contact the Graduate Program Coordinator at least two weeks before coming. We will arrange meetings with students and faculty, to help you learn as much as you can about our programs.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis up until the below final deadlines, and applicants are encouraged to submit their application whenever the materials are complete. Typically, applicants will receive admission decisions within 2 – 4 weeks after the complete application is submitted.
|By November||Take Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (if applicable). GRE scores must be from within the previous 5 years.|
|March 15||Deadline for priority consideration|
|April 15||Final deadline for international applicants|
|June 1||Final deadline for domestic applicants / Deadline to accept admissions offer (international applicants)|
|July 15||Deadline to accept admission offer (domestic applicants)|