Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- How do I apply?
The admission procedure for the Department of Agricultural Economics is outlined on our Prospective Students page which has a link to the OSU Graduate College online application.
- What are the application deadlines?
We recommend applying by January 5 for the fall semester and July 1 for the spring semester, but late applications can still be considered.
- Does the department require GRE scores?
- What is the GRE institution code and department code?
The institution code is 6546. The department code is 0101.
- May I visit the department?
Yes. Visiting is helpful to better understand the culture, focus, and people in the department and university, and whether it’s right for you as an individual. It also gives us a better chance to know you. Once you determine a date when you want to visit the department, we will set up a schedule for you to visit with faculty, the department head and graduate students.
- Where do I send application materials?
Complete the online application and pay the application fee at the Graduate College website. Upload all materials into the online application.
- When will I be notified of my status?
After your application is complete, the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee will review the materials and you should hear from us about your status in about two weeks. You will be notified of your status by email from the department and with an official letter from the Graduate College.
- I have no prior training in agricultural economics or economics. What prerequisites
would I need to gain admission to the M.S. program?
There are four areas that would need to be addressed:
- Principles courses in economics.
- A course in intermediate microeconomics.
- Differential calculus.
- At least one course in statistics.
- Evidence of an academic foundation that could benefit from earning an M.S. in agricultural economics.
- Does the Master of Agriculture program in the Department of Agricultural Economics
require research? Would you just take courses to obtain this degree?
The Master of Agriculture is not a research degree and does not prepare students for advanced study at the Ph.D. level. Three alternatives exist for satisfying the Master of Agriculture requirements:
- 32 credit hours, including two credit hours for a formal report,
- 36 credit hours and a creative component, and
- 36 credit hours including six hours of AGEC 5010 for a professional internship.
- Are there funding opportunities for the Master of Agriculture in Agribusiness?
Generally, no assistantship funds are available for Masters of Agriculture students.
- I am currently an undergraduate student and I am interested in the Agricultural Economics
Ph.D. program. Is a M.S. degree required for admission into your Ph.D. program?
In general Ph.D. program applicants are expected to either have a M.S. degree or to be in an M.S. program. Students who are enrolled in the M.S. degree program and perform well may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program.
- Could I contact any of the faculty directly to let them know about my qualifications
Yes, but the admissions decision is made by the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee subject to meeting minimum Graduate College standards. You may submit publication to the Department.
- I was admitted to start in the fall. I decided not to attend. For how long is my admission?
You have three semesters to enroll before being required by the Graduate College to re-apply and pay another application fee.
- I have been admitted conditionally to the M.S. program. If I make below the minimum
required grades on the pre-requisite courses, would I be permitted to enroll in a
different program (such as the Master of Agriculture program)?
If you make below the minimum required grades, or if you withdraw from the courses, the Graduate College will put a “No Further Enrollment Without Departmental Consent (NFEWDC)” restriction on your record. You cannot enroll in any OSU graduate program until the Graduate College lifts the NFEDWC hold with support from the department. You may apply for a different program. In that case, you may discuss with the Graduate College the possibility of withdrawing from the courses that were required for your conditional admission.
- I have a B.S. degree, and am quite certain that I want to get a Ph.D. Can I be admitted
to a Ph.D. program without earning a M.S. degree?
Because a Ph.D. program is heavily research oriented, it is important to use the master’s program to develop research skills. Thus, a master’s degree is a prerequisite to a Ph.D. program.
- What are the TOEFL requirements?
All persons for whom English is a second language are required to present an official TOEFL score of 79 iBT (internet based test), or 550 PBT (paper based test). The TOEFL is not required under the following conditions (all three conditions must hold):
- Graduated in a country where English is an official language
- Graduated from a school where English is the primary language of instruction (A primary language, not the “only” language)
- Graduated from a properly accredited institution recognized by the OSU Graduate College.
- I have completed a M.S. degree in the U.S., am I required to take the TOEFL?
If you have completed a M.S. in the U.S., you do not need to take the TOEFL.
- What is the TOEFL institution code and department code?
The TOEFL institution code is 6546. The department code is 99.
- I have graduated from a university where the primary language is English. Would I
be exempt from the TOEFL requirement?
Two conditions need to be satisfied to be exempt from the TOEFL and although you might meet the first condition, you may not necessarily meet the second condition. The second condition is that not only does English have to be the primary language of the institution from which you received your degree, but it also needs to be an official language of the country in which the institution is located. Please see the answer to question 1, above.
- I am having problems obtaining original transcripts of my prior university training.
May I send a copy now and an original later?
- Are assistantships awarded to international students?
Most first semester international students do not receive assistantships. You may complete the assistantship information in the online application. Please also see questions 3-6 in the Assistantships/Costs section.
- How many graduate credits can I transfer from another degree program from another
According to the OSU Catalog:
- "Transfer credit must be recommended by the graduate student’s advisory committee through the submission of an approved Plan of Study that must be approved by the dean of the Graduate College."
- "Up to three hours of transfer credit may be toward an OSU graduate certificate and up to nine credit hours of transfer credit may be used toward any OSU graduate degree. A doctoral student may transfer more than nine hours if the courses in question were housed in a department or program that offers an EdD or PhD (or equivalent) degree. Doctoral students must include a minimum of 30 hours of OSU credit on their Plan of Study."
- I have taken some graduate courses during my undergraduate program. Can those courses
be used on my M.S. plan of study?
Absolutely no graduate credit taken as an undergraduate at an institution other than OSU can be used toward an OSU graduate degree. OSU undergraduates are allowed through Academic Regulation 4.7 to take a limited number of courses for graduate credit that can be applied toward an OSU graduate degree. To earn graduate credit OSU undergraduate students are required to complete the Application For Graduate Credit For Graduating Seniors form available on the Graduate College website. This form must be completed and turned in to the Graduate College by the end of the second week of the semester in which the graduate level courses are taken (or by the end of the 1st week of a summer session). Requirements are noted on the form.
The following conditions must apply:
- The course must not have been counted towards credit requirements for the B.S. degree.
- The courses have to have been approved for graduate credit by the institution’s Graduate College through the proper submission of the “Graduate Credit for Graduating Senior” form.
- You must have earned a grade of “B” or better in the course.
If you are currently an M.S. student and want to transfer graduate credits towards an OSU Ph.D. degree, the following conditions must be met:
- These credits must not have counted towards credit requirements for your M.S. degree.
- All transfer credit must be approved by the student’s advisory committee.
- Up to nine graduate credit hours can be transferred from an accredited university.
- Up to 30 hours of graduate credit can be transferred from an accredited university and a Ph.D. granting department.
- You must have received a grade of “B” or better in those courses.
Regardless of the credits being qualified for transfer, they could count for prerequisites for subsequent upper level courses, which is decided by the student’s academic advisory committee.
- I have applied, but have not been admitted to the program. If I enroll in the Graduate
College as a Special student and earn credit in a graduate level course, and if I
am eventually admitted to your program, may I use the course on my plan of study?
If you are an international student, check with the office of International Students and Scholars to verify if you are allowed to take a class. Then you can apply for non-degree seeking (special student) status and then enroll in the class. If the class is approved for graduate credit, you could count it towards a graduate degree (if approved by your advisory committee) once you are admitted into the department. However, you would need to have completed your bachelor’s degree to be able to count these hours towards a graduate degree. Please note that you must be an admitted graduate student (either into the program or as a special student) in order to obtain graduate credit.
Plan of Study/Obtaining an Advisor
- What courses would be included on my plan of study?
Example plans are included in the graduate handbook. Orientation sessions are held every semester, usually the Friday before classes begin. The Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee will review your academic credentials and may make course suggestions. However, your advisor, and your advisory committee will help you construct and must approve your plan of study.
- Once I am admitted, what is the process for selecting an advisor?
The Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee will be the temporary advisor for graduate students. The temporary advisor is responsible for helping first-semester students schedule course work and fulfill assistantship obligations until a permanent advisor is selected. To select a major advisor, you would complete the following steps:
- All unassigned students or students without major advisors or committees should attend orientation sessions at which faculty will present summaries of their research.
- Meet with the department head, 308 Ag Hall. Inform him/her that you would like to begin the process for acquiring a major advisor. Be prepared to discuss your educational goals, objectives, and specialty area (marketing, production, management of agricultural enterprises, price analysis, land and water use and development, rural development and planning, agricultural finance, international trade, agricultural policy, or other). The department head will request that you meet with specific faculty members.
- Meet with all faculty members recommended by the department head. Explain to them that you are in the process of selecting a major advisor and that the department head has asked you to meet with them. For some faculty members, it may be necessary to call prior to the meeting to arrange a time. The department head's administrative assistant can provide information regarding phone numbers and secretaries for faculty members. In some cases it will be necessary to make an appointment with the faculty member's secretary. You may meet with other faculty members in addition to those suggested by the department head.
- Schedule a second meeting with the department head. Inform him/her of the results of your meetings with faculty members, and indicate any preferences that you may have. (He/She may contact the faculty on the original list to see if you have met with each of them.) Hopefully, during your meetings with faculty you found several that would be acceptable. The department head will consider prior assignments, current work, and research projects of faculty as well as your preferences. He will then consult with the faculty member prior to making the official assignment.
- The department head will make the official assignment and convey this information to you in a letter or email. (If you have not received a letter from him, you have not been officially assigned and do not have an official major advisor.)
- Meet with your major advisor after receiving the official letter. Work with your major advisor to develop an Academic Advisory Committee and plan of study.
- I will be starting in the spring semester. Are the core subjects that are pre-requisites
for other elective subjects available during this semester?
Students who enter in the spring semester will be able to take some core courses and pre-requisites.
- I am a graduate student and would like to take courses outside the Agricultural Economics
Department. How do I know if the courses will count towards my degree or if the Graduate
Approval of these courses is up to your major advisor, your advisory committee and the department head, with final approval of the Graduate College. The departmental personnel involved in the formulation of the plan of study will be responsible for adherence to departmental regulations. The Graduate College does not review plans for compliance to departmental requirements. The Graduate College looks for the minimum number of total hours and dissertation/thesis credit. The Graduate College uses a check list on the M.S./Ph.D. plan of study, which is available at: gradcollege checklist.
- How do I enroll for an online class?
If you are not a current student, you may apply to be admitted as a non-degree seeking Special student. This status is available for individuals that have earned a B.S. degree. Otherwise, you will be admitted as a non-degree seeking undergraduate student. The only exception is for OSU undergraduates who are applying to graduate study at OSU. To enroll in online courses:
Access the registration form on our website and click on the outreach/distance learning link on the left side of the screen.
M.S. Internship and Zero Ending Courses
- I am a M.S. student with the thesis option. Can I also do an internship?
An internship can be a valuable part of a graduate program. Under a thesis option, you would need to meet all core requirements for the M.S. degree, including writing a thesis (for which you would enroll in AGEC 5000). You could use elective hours for an internship (for which you would enroll in AGEC 5010, and which your advisory committee must approve). Because of the time requirements for an internship, however, it is very important to closely consult with your advisory committee to be sure it will not detract from your thesis research. Although there are no overall restrictions on the total number of zero-ending classes, your advisory committee has to approve them.
- Where do I find the assistantship and the recommendation forms online?
You may complete the assistantship information in the online application. You may enter your recommendation writer’s names and email addresses and the online application will forward an email to them.
- What is the cost of tuition and fees?
Visit the OSU Bursar website. A tuition estimator is located at: tuition estimate
- What are departmental assistantships and who received them?
A research assistantship is not a scholarship, but financial support to conduct research that will benefit citizens of the state of Oklahoma and the U.S. We typically fund only a very limited number of new students every semester on research assistantships, so standards for students using these funds are high. You are welcome to apply for an assistantship, but it is unusual for an international applicant to be awarded an assistantship during the first year. Students who perform exceptionally well during the first year will be considered for funding for the second and third years of the program, but is still a competitive process and has no guarantee of funding. In addition to funding from the department, faculty members may have their own grants and hire students on those grants. Graduate students who are admitted are encouraged to attend seminars for incoming graduate students where faculty members present their research projects and indicate whether they are looking for student assistants.
All graduate students receiving financial assistance through the department have a corresponding work responsibility. They are employees of Oklahoma State University, and report to the Department of Agricultural Economics. The graduate assistant will assist his or her major advisor as directed relative to the advisor's total program. These work requirements may or may not be related to the student’s thesis/dissertation, and could include assistance with teaching, data collection, or other departmental-related activities, as well as research. Research activities, whether related to a thesis/dissertation or not, often lead to an opportunity to publish. Publications (as well as teaching experience) have real value and become an asset to the student when interviewing for full-time employment.
At a minimum, graduate assistants employed on a half time basis are expected to work an average of 20 hours per week. The work schedule can be flexible and the student and his/her advisor should mutually agree on a work schedule that best helps to accomplish the student’s objectives as well as the requirements of the advisor and any granting agencies. To facilitate effective coordination with advisors, students should maintain reasonable office hours. Any substantial change in schedule that affects accessibility of the student must be cleared with the student’s major advisor.
For full consideration for renewal of assistantships and for consideration for departmental scholarships, an evaluation form provided by the department must be completed by the student, signed by the advisor and submitted to the specialist 417A Ag Hall, at the end of each semester. Students on one-half time graduate assistantships may not enroll in more than ten hours of course work in the fall or spring semesters and may not enroll in course work during the summer semester. Students on one-half time graduate assistantships are not permitted to hold outside employment. The student’s major advisor and the department head must approve exceptions to these policies. Students who are sufficiently employed as a teaching or research assistant and are sufficiently enrolled receive resident tuition waivers. Students employed .50 FTE receive a resident tuition waiver for Fall/Spring/Summer of 9/9/2.
Students receiving assistantships on a 12-month basis are entitled to two weeks (10 work days) paid leave each year. Graduate assistants are expected to work during those times in which classes are not in session.
- Are there any graduate student scholarships?
The department has several graduate student scholarships that may be awarded to students that are currently enrolled. Students may apply for these scholarships when the announcement is sent to graduate students. In some cases, students who have completed one semester of coursework can apply for these scholarships, otherwise up to 27 hours of coursework may be required. For more information about available scholarships, visit the Scholarship page.
- Would a minor in agricultural economics in my B.S. program increase my chances of
receiving an assistantship?
Certainly a minor in agricultural economics would be preferable to no classes in agricultural economics. Funding depends on many factors such as GPA, a background in agricultural economics, economic theory, mathematics, and statistics. (See the answer to question 8 under “Application Questions”.) The admissions committee ranks candidates after careful review of each student’s application materials. The decision depends on how much funding is available and the number and quality of students seeking that funding.
- How important is my GPA in my admission into your department and in securing an assistantship?
Although GPA is important (GRE scores are also very helpful), other attributes are also important for admission and assistantships. Because the Ph.D. is a research-oriented degree, the ability to communicate in writing and orally and to apply abstract concepts to real-world economic problems is important.