Prerequisite Courses


Entering students should have completed the equivalent of: (a) two undergraduate courses in intermediate economic theory; (b) two 2nd- or 3rd-year undergraduate courses in statistics (not business statistics); and (c) an undergraduate course sequence in differential calculus.


Prerequisites of the program’s MS-level core courses are the equivalents of the following Oregon State University courses:

    ♦ Microeconomic Theory - AEC 311 and 313 (or Econ 311 and 312)
    ♦ Mathematics - Math 251 – 253
    ♦ Statistics - Stat 351 and 352

Prerequisites of the PhD-level core courses are completion of the MS-level core courses (AEC 512, 513, and 525) or their equivalents. Entering PhD students should additionally have completed undergraduate courses in integral calculus and linear algebra.

Prerequisite Course Content

To view the contents of these courses, go to the OSU General Catalog & Schedule of Classes. Click on: Academics (at 2nd row from top) - Course Catalogs (top right corner) - Course Catalogs (left column) - Undergraduate Courses by Subject. Then click as needed on the AEC, Econ, Math, and Statistics programs.


Acceptance Rate and Student Numbers

In recent years we have received just under 100 applications per year, of whom about 25% are accepted for admission and 10% are offered funding. The entering class normally ranges from 8 to 12 students. Approximately three-quarters of entering PhD students have an MS degree; the remainder a BS degree.

Decision Timeline

The admission process begins soon after the January 15 admission deadline. Most notifications of admission and non-admission, as well as initial funding decisions, are sent out in late January. Further funding decisions are made through the middle of April.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted to the Applied Economics Graduate Program on a variety of criteria.  They include standardized test scores, courses taken and grades received, previous majors and degrees and the universities that granted them, English skills, extra-academic experiences, and reference letters.  No minimum level is employed in any of these criteria.  Rather, all are considered together to forecast the applicant’s chances of performing well in the Program.  The exception is that, for non-U.S. students without a completed or soon-to-be-completed undergraduate or or graduate degree in the United States or Canada, the minimum acceptable TOEFL score is:  575 (paper-based), 90 (internet-based), 233 (computer-based).  Before the 2020 admissions cycle, we used to require a GRE score. GRE scores of recently admitted students have averaged approximately 75th percentile in the verbal portion, 90th percentile in the quantitative portion, and a 4.5 in the analytical. Starting in September 2020, applicants to the Graduate Program in Applied Economics no longer need to submit a GRE score.  Applicants who wish to submit a GRE score may do so.  However, students may apply and receive full consideration even without a GRE score as long as they meet all other admissions requirements.


Tuition and Fees (OSU Catalog)

Funding Opportunities

Approximately 90% of our incoming graduate students are provided a graduate research assistantship (GRA) or graduate teaching assistantship (GTA). Funding is retained throughout the degree program if the student meets minimum course-grade, progress, and other performance standards.

Searching for Funding

Most research assistantships are provided by Applied Economics Graduate Program faculty members’ research grants. Some assistantships, especially of newly entering students, are instead provided by general program funds. However, most students eventually come under the financial support of a faculty member’s research or extension grant.

Types of Student Work

Students with graduate research assistantships (GRAs) or graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) conduct research under the supervision of their temporary or permanent academic advisors and/or serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate and graduate courses.

During the academic year, the proportion of a student’s time devoted to an assistantship averages 49%. Many students also obtain summer funding on faculty research or extension projects.

Course Structure

Core and Field Courses

The MS and PhD curricula are each divided between core courses – microeconomic theory and quantitative methods – and field (concentration) courses. Most core courses are taken during the student’s first year because they are pre-requisites for many field courses.

First-Year Microeconomic Theory Structure

All incoming Applied Economics Graduate Program graduate students take AEC 512 and 513, MS-level microeconomic theory, together during the fall term.  This will enable PhD students, who come from a wide variety of discipline, university, and country backgrounds, to master the MS-level theoretical skills necessary for success at the PhD level.  Performance in fall-term 512/513 also may offer a signal that a student who had intended to work toward the PhD is better prepared for the MS program instead. Alternatively, students who had intended to work toward the MS might feasibly switch to the PhD program.


Advisory Committee Structure

Newly arrived students are advised by the Graduate Program Director. Within three months of an MS student’s (and nine months of a PhD student’s) arrival, the student is expected to select a permanent advisor and advisory committee. The permanent advisor chairs the student’s advisory committee.

Forming a Committee

Choice of advisor and committee is made mutually by the student and faculty member. Students are encouraged to soon begin the process of advisory committee formation by talking with individual faculty members. The advisory committee is formalized at the student’s program meeting, where a contract is signed stipulating which courses the student will take to fulfill the course portion of the program.

Applied Economics Graduate Program Faculty

Participating Faculty

Approximately two-thirds of the Applied Economics graduate faculty at OSU are in the Department of Applied Economics. One-third are in the Departments of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and Forest Engineering Resources and Management, of the College of Forestry; in the Economics Program of the School of Public Policy; and in the Schools of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences and Biological and Population Health Sciences of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Faculty Research Interests

To have an idea of the research our faculty (and hence students) pursue, see the faculty page. Prospective students are welcome to contact individual faculty about the research they conduct. Specific program opportunities can be known only after the student’s admission application and our subsequent responses.

Student Governance

Graduate students in the department have an opportunity to engage with faculty and administration through the Applied Economics Graduate Student Advisory Board (AEC GSAB). GSAB serves as a platform to facilitate communication between students, faculty, and administration with a goal to impact pathways and experiences for the department's graduate students. The Board's current objectives highlight diversity and inclusion education and development; professional development; improved mental health outcomes; opportunities for social engagement; and providing feedback towards improvement of coursework and graduate classroom experience. The Board's officers consist of a chair, five elected representatives, and a Coalition of Graduate Employees liaison.

Job Placement

As students approach the end of their programs, their advisory committee will assist with the job search process. Assistance includes advising on job market strategy as well as feedback on students' job market papers. Most faculty maintain long-term professional relationships with their students after they leave the program. Students are also invited to participate in the Job Market Preparation Group (JMPG) starting in the spring term of the year they begin their job search. The JMPG provides multiple faculty-led seminars that cover topics including: information on the job market for new economics Ph.D. holders, preparing job applications and a personal website, delivering job talks, and interviewing. As part of the JMPG, students also complete at least one mock job talk and a mock interview with faculty members. Mock job talks are included in the departmental seminar calendar and are open to the OSU community. Students on the job market are encouraged to network with Applied Economics Graduate Program alumni in sectors they are targeting for their first placement. For more information on job placements of our graduates, please see the Past Placements page.

If you have other questions that were not addressed here, please contact us.