Students develop and use economic data and models to analyze and understand a wide range of issues—including environmental problems, world hunger, energy and climate change, business economics and finance, economic development, globalization and trade, biotechnology, land-use management, and community development. Course subjects include economics, environmental economics, managerial economics, financial management, commodities and futures markets, the global economy, development in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, cooperatives, international trade, pollution, and regulation. Students acquire the necessary skills to pursue a rewarding career in consulting, government, business, or international organizations, or a graduate degree in economics, public policy, business or law.

Major requirements usually met in the freshman and sophomore years are: A A E 215, ECON 102, an elementary course in statistics, and one semester of calculus (MATH 211, MATH 217 or MATH 221).

Other major requirements are: ECON 301 and ECON 302,  A A E 500 (a “capstone” course), and a minimum of 15 additional credits in AAE courses. Students may select an area of concentration within the major from four choices: Applied Economics, Development Economics, Environmental Economics or Managerial Economics. These 15 credits are selected by the student with the assistance of an advisor and must be at the 200 level or above (does not include A A E 215, A A E 299 or A A E 500).  

Students completing the agricultural and applied economics major are awarded the bachelor of science degree.

To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Specific requirements for all majors in the college and other information on academic matters can be obtained from the Office of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 116 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3003. Academic departments and advisors also have information on requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies and Science), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics
This major requires calculus. Prerequisites may need to be taken before enrollment in calculus.
Select one of the following:5
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Select one of the following:3-6
Statistics: Measurement in Economics
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for Engineers
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Basic Statistics for Psychology
Statistics for Sociologists I
Business Analytics I
and Business Analytics II
A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics 13
or ECON 101 Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 102 Principles of Macroeconomics3-4
ECON 301 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory4
or ECON 311 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
ECON 302 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory4
or ECON 312 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory - Advanced Treatment
Concentrations within the Major
Select one of the following:15
Applied Economics
Development Economics
Environmental Economics
Managerial Economics
A A E 500 Senior Capstone Experience3
Total Credits40-44

A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics only carries QR-B credit if taken fall 2011 or later.

Concentrations within the Major

Applied Economics

AAE courses, 200 level and above 115
Total Credits15

AAE courses 200 level and above may not include A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics or A A E 299 Independent Study.

Development Economics

A A E/​INTL ST  374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
Select one of the following:3
Globalization, Poverty and Development
Latin American Economic Development
Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia
Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa
AAE courses, 200 level and above 16
Total Credits15

 AAE courses 200 level and above may not include A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics or A A E 299 Independent Study.

Environmental Economics

A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics4
Select one of the following:3
Climate Change Economics and Policy
Natural Resource Economics
Energy Economics
AAE courses, 200 level and above 15
Total Credits15

 AAE courses 200 level and above may not include A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics or A A E 299 Independent Study.

Managerial Economics

A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 419 Agricultural Finance3
AAE courses, 200 level and above 16
Total Credits15

 AAE courses 200 level and above may not include A A E 215 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics or A A E 299 Independent Study.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Use economic concepts to better understand real-­world problems.  
  2. Use appropriate quantitative techniques to analyze economic problems.  
  3. Use computer systems to effectively analyze economic problems. 
  4. Communicate results effectively in writing. 
  5. Communicate results effectively orally.
  6. Think critically about economic issues. 
  7. Contribute to public policy debates. 

Four-year plan

Sample Agricultural & Applied Economics Four-Year Plan

MATH 211 or 22115COMM B3
COMM A23Chemistry Course4-5
A A E 215 or ECON 10133-4CALS Science Requirement3
First Year Seminar1Electives46
 12-13 16-17
Total Credits 28-30
ECON 1023ECON 3014
Statistics Course3AAE Elective3
CALS Science Requirement5Electives9
 15 16
Total Credits 31
Concentration Courses6Concentration Courses3
ECON 3024Electives12
 16 15
Total Credits 31
Concentration Courses6Capstone Course3
 15 15
Total Credits 30

Students must complete MATH 211 or MATH 217 or MATH 221.  Students may satisfy the required level of math proficiency through the math placement exam. On the other hand, this level of competence may require as many as three semesters of coursework in mathematics.


The communications requirement includes Communication Parts A & B. Completing this requirement early will help the students with written and oral assignments in future courses.


Students should complete the basic courses in economics early in their programs so that they can have greater choice in courses in the major.


Students should choose electives that satisfy one of the UW requirements (ethnic studies or social sciences or humanities) or the college requirements. See Requirements tab for details.

For more information or to declare a major in agricultural and applied economics, contact:                                         

Linda Davis
Undergraduate Student Services 
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics      
University of Wisconsin–Madison
424 Taylor Hall
427 Lorch Street
Madison, WI 53706


Barham, Bradford
Chavas, Jean-Paul
Cox, Thomas
Coxhead, Ian 
Deller, Steven
Foltz, Jeremy
Gould, Brian
Phaneuf, Daniel
Provencher, R. William
Rutherford, Thomas
Stiegert, Kyle


Alix-Garcia, Jennifer
Fletcher, Jason*
Hueth, Brent
Mitchell, Paul
Schechter, Laura
Shi, Guanming


Conroy, Tessa*
Du, Sheldon
Grainger, Corbett
Johnston, Craig*
Parker, Dominic
Tjernstroem, Emilia


Dong, Fengxia
Reynolds, Anne


Davis, Linda

*AAE Affiliate Faculty