Degree Options

Specializations

Graduate students in our department may take advantage of interdepartmental specializations offered by Michigan State University. Specializations act like a minor field, and they appear on a transcript. These graduate specializations are available through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  

Dual Major Guidelines for AFRE and Economics

Ph.D. students may pursue a dual major with Economics. Graduates with a dual major receive one Ph.D. degree denoting majors in both departments. To complete the dual major, a Ph.D. student in AFRE or Economics must meet the degree requirements of both departments.

To satisfy the requirements in Economics, AFRE Ph.D. students who pursue the dual major must complete core courses and pass economics qualifying examinations by the end of their second year. Qualifying exams are in microeconomic theory, econometrics, and macroeconomic theory. The courses and qualifying exams for at least one of these areas must be taken in the first year of the program. 

Qualifying examinations must be taken at the first opportunity immediately following the semester in which the corresponding courses were taken. If the qualifying exam is failed on the  first try (spring), it must be re-taken the next time the exam is offered (fall of the same year).

A student typically applies for dual major status in the other department upon successfully completing their three qualifying exams. Then the student constructs a course program plan that meets the requirements of both departments and must be approved by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) of both AFRE and Economics. The same course can be used to meet requirements of both programs, subject to GDP approval.  

Dual major students must meet the comprehensive examination requirements of the department in which they originated. Comprehensive exams are met in both departments by fulfilling research paper requirements. Students with AFRE as their home department fulfill the AFRE research paper requirement and students with Economics as their home department fulfill the Economics research paper requirement. 

The guidance committees of students completing the Ph.D. dual major in AFRE and Economics must have at least two members from each of the two departments. 

How AFRE Students Apply for Dual Major Status

After passing qualifying exams, complete the AFRE and Economics Dual Major Course Plan Form in D2L. This is an Excel spreadsheet, in which you list which courses you plan to take to fulfill both departments’ requirements. Once completed, send the spreadsheet to the Academic Program Coordinator in AFRE, your primary department. From there, the Director of Graduate Studies in AFRE will review the form, and if approved, will send to the Director of Graduate Studies in Economics for their review and approval as well. 

Once the course program plans have been approved by each department, let the Academic Program Coordinator in AFRE know so that the process for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) form can begin. This is a form that is required by the Graduate School to route alongside your GradPlan for approvals. The Academic Program Coordinator will send you the MOU, and will ask you to complete the form and route to your major professor for their signature. From there, you’ll need to return the MOU to the Academic Program Coordinator so that next steps can be initiated. 

The Academic Program Coordinator will let you know when it is time to submit your GradPlan for approvals. You’ll need to make sure to request a dual major at the same time you submit your GradPlan. The course program plans on your MOU must match your GradPlan exactly. If you have any extra courses that you have taken that you are not counting in either your AFRE or Economics program plans, you’ll need to list them as collateral courses in the notes section in GradPlan. These collateral courses should not be listed at all in your MOU; only the courses counting toward your program plans should be listed there.

Once your MOU and GradPlan have been approved by both departments and all guidance committee members, the College and Graduate School will review your request for a dual major and, if everything is in order, approves your request.

 

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