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Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics
Montana State University
P.O. Box 172920
Bozeman, MT 59717-2920

Tel: (406) 994-3701
Fax: (406) 994-4838
Location: 306 Linfield Hall

Department Head

Co-Dept. Heads:
Dr. Wendy Stock
Dr. Myles Watts


• J.M. Antle; production economics, econometrics, international development
• J.A. Atwood; production economics, agricultural finance.
• G.W. Brester; agricultural marketing.
• D.E. Buschena; decision analysis, applied microeconomics, agricultural marketing.
• R.K. Fleck; public choice, public finance, economic history.
• A. Hanssen; industrial organization, law and economics, political economics.
• G. Haynes; Small business finance, agricultural policy.
• M.A. Goetting; personal and family finance, estate planning, financial planning.
• R.R. Rucker; resource economics, agricultural policy, applied microeconomics.
• V.H. Smith; macroeconomics, agricultural policy analysis, applied microeconomics.
• W.A. Stock; Labor economics, econometrics.
• M.J. Watts; production economics, farm management, agricultural finance.
• D.J. Young; macroeconomics, public finance, labor.

Assistant Professors

• J.R. Brown; entrepreneurial finance, industrial organization.
• D.A. Griffith; farm management, computer assisted decisions.

Associate Professors

• C. Stoddard; labor economics, public finance, economics of education.

Degree Offered

M.S. in Applied Economics

Our Master of Science degree in Applied Economics encourages students to develop and apply their skills in economic analysis and examine a wide array of economic and political issues. Learning takes place through coursework in economic theory, quantitative methods and econometrics, through collaborative work with departmental faculty, and through an intensive research thesis that addresses an important economic issue selected by the student.


To receive full consideration for assistantship awards for Fall Semester, applications should be received by January 15. Late applications will be considered as space and funding are available. With the application, students must submit General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, official transcripts of all degree coursework, and three letters of recommendation. Foreign students must also include scores from (1) the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 550 or higher and (2) the Test of Spoken English (TSE/SPEAK) with a score of 50 or higher. To ensure timely consideration, submit all requested materials directly to the Department, as directed in the application. To apply online use the following link:

Core courses are taught at a level that requires entering students to have successfully completed courses in intermediate microeconomic theory, intermediate macroeconomic theory, calculus, matrix theory, and statistics. Students who have not completed the prerequisite material, but with apparent potential for graduate study, may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis. Coursework required to make up deficiencies will be in addition to graduate coursework. A two-week M review course is offered each year for all graduate students prior to Fall Semester.


Program Requirements

A core of economic theory and quantitative methods courses (or equivalent) is required. Students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average overall in their core courses and the courses in their graduate program. Failure to meet these requirements, as well as receipt of more than one grade less than a "B-" in the core courses will be grounds for termination. The core includes:


Required Core Courses

AGEC 467 Quantitative Methods in Economics 3 credits
ECNS 401 Microeconomic Theory 3 credits
ECNS 501 Advanced Microeconomic Theory 3 credits
ECNS 502 Macroeconomic Theory 3 credits
ECNS 561 Econometrics I 3 credits

Total 15

In addition to theory and quantitative methods core courses, students will successfully complete ECNS 569 (Research Methodology). Supplementary coursework and research may focus on agricultural economics, natural resource economics, or general applied economics. Through continued discussions with the advisor and other faculty, students will select additional courses and either a thesis topic (Plan A) or research paper topic (Plan B) to complete a program of study consistent with their interests.

Students may choose to study special problems on an individual basis. Students desiring "Individual Problem" credit as either ECNS 570, AGEC 570, ECNS 580, or AGEC 580 should consult with a faculty member and agree upon a plan of study before the beginning of the semester in which the credits are to be undertaken. The College of Graduate Studies must approve all such courses, and limits the number of credits applicable toward degree requirements as: maximum of 3 credits for Option A or 6 credits for Option B.

Under Plan A, required minimums are: 20 semester credits (including the core courses of graduate coursework), and 10 semester credits of thesis. For those who have satisfied coursework prerequisites, the required degree coursework should be completed in two semesters. The thesis must be acceptable to the student's graduate committee and to the College of Graduate Studies , and it must demonstrate independent and original research.

Under Plan B, a thesis is not required. This option includes at least 30 semester credits of graduate coursework. Students who select Option B are required to include a research paper (ECNS 575; maximum of 4 credits in a semester and a maximum of 6 credits for the program) as part of their program. For those who have satisfied coursework prerequisites, the required degree coursework (other than the research paper) should be completed in two semesters. The paper must be original, of professional quality (meet style and format requirements set forth in the College of Graduate Studies ' Guide for Preparation of Thesis and Professional Papers), be acceptable to the student's graduate committee, and receive final approval by the Department Head.

Two examinations complete degree requirements. Each student is required to pass a Microeconomics Theory Core Exam – a written exam administered by the Department's Graduate Affairs Committee. The exam is offered early spring semester, and may be offered one additional time each year; it will consist of questions covering the fundamental concepts of microeconomic theory and their application. Results of the Core Exam will be reported to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies as constituting the comprehensive examination.

In addition to the Core Exam, each student is required to pass an oral examination in defense of their thesis (Option A) or research paper (Option B). The oral examination is administered by the student's graduate committee and is open to all members of the faculty. Students are expected to present a typed draft, in final form, of the thesis or research paper to each member of their graduate committee at least seven days prior to the scheduled date of their examination. The examination for Option A students should not be scheduled until the student's thesis committee agrees that the thesis is essentially in a form acceptable to the University Library (that is, copies of the typed draft should be readable and have a table of contents, list of tables and figures, chapter titles, section headings, bibliography, and consecutively numbered pages). The examination for Option B students should not be scheduled until the paper is in a form which satisfies style and format requirements

Financial Assistance

A number of research and teaching assistantships are available for graduate students and are awarded on a competitive basis. Late applications will be considered as space and funding become available. For further information, refer to the Graduate Assistantships sections.


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