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Applied Economics: BS

Applied Economics

USU has the only agricultural economics degree in the state. This major helps students develop quantitative skills and a deeper understanding of economic theory and how it specifically pertains to agriculture. Agricultural economists analyze production, distribution, and consumption of farming goods. They help farmers maximize their gains and minimize their losses.

The coursework for the agricultural economics degree consists of economic theory and research making it an excellent preparation for graduate studies in economics, agricultural economics, natural resources, business, or law.

With a relatively small faculty, and a low student-to-teacher ratio, students are guaranteed individualized attention. Most of the faculty members in the College of Agriculture have national and international experience that helps them bring a global perspective to the class. Students have the opportunity to do research in labs and in the field.


  • Economic Theory: This emphasis prepares students to work directly after graduation or to pursue graduate study in economics, agricultural economics, quantitative economic analysis, or other related research degrees. Students with this emphasis often become economists involved with policy analysis for governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Managerial Economics: This emphasis is for students planning for careers in business; it is useful for students planning to enter the job market upon graduation or as excellent preparation for students who intend to pursue a master of business administration (MBA) or master of public administration (MPA).
  • Prelaw Economics: This emphasis is for students who plan to attend law school or pursue a career related to political science. The large number of elective credits included in this emphasis area provides enough flexibility for students to custom design their program of study to meet individual interests and educational goals. Several students have taken advantage of this flexibility to design a dual major in political science.

Students who graduate in agricultural economics typically continue on to graduate school in economics, MBA programs, or law school. They may also pursue the following career options:

  • Commercial bank operations
  • Commodities trader
  • Food marketing and sales
  • Agricultural input marketing and sales
  • Insurance sales and adjusting
  • Loan officer
  • Agribusiness manager
  • Farm and ranch management
  • Stock and commodity brokerage
  • Real estate appraisal
  • Banking

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the agricultural economics program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions and students transferring from other USU majors need a 2.5 total GPA for admission to this major.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association: This is a nonprofit association serving the professional interests of members working in agricultural and applied economic feilds. Members of AAEA work in academic or government institutions, as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations. They also engage in a variety of teaching, research, Extension, and outreach activities.

Association of Environmental Resource Economists: AERE is a professional association for economists working in the environmental and natural resources fields. It serves as a means for exchanging ideas, stimulating research, and promoting graduate training in environmental and resource economics.

International Food and Agribusiness Management Association: This is an international management organization that brings together current and future business, academic, and government leaders, along with other industry stakeholders to improve the strategic focus, transparency, sustainability, and responsiveness of the global food and agribusiness system.

National Future Farmers of America Organization: This organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. USU members serve the agricultural industry, the agricultural education profession, and the FFA at the local, state, and national levels.

Western Agricultural Economics Association: This association fosters the study and understanding of agricultural economics and its application to problems in the western United States and Canada. It promotes unity, improvement, and cooperation with similar organizations and institutions so together they can increase the positive impact of agricultural economics.

Agribusiness Club: This club is designed for students interested in agribusiness. It holds activities and meetings to help students network and learn about careers in agribusiness.

Small Enterprise Education and Development Program: SEED gives USU students an opportunity to work with people in developing economies. Students teach workshops about business principles, including tracking sales, and how to identify costs, manage cash, and develop a business plan. At the conclusion of the training, participants may be awarded funding by an external company. USU students continue to work with the funded businesses, helping them grow.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: The UAES is part of a network of researchers and facilities at the nation’s land-grant universities and is committed to improving agriculture and managing natural resources for the people of Utah. At research facilities on the USU campus and throughout the state, UAES supports hundreds of research projects that promote agriculture and human nutrition and enhance the quality of rural life.

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Phone: (435) 797-0454

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