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Agribusiness and Applied Economics

Program and Application Information
Department Chair:Dr. William Nganje
Graduate Coordinator:Dr. David Ripplinger
Department Location:500 Barry Hall
Department Phone:(701) 231-7441
Department Web
Application Deadline:March 1
Degrees Offered:M.S.
Test Requirement:GRE or GMAT
English Proficiency Requirements:TOEFL ibT 79 IELTS 6.5

Program Description

The Agribusiness and Applied Economics Master of Science degree includes areas of specialization in applied economics, agribusiness, and transportation and logistics.

The Applied Economics area emphasizes course work in economic theory, research methods, and quantitative techniques. The option is designed to prepare students for careers in agricultural economics research in private and public sectors and for Ph.D. programs at other institutions.

The Agribusiness specialization is a broad-based program which combines training in agribusiness management, economic analysis, and agricultural sciences. Training may include biotechnology, processing, and food and environmental safety. Students are prepared for a variety of successful careers in agribusiness by fulfilling the requirements for expertise in quantitative methods and developing a rigorous background in economic theory and research.

The Departments of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and Civil Engineering, in conjunction with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, offer an interdisciplinary graduate program in multimodal transportation. The program includes rural and non-metropolitan planning, highway and railroad engineering, freight transportation operations and economics, and agribusiness logistics and distribution. Both thesis and comprehensive study options are available.

Students of all options have complete access to well-equipped research facilities and to faculty supervision time. The department has an excellent placement record with national and international agricultural and business firms, as well as government agencies.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Graduate School admission requirements , applicants to the program must have earned a grade of B or higher in intermediate microeconomics and statistics including linear regression, and a grade of C or better in calculus.

Students who do not meet all requirements for admission or have deficiencies in prerequisite course work, but show potential for successful graduate study, may be admitted under a conditional status. Evidence must be provided showing that the applicant's potential is not adequately reflected by his/her record. After meeting the specified standards of performance set by the department, the student, in consultation with the major adviser, may request a change to full graduate standing.

Financial Assistance

The department offers assistantships on a competitive basis.  Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) provide monthly stipends plus tuition waivers.  Students must pay a minimal activity fee each semester.  Assistantships do not begin until the first semester of full graduate standing when courses that apply for the Master of Science degree are taken.

Most assistantships are half-time (20 hours per week) or one-quarter-time (10 hours per week).  Students on assistantship perform research or teaching duties in the Department in return for their stipend.  Assistantships are typically limited to 16 months.

Granting assistantships depends on academic performance, departmental needs, and availability of assistantships.

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Agribusiness and Applied Economics (thesis option or comprehensive study option) must complete all core courses. Students select elective courses (with approval of the adviser and supervisory committee) to fulfill the remaining Graduate School credit requirements. It is required that students have competence in calculus, multiple regression analysis, and intermediate microeconomics.

M.S. in Agribusiness and Applied Economics


AGEC 701Research Philosophy1
ECON 710Advanced Econometrics3
AGEC 739Analytical Methods for Applied Economics3
AGEC 741Advanced Microeconomics3
AGEC 797Master's Paper1-10
or AGEC 798 Master's Thesis

Thesis Option

  • Minimum of 16 credits of approved graduate-level course work
  • 6 to 10 credits of AGEC 798 (Thesis)
  • Minimum of 30 credits of course work and thesis credits

Comprehensive Study Option

  • Minimum of 7 credits of quantitative courses (including ECON 610, ECON 710, AGEC 739, AGEC 711 or other approved quantitative courses)
  • Minimum of 21 credits of approved graduate-level course work
  • 2 to 4 credits of AGEC 797 (Comprehensive Study)
  • Minimum of 30 credits of course work and comprehensive study credits

Caton, James, Ph.D.
George Mason University, 2016
Research Interests:Entrepreneurship Agent-based Computational Economics, Market Process Theory, Monetary Economics 

Nganje, William, Ph.D.
University of Illniois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999
Research Interests: Agriculturel Finance, Food Safety Economics

Erik Hanson, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 2016
Research Interests: Agricultural Finance, Farm Management, Marketing and Production Economics

Robert Hearne, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, 1995
Research Interests: Natural Resource and Environmental Economics

Jeremy Jackson, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis, 2008
Research Interests: Microeconomics, Political Economy, Public Finance

Siew Hoon Lim, Ph.D.
University of Georgia, 2005
Research Interests: Production Economics, Transportation, Industrial Organization

Dragan Miljkovic, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, 1996
Research Interests: Agricultural Prices, International Trade, Agricultural and Food Marketing and Policy

Frayne Olson, Ph.D.
University of Missouri, 2007
Research Interests: Crop Marketing Strategies, Crop Supply Chain Management, Agricultural Contracting, Agricultural Risk Management

Timothy Petry, M.S.
North Dakota State University, 1973
Research interests: Livestock Marketing

David Ripplinger, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 2011
Research Interests: Production Economics and Marketing

David Roberts, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, 2009
Research Interests: Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, Econometrics, Production Agriculture

David M. Saxowsky, J.D.
The Ohio State University, 1979
Research Interests: Agricultural Law

Saleem Shaik, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, 1998
Research Interests: Agriculture Policy and Risk Management, Agriculture Production Economics

Anupa Sharma, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2016
Research Interests: Economics, Agriculture Business and Management

Cheryl J. Wachenheim, Ph.D.
Michigan State University, 1994
Research Interests: Agribusiness

Tom Wahl, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1989
Research Interests: International Marketing and Trade, Agricultural Trade Policy, Marketing and Price Analysis

William W. Wilson, Ph.D.
University of Manitoba, 1980
Research Interests: Commodity Marketing, Agribusiness, Industrial Organization

Lei Zhang, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Dallas, 2011
Research Interests: Applied Econometrics, Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics, Regional and Urban Economics

An accelerated Master of Science program is available for students currently enrolled in the undergraduate economics, agricultural economics, and agribusiness programs at North Dakota State University.  Students will be required to complete 30 credits consisting of 16 graduate-level didactic credits (600/700 level), maintain a graduate GPA of 3.0, and complete a thesis or paper.

Nine (9) of the didactic credits can be used to meet the requirement for the B.S. degree. Graduate stipend or assistantship will not be provided until B.S. degree is granted. However, students are eligible for hourly funding (i.e., time slip) if available at any time after being accepted into the accelerated MS program. Upon completion of the B.S. degree requirement, students are eligible for assistantships pending availability. Differential tuition applies.  Graduate tuition rates will apply to graduate level courses while undergraduate tuition applies to undergraduate courses.

Eligibility and Admission

A Combined/Accelerated Degree Program Declaration form  is required and should be submitted before a student's senior year.

At the time of application, the student:

  • Must have completed at least 60 credits towards their B.S. degree before conditional admission.
  • Must have completed at least 30 credits at NDSU before conditional admission.
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at NDSU to be eligible for conditional admission.
  • Must have completed intermediate microeconomics (ECON 341) with a grade of B or higher, calculus (Math 144 or higher) with a grade of C or higher, and linear regression (STAT 331 or 461) with a grade of B or higher.

Rules for Accepted Students

All admissions are conditional. The minimum condition is completion of the B.S. degree prior to full standing in M.S. program.

  • No undergraduate courses (100-400) may be counted toward a M.S. degree.
  • Courses completed at the 600 level prior to being accepted to the program may be counted toward a M.S. degree.
  • A maximum of 9 credits in the M.S. program can be used to meet the requirements for the B.S. degree.
  • Students entering the M.S. degree with a B.S. degree in hand may not use courses earned as part of the bachelors program for the M.S. requirements.
  • The student must meet all of the requirements that would normally be expected of a student in the M.S. program.
  • Graduate stipend or assistantship will not be provided until B.S. degree is granted. However, students are eligible for hourly funding (i.e., time slip) if available. Upon completion of the B.S. degree requirement, students are eligible for assistantships pending availability.

Degree Requirements for Accelerated Masters of Science Program

Student must meet all requirements of the Economics, Agribusiness, or Agricultural Economics B.S.; and Agribusiness and Applied Economics M.S. programs to be awarded these degrees. The Graduate School has the following minimum requirements:

  • Minimum of 30 credits total.
  • Minimum of 16 course credits in 601-689 and/or 700-789 level.