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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics (AEREC)

Program Home Page

C. DANIEL AZZARA, Interim Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
205 Armsby Building
814-865-5461

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S.

The graduate program emphasizes economic theory and quantitative methods as applied to the food and agricultural system, natural resources and the environment, and regional economics and economic development.

The Graduate Faculty

 

Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship

M.S. students in this program may elect the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship. This option provides enhanced educational opportunities for students with an interest in water resources management. The Watershed Stewardship Option attracts students from several graduate programs and educates them to facilitate team-oriented, community-based watershed management planning directed at water resource problems. The Watershed Stewardship Option is coordinated with similar options in other graduate programs through the Center for Watershed Stewardship. The Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship requires 18 credits of graduate course work when taken with the M.S. degree in Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics: 6 credits of breadth courses, 3 credits of environmental economics, 1 credit of Watershed Stewardship Seminar (AEREC 591), and 8 credits of Watershed Stewardship Practicum I and II (AEREC 570 and AEREC 571). Breadth courses consist of 3 credits of graduate course work from water resources science and 3 credits from either humanities or communications/design. For M.S. students, the 3 credits in environmental economics consist of Resource and Environmental Economics I (AEREC 519). In the watershed stewardship practicum courses, students work in multidisciplinary teams with community, government and business leaders to analyze and understand natural resource problems and creatively synthesize appropriate solutions in a written watershed management plan.

Lists of acceptable water resources science, humanities, and communication/design courses are maintained by the Center for Watershed Stewardship. Students may petition the Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics Graduate Program Committee and the Center for Watershed Stewardship to substitute higher level or equivalent courses to suit their specific backgrounds and goals. Courses taken for the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship may be used to satisfy other equivalent (400- or 500-level) degree requirements in the Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics graduate program with the concurrence of their adviser and the Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics Graduate Program Committee. The graduate committee for a student enrolled in the Option in Watershed Stewardship must include a faculty representative from the Center for Watershed Stewardship.

Admission Requirements

Scores from the Graduate Record examinations (GRE), or from a comparable substitute examination accepted by a graduate program and authorized by the dean of the Graduate School, are required for admission. At the discretion of a graduate program, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study in a program without these scores. Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Students entering the master's program should have a total of 9 credits in agricultural economics and/or economics. Students entering the doctoral program should have successfully completed courses in intermediate micro- and macroeconomic theory, in differential and integral calculus and linear algebra, and in intermediate statistics. Students are permitted to enter the master's and doctoral programs with deficiencies but must pass courses to eliminate deficiencies as soon as possible.

Students with a 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average (on a 4.00 scale) and with appropriate course backgrounds will be considered for admission. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Exceptions to the minimum 3.00 grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree; rather, the student must satisfactorily complete courses in economic theory and quantitative methods.

Other Relevant Information

Students in this program may elect the dual-title degree program option in Operations Research for the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees.

Students may qualify for admission to the dual-title degree program option in Demography consisting of interdisciplinary course work, with special emphasis on the economic, social, and geographic issues arising from the dynamics of population change.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

 

AGRICULTURAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND REGIONAL ECONOMICS (AEREC) Courses

 

Dual-Title Degree in Agricultural Economics (AEREC) and International Agriculture and Development (INTAD)

Graduate students with education and research interests in food and agribusiness economics, environmental and natural resource economics, and regional economic development may apply to the Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics and INTAD Dual-Title Doctoral Degree Program. The goal of the program is to provide graduate students from AEREC with state-of-the-art training in economics and quantitative methods in the program areas described above, while also providing the perspective and methods needed for work in the international arena.

AEREC Admission Requirements

For admission to the dual-title doctoral degree under this program, a student must first apply and be admitted to the AEREC graduate program. Once accepted into the program, the AEREC student can then submit an application to the INTAD Academic Program Committee for the dual-title degree program. The application includes a written personal statement indicating the career goals that a student hopes to accomplish by earning a dual-title AEREC/INTAD degree. Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for a dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, determined by the student, their INTAD advisor, and their AEREC program advisor.

Degree Requirements for AEREC/INTAD Dual Title M.S.

The Master's in AEREC and INTAD is a dual-title degree awarded to students who are admitted to the AEREC master's program and admitted to the dual-title degree in INTAD. In addition to the requirements of the AEREC degree, dual-title degree students must:

Courses

Complete a minimum of 12 INTAD course credits (400, 500, or 800 level) as follows:

9 credits from the core curriculum

• Program Design and Delivery (AEE 450, 3 credits)
• Leadership Development (CEDEV/R SOC/AEE 505, 3 credits, on-line)
• International Agricultural Development Seminar (INTAD 820, 3 credits)

3 credits of internship or applied courses/ independent studies with international development content

Master's Thesis & Final Oral Examination

Write a master's thesis on a topic that reflects both the graduate program in agricultural, environmental and regional economics and the dual-title offering in INTAD.

The thesis committee for the dual-title master's degree will consist of two graduate faculty members from AEREC and one graduate faculty member from INTAD. All members of the student’s committee for the dual-title master's degree will be members of the graduate faculty. The committee must include at least one graduate faculty member from INTAD. A Degree Committee form should be filed upon selection of the committee members and should be approved by the INTAD Academic Program Committee Co-chair.

Candidates for the dual-title master's degree in AEREC and INTAD will also be required to pass a masters' thesis defense covering the general field of Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics and elements of INTAD, with emphasis on the student's area of specialization. The oral exam is to be administered by the student's thesis committee. A favorable vote of a two-thirds majority is necessary for passing.

Some courses may satisfy both the graduate major program requirements and those of the INTAD program. Final course selection is determined by the students in consultation with their INTAD advisors and their major program advisors. Students and advisors should maintain the INTAD Master's Degree Plan of Study, which must be submitted to the INTAD program office two months before the student files the "Intent to Graduate" via eLion.

Degree Requirements for AEREC/INTAD Dual-Title Ph.D.

The doctoral degree in AEREC and INTAD is a dual-title degree awarded only to students who are admitted to the AEREC doctoral program and admitted to the dual-title degree in INTAD. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in AEREC and INTAD, in addition to the AEREC requirements, are as follows.

Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 18 INTAD course credits with study in the following categories:

9 credits from the core curriculum, which includes:

  • International Agricultural Development Seminar (INTAD 820, 3 credits)
  • International Rural Social Change (R SOC 517, 3 credits)
  • Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (R SOC 555, 3 credits)
  • OR
  • Sociology of Agriculture (R SOC 508, 3 credits)

9 credits from INTAD elective curriculum/courses with international development content/internships/independent study

Courses totaling a minimum of 18 credits must be taken at the 500-level or above; particular courses may satisfy both the AEREC requirements and those in the INTAD program. Final course selection is determined by the student in consultation with their INTAD advisors and their major program advisors.

Students who already hold a master's degree from another institution may petition to have equivalent course credits accepted.

Graduates of the dual-title INTAD master's degree program who wish to pursue an INTAD doctoral degree must re-apply to the INTAD program for admission. INTAD master's degree credits may be carried over to the doctoral program. Six additional INTAD credits will be required. INTAD master's degree graduates who pursue an INTAD Ph.D. are required to take the INTAD 820 International Agricultural Development Seminar a second time.

Candidacy

Candidacy procedures will be based on the procedures of the major department and will have an international dimension. Although not encouraged, the dual-title degree student may require an additional semester or more to fulfill requirements for the dual-title degree program. Therefore, under exceptional circumstances, the candidacy exam may be delayed at the discretion of the student advisor in consultation with the INTAD program coordinators.

Committee Composition

The doctoral committee of a Ph.D. dual-title degree student must include a minimum of four faculty members, i.e., the chair and at least three additional members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty; and the committee must include at least one representative from the INTAD Program faculty. The chair of the committee can be a member of both the Major Program and the INTAD Program faculty. If the chair is not an INTAD Program faculty member, the INTAD representative must be the co-chair of the committee. An official “outside member” also must be appointed to the committee.

Comprehensive Exam

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to pass a comprehensive examination. A separate comprehensive examination is not required by the INTAD program, but international agriculture must be one of the key areas of the exam and the INTAD representative on the student's doctoral committee must have input into the development of and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral Thesis & Final Oral Examination

Ph.D. students enrolled in the dual-title degree program are required to write a Ph. D. dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and education in both AEREC and International Agriculture and Development. The dissertation should contribute to the body of knowledge in international agriculture. Upon completion of the student’s doctoral thesis, a final oral examination is scheduled.

The exam is administered by the student’s doctoral committee and focuses on the student's thesis research. A public oral presentation of the dissertation is required.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400-499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up for deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

 

Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2011

Blue Sheet Item #: 39-07-004

Review Date: 06/21/2011

Faculty linked: 5/12/14

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