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Applied Economics and Management Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Applied Economics and Management

Program Description

Program Description

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs are research oriented, and each requires a thesis or dissertation. Students are normally expected to obtain the M.S. or equivalent degree before entering the Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. student must take at least one minor in another field, such as Economics.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-8048

201 Warren Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7801


Concentrations by Subject

  • applied behaviorial economics and individual choice
  • environmental, energy,and resource economics
  • food and agricultural economics
  • international and development economics
  • management



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 15

Requirements Summary:

An undergraduate major in agricultural economics is not required for admission, but a lack of intermediate-level economics is a deficiency that will lengthen the student's program. First-year calculus is also important for Ph.D.-level work. Applicants must submit GRE general test scores.


  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL or IELTS Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • two recommendations
  • GRE general test


Learning Goals

The crucial outcome of graduate study in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is the identification, conceptualization, resolution of, and recommendations for important economic problems of a local, regional, national and global nature. The distinction between the study of economics and applied economics is the central focus on world class applied works. To this end the Dyson graduate student is trained in a problem centric environment to examine issues from an economic point of view, generating hypotheses based on economic principles, and empirically testing these hypotheses. The key learning objective is to create lifelong learners and independent thinkers with a toolkit of sufficient sophistication to adapt to problems as they arise. At the MS level, we seek sufficient rigor in thesis research as a transitional phase to doctoral research or employment in the private or public sectors. At the doctoral level we seek the highest quality of research with the aim of publishing research in high quality journals and making sure that our students can be placed in leading academic departments.


The Dyson School has high expectations of its MS and PhD candidates. Our students are expected to demonstrate mastery of knowledge in the field of economics and applied economics, and to synthesize and create knowledge by making original and substantial contributions to the broader fields of applied economics, centrally focused, but by no means limited to, agricultural economics, development economics, energy economics, resource and environmental economics, financial economics, business strategy, and economic policy.

Proficiencies that are required to be demonstrated by the candidate:

1) Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline:

  • Show your ability of independent thinking and creativity
  • Identify new research opportunities in field

2) The ability to acquire and communicate advanced research skills

  • Bring together existing knowledge, identify, and seek out resources, information
  • Evaluate and apply your own research findings as well as those of othersApply research findings as appropriate
  • Master and/or innovate research methodologies, and techniques
  • Master communication skills for oral and written information exchange

3) A commitment to advancing scholarship

  • Maintain familiarity with advances in the field
  • Engage and communicate findings via professional publications, participation in professional societies, research seminars and other modes of communication
  • Support learning—through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration

4) Demonstrate professional skills

  • Advance ethical standards in the field
  • Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively.

Assessment of Learning Outcomes

In recent years there have been several structural changes to our PhD program. The purpose of these changes was to streamline ‘applied economics’ with core theory in economics.

  1. The AEM applied microeconomics core is taught in the first year. This core sequence ensures that students going forward have sufficient principles training in production economics, markets and prices, applied game theory, industrial organization, partial equilibrium analysis and comparative statics. It is the department’s consensus that this core includes principles that are so foundational that all candidates in applied economics need to be exposed to them.
  2. Empirical assessment of economic problems is obtained through core courses and exposure to mathematical statistics, basic regression, optimization theory and programming methods.
  3. A qualifying examination is administered by AEM at the conclusion of the first year covering all material from the AEM core as well as microeconomic theory core.
  4. Students are required to take one additional semester of graduate applied econometrics beyond an introductory course.
  5. Students are required to complete a mentored research paper by July 31 in the summer following their second year. The mentor in this case is typically the student’s thesis advisor, but can be any member of any faculty; and typically the topic area will be related to the student’s thesis study area, but can be on any subject related to applied economics. The role of the mentor is to guide the student through the paper preparation process including problem identification, how to develop a literature review, presenting theory and methods, summarizing and interpreting results, and concluding the paper. A panel of three AEM field faculty members judge and grade these papers, constituting an applied microeconomics qualifier. Papers should be of sufficient quality to justify eventual publication in a well-regarded field journal.
  6. All required classes must be passed with a final grade of B- or better by the end of the student’s second year in the Ph.D. program.
  7. All MS and PhD students are required to prepare and defend a thesis with guidance from faculty. The evaluation of the thesis, and to some extent the 2nd-year PhD research paper, is based upon a rubric.