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Agricultural Economics: Degree Programs and Courses

Agricultural economists help farmers and government agencies resolve problems or answer questions about food production, sales and trade. Learn more about the field, possible degree programs and coursework.

What You Need to Know

Agricultural economics is the field of study focusing on the national and international economic aspects of food production, marketing, sales and distribution. There are a number of undergraduate and graduate degree options, which prepare you for a wide variety of potential careers in this field.

Degrees Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics, or a bachelor's degree in agricultural business
Courses Agribusiness management and marketing, accounting, agricultural finance, microeconomics, operations management, farm management, statistics, calculus, agricultural pricing and food distribution, micro- and macroeconomic theories, natural resource economics, the social organization of agriculture, agricultural price analysis, international agricultural trade theories, public economics, advanced agricultural policy, econometrics, neoclassical microeconomic theory, industrial organizations and the economics of agricultural products
Future Career Options Farm mortgage loan officer, agricultural financial analyst, food or equipment sales representative or food production manager

What Topics Will I Study in an Undergraduate Program?

You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics or in Agricultural Business with an emphasis on agricultural economics. In a bachelor's degree program, you'll learn agribusiness management and marketing, accounting, agricultural finance, microeconomics, operations management, farm management, statistics, calculus, agricultural pricing and food distribution. You may also complete internships. These courses might be covered in an undergraduate degree program:

  • Food and agribusiness management
  • Food and agricultural issues
  • Technology and communication for business management
  • Food and agribusiness accounting
  • Marketing and food agricultural products
  • Financial futures markets
  • Food and agricultural sales
  • Agricultural and natural resource law
  • Natural resource economics
  • Economics of food and agricultural markets

What Topics Will I Study in a Graduate Program?

Agricultural economics master's degree programs teach micro- and macroeconomic theories, natural resource economics, the social organization of agriculture, agricultural price analysis and international agricultural trade theories. You may also teach undergraduate students through an assistantship, as well as writing a thesis or completing a comprehensive research project. A Master of Science in Agricultural Economics may be available.

Doctoral degree-level agricultural economics programs consist of at least three years of study. In the first two years, you take classes in public economics, advanced agricultural policy, econometrics, neoclassical microeconomic theory, industrial organizations and the economics of agricultural products. Some programs allow you to specialize in topics such as public economics, agricultural finance or industrial markets. You'll also assist professors with research and write a dissertation. A Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics may be available.

What Kind of Career Will I Have?

Economists in this area analyze the organization and procedures of food processing plants, the use of natural resources, farm production practices and trade methods to identify cost-efficient and environmentally friendly ways to grow and transport food.

An agricultural economics degree allows you to work for governments, non-profit organizations, food distributors, farm equipment manufacturers, food processing firms, banks or farm credit institutions. Potential jobs include farm mortgage loan officer, agricultural financial analyst, food or equipment sales representative or food production manager.