Skip to content

Graduate Programs

Agricultural and Applied Economics (MS)

Students who earn a Master of Science (MS) in Agricultural and Applied Economics learn to apply economic theory, design experiments or surveys, estimate econometric models, and test hypotheses with inferential statistics to analyze human behavior, business practice, or government policy. The behavior, practice, or policy might relate to agriculture, banks, credit markets, environ­mental or natural resource management, forestry, health care, insurance, marketing, property rights, regional economic growth, regulation, stock markets, sports businesses, or sustainable development. 

The faculty endeavor to create an environment conducive for learning, scholarship, and career preparation.  Economic faculty from the Department of Agricultural Sciences, the John E. Walker Department of Economics, and statisticians from the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences teach the required and most of the elective courses. The Department of Agricultural Sciences is the administrative home of the program.

  • Admission Requirements

    (in addition to Graduate School requirements

    An applicant’s transcript(s), GRE score, statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and relevant work or personal experience are the criteria for an admission decision.

    The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0. For GRE the admitted students have usually a combined score of 300 or higher for verbal and quantitative and 3.0 or higher for analytical writing. The respective median scores of recently enrolled students on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing parts of the GRE are approximately 154, 152, and 4.0. We do not provide any GRE waiver. Admitted students usually have earned at least a B average, or equivalent grade, for their courses in economics, statistics, and mathematics.

    For M.S. thesis degree program, applicants are required to identify an Agribusiness faculty member who is willing to serve as major advisor prior to admission. Applications from students who have not been in communication with their prospective advisor before applying are rarely admitted.

    Normally, admitted international students have a cumulative TOEFL iBT score in the range of 90 to 100 with a minimum of 20 for listening and 20 for speaking.

    Reading and writing scores of admitted appli­cants are usually higher than 20. Otherwise, the successful applicant has earned at least 7.0 on the IELTS, if she did not take the TOEFL. An applicant with a low TOEFL or IELTS score can be admitted conditional on completing Level 112 of an ELS course and, if necessary, retaking the GRE.

    International applicants who have studied abroad for at least two years in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries and completed their undergraduate education in an English-speaking country are not required to retake the TOEFL or IELTS. However, they should report their most recent scores in the online application.

    Successful applicants have normally passed undergraduate courses in univariate and multivariate calculus, introductory probability and statistics, and intermediate microeconomics. An undergraduate course in intermediate macroeconomics is highly recommended. Students who majored in economics or agricultural economics and took econometrics or who majored in statistics and took intermediate microeconomics typically have an adequate background. Exceptional students with inadequate backgrounds may be admitted but required to take extra, co-requisite courses during their first semester. Domestic students with inadequate backgrounds may also apply as non-degree seekers, take co-requisite courses, and then apply to the program.

    The number of applicants who are accepted each year varies. The acceptance rate varies from 1/3 to 2/3 of all applications. Over the last six years, the number of accepted students who enrolled in the program has averaged seven students per year.

    Dates and Deadlines

    To apply to the MS in Agricultural and Applied Economics program follow the instructions at Clemson's Graduate School Admissions website and complete the online application. Applications should be completed by April 15 for the Fall semester . Students who apply for the Spring semester need to complete their applications no later than October 15. However, with a delay in student VISAs, international students should apply a month earlier than these deadlines.

    Clemson Graduate School Admissions
  • Requirements for Degree

    Thesis Option

    The thesis option provides additional training in the use of economic theory, econometrics, and statistics to analyze real-world economic issues.  Students who choose this option often plan to pursue a PhD degree or a career that requires a high level of research competence. An acceptable Master’s thesis will include a problem-specific theoretical section that generates testable economic hypothesis and an empirical section that tests the validity of the economic hypothesis. 

    Students who choose the thesis option must take at least 24 graded credit hours of course work and 6 units of thesis research (ECON 8910 or APEC 8910) to earn a minimum of 30 credits. At least 12 of the 24 graded credits must be 8000-level or 9000-level courses for this option. Well-prepared, full-time students in this option can earn their degree in one calendar year but most take 18 months to finish the course and thesis requirements. Completion of a thesis is often a prerequisite to most Ph.D. graduate programs in Economics or Applied Economics.

    Non-Thesis Option

    The non-thesis option provides practical training in applied economics, econometrics, and data analysis for business or government. The program provides additional technical skills for business- or public-service-oriented students. A technical, or professional, paper is required. An acceptable technical paper will include relevant literature and theory review plus an applied empirical section.    

    Students choosing the non-thesis option must earn at least 30 credit hours of graded course work. At least 15 of the 30 graded credits must be at the 8000-level or 9000-level courses for this option. Well-prepared, full-time students can satisfy the requirements of the non-thesis degree option in one calendar year (academic year plus summer semester) but generally take longer to finish. 

  • Job Placement

    Recent graduates have used their degrees to fill increasingly valuable niches for data analyses and management in the public or private sector. Recent employers include:

    • Ag­South Farm Credit
    • Archer Daniels Midland
    • BB&T Bank
    • BBDO Atlanta
    • Black Book
    • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Cardlytics
    • Cardno Entrix
    • Delta Airlines
    • Ducks Unlimited
    • Epic
    • Florida Farm Bureau
    • Fractal Analytics
    • Hanesbrand Inc.
    • Impact DataSource
    • Intercontinental Hotels Group
    • Ipsos
    • Greenville Technical College
    • Medical University of South Carolina
    • National Golf Foundation
    • Resurgent Capital Services
    • SAG Corporation
    • Tri-County Technical College
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • USAA Federal Savings Bank
    • Vision Recycling

    Other graduates have subsequently earned doctorates in economics, agricultural and applied economics, data analytics, or statistics. 

  • Contact Information

    Michael Vassalos
    Graduate Program Coordinator
    phone: 864-656-2439. 

College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences |