Agribusiness Economics

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The School of Agricultural Sciences offers a Master of Science degree in Agribusiness Economics. A program of concurrent study leading to the award of two master’s degrees, the Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Agribusiness Economics can be undertaken. An interdisciplinary degree at the Master of Science level may be achieved by completing requirements as a double degree major.

Graduate students with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 (4.0 scale) and demonstrated competence in economics, statistics, mathematics, and agricultural economics are admitted unconditionally to the ABE Master of Science degree programs. Students with insufficient background may be admitted contingent upon demonstration of satisfactory completion of undergraduate courses in deficient areas.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Agribusiness Economics. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card, (inquiries should be directed to the Agribusiness Economics program, Ag Building, Room 226, Mail Code 4410, 1205 Lincoln Drive, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL  62901-4410).

Agribusiness Economics Concentration

Through selected coursework and research students may focus in resource and environmental economics, economic and rural development, agribusiness management and finance, agricultural marketing and prices, farm production management, or international trade and agricultural policy.

The Master of Science in Agribusiness Economics with a concentration in agribusiness economics is awarded upon completion of required coursework with a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in either of two options; a thesis or a non-thesis (research paper) option. For both options at least fifteen hours must be at the 500 level.

The thesis option requires satisfactory completion of thirty hours of graduate credit. This includes nine hours in structured agribusiness economics courses; ABE 500, ABE 571, and ABE 572. Fifteen hours of elective graduate credit are selected based upon recommendation from the agribusiness faculty member directing the student’s thesis work. A research component including six hours of ABE 599 and an oral examination is required. This option is preferred for individuals with Ph.D. aspirations at SIU or other institutions.

The non-thesis option requires satisfactory completion of 30 hours of graduate credit. This includes nine hours in structured agribusiness economics courses; ABE 500, ABE 571, and ABE 572. Twenty-one hours of elective graduate credit are selected based upon recommendation from the agribusiness faculty member acting as the student’s research paper advisor. Six of these hours must be at the 500 level, including a research component of three hours of ABE 593 and an oral presentation of the student’s research paper. This option is preferred for individuals seeking a career in the public sector or with private industry. With proper course selection and timely research component development a student could complete the non-thesis option in one year’s time.

Agricultural Services Concentration

The agricultural services concentration is designed to permit individuals who are professionals in private industry or public service to earn a Master of Science degree in Agribusiness Economics while remaining fully employed in the agricultural sector.

Other individuals may be admitted after request and consideration by the ABE graduate committee and approval of the graduate director.

The agricultural services concentration requires satisfactory completion of thirty hours of graduate credit. 15 hours must be at the 500 level and 15 hours must be in Agribusiness Economics or related disciplines, of which three hours must be ABE 593, where a student-initiated research paper or special project will be completed under the direction of a faculty advisor. 

Accelerated (4 year+1) Joint B.S. - M.S. Degree

The “4 year +1” program allows motivated and high achieving students to complete a program leading to an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in Agribusiness Economics in five years. As early as sophomore year, junior year for transfer students, a student working with a faculty advisor will develop a program of study consistent with the student’s interest and goals. To complete this five-year plan 141 credit hours is required. Nine credit hours are double counted toward an undergraduate and a Master’s degree. 21 hours are taken after undergraduate graduation.

The option requires satisfactory completion of nine hours in structured agribusiness economics courses: ABE 500, ABE 571 (or ABE 471 if taken at the undergraduate level), and ABE 572 (or ABE 472). 21 hours of elective graduate credit, which may include ABE credit hours at the 400-level taken as an undergraduate, are selected based upon recommendation of a faculty advisor. Six of these hours must be at the 500-level. As with the traditional ABE Master’s program, ABE 593, Individual Research, is required as students complete a research project during the fifth year of study. It is expected that working with a faculty advisor the student will begin development of the research project during the undergraduate senior year. A service component, ABE 591, taken during the fifth year, entails working in an unpaid research assistantship capacity, or upon petition to the graduate director, an unpaid research assistant.

This option is preferred for individuals that recognize the value in an advanced degree as the degree may lead to higher entry positions in their chosen career path, more responsibilities, and greater life-long earning potential. An associate benefit of the “4 year +1” program to students that have advanced degree aspirations is the ability to save money by completing their studies quicker.

M.B.A./M.S. in Agribusiness Economics Concurrent Degree Program

The School of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Business offer a concurrent degree program leading to both the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Science in Agribusiness Economics. The separate M.B.A. degree requires completion of 32 semester hours of coursework; the M.S. with a major in ABE requires the completion of 30 semester hours (thesis option) or 30 hours (non-thesis option). In the concurrent M.B.A./M.S. degree program, the College of Business accepts six semester hours of ABE approved coursework, and ABE accepts six semester hours of College of Business approved coursework. The end result is that the concurrent degree requires completion of 26 semester hours of College of Business approved courses and 24 semester hours of ABE approved courses (thesis option) or 30 semester hours of ABE approved courses including a minimum of six semester hours of ABE courses at the 400 level (non-thesis option), or a decrease of 12 semester hours from pursuing both degrees separately.

The ABE M.S. as a part of this option requires satisfactory completion of ABE 500, ABE 571, ABE 572, and additional elective hours. A research component of a thesis (thesis option) or research paper (non-thesis option) as specified for the agribusiness economics concentration must be completed for award of the ABE M.S degree.

Students interested in enrolling in the concurrent M.B.A./ABE M.S. degree program must apply to and be accepted by both the graduate programs in the ABE Department and the College of Business. The student then may request permission to pursue the concurrent degree. Students enrolled in either the M.B.A. or ABE M.S. may subsequently seek permission to pursue the concurrent degree. Admission to the concurrent degree must be completed at least one semester before the last semester of registration at SIU. The student must complete the requirements of the concurrent degree program to receive both the M.B.A. and ABE M.S. If the student elects, after acceptance into the concurrent degree program, to pursue either, but not both, the M.B.A. or ABE M.S., all requirements of the individual degree program must be satisfied.