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 introductory courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics, an elementary course in statistics, and one semester of calculus. Students will also complete a capstone course in their senior year where students will demonstrate how the concepts they have learned in their Agricultural and Applied Economic (AAE) courses are applied to real-world situations. Students are required to complete 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. More details on the requirements for the AAE major can be found on the Requirements page.

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. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), 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 14
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
Students must complete 15 credits of AAE courses 200-level or above. Students may choose to focus their studies on an area of concentration as follows: 215
Applied Economics
Development Economics
Environmental Economics
Managerial Economics
A A E 500 Senior Capstone Experience3
Total Credits41-45

Concentrations within the Major

Applied Economics

AAE courses, 200 level and above 115
Total Credits15

Development Economics

Select any of the following courses:
A A E/​INTL ST  373 Globalization, Poverty and Development3
A A E/​INTL ST  374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON/​INTL BUS  462 Latin American Economic Development3
A A E/​ECON  473 Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
A A E/​ECON  477 Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa3
AAE courses, 200 level and above 1

Environmental Economics

Select any of the following courses:
A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy4
A A E 246 Climate Change Economics and Policy3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics4
A A E/​ECON/​F&W ECOL  531 Natural Resource Economics3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  671 Energy Economics3
AAE courses, 200 level and above 1

Managerial Economics

Select any of the following courses:
A A E 320 Farming Systems Management3
A A E 322 Commodity Markets3
A A E 419 Agricultural Finance3
A A E/​ECON  421 Economic Decision Analysis4
AAE courses, 200 level and above 1

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 think critically about real-­world problems and public policy debates.
  2. Use appropriate quantitative techniques to analyze economic problems.
  3. Communicate results effectively orally and in writing.

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 10134CALS Science Requirement3
First Year Seminar1Electives46
 13 16-17
Total Credits 29-30
ECON 1023ECON 3014
Statistics Course3Electives9-12
CALS Science Requirement5 
 15 13-16
Total Credits 28-31
Concentration Courses6Concentration Courses3
ECON 3024Electives12
 16 15
Total Credits 31
Concentration Courses6Capstone Course3
 15 15
Total Credits 30

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

Linda Davis
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics      
424 Taylor Hall
Schedule an appointment with me using Starfish.


Students with a degree in agricultural and applied economics may specialize in international development, environmental policy, or managerial economics. They often find careers in policy analysis, environmental management, business analysis, trade or consulting. They can find employment with a variety of employers such as nonprofit organizations, government agencies, co-operatives, multinational firms, agribusiness companies, financial institutions, and the food or retailing industry. Many students pursue graduate degrees in economics, business, public policy, law or other areas.

Students can use the services provided by the CALS Career Services Office, which include help with creating a resume or cover letter and mock interviews. CALS students also have access to Handshake, an online job/internship posting tool that provides students with hundreds of job and internship listings.


Barham, Bradford
Chavas, Jean-Paul
Coxhead, Ian 
Deller, Steven
Foltz, Jeremy (Chair)
Mitchell, Paul
Phaneuf, Daniel
Provencher, R. William
Rutherford, Thomas
Schechter, Laura
Shi, Guanming
Stiegert, Kyle


Du, Sheldon
Grainger, Corbett
Fletcher, Jason*
Hueth, Brent
Parker, Dominic


Conroy, Tessa*
Dower, Paul
Johnston, Sarah
Stevens, Andrew


Beach, Jeremy
Berner, Courtney
Dong, Fengxia


Jordan van Rijn


Davis, Linda

*AAE Affiliate Faculty


Students with a major in agricultural and applied economics (AAE) must all complete the senior capstone requirement. For our majors, the capstone is a specific class which offers students the opportunity to work in a group with other students in their area of interest to produce a final project and present it to their fellow students and AAE faculty. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate how the concepts they have learned in their AAE classes are applied to real-world situations. 

Study Abroad

Many students with a major in agricultural and applied economics choose to study abroad. Study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to gain an international perspective and can prepare students to participate in today's global economy. International Academic Programs (IAP) serves as the primary study abroad office on campus, offering over 200 programs in over 60 countries around the world. IAP program offerings, available to all majors, range from short-term, faculty-led opportunities to intensive language study, internships, a semester or a year at a university overseas, service learning, and programs with special themes. There are also international programs offered through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). Study abroad programs in CALS cover a variety of content areas such as sustainable development, food systems, agriculture, health and wellness, and community and economic development.


Agricultural and applied economics majors are eligible to apply for the Renk Scholarship Program, which can provide scholarships for up to three years. The Renk Scholarship Program is part of the Renk Agribusiness Institute and emphasizes leadership in contemporary agricultural issues and activities linked to agribusiness.

Independent Study

Students in the agricultural and applied economics major may have the opportunity to work with an AAE faculty member on an independent study project. They will work with one of our faculty and engage in independent reading and research for credit. Students will have the opportunity to experience the excitement and frustrations of doing research, while learning techniques that might prove useful in future projects.  


The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics offers a number of scholarships to our majors. All AAE students are encouraged to apply each year for department and CALS scholarships through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH). AAE majors are also eligible to apply for the Renk Scholarship Program, which can provide scholarships for up to three years. The Renk Scholarship Program is part of the Renk Agribusiness Institute and emphasizes leadership in contemporary agricultural issues and activities linked to agribusiness.