UW-Madison UW-Madison
Graduate Student Handbook
Introduction | Department Organization | Graduate Program Requirements and Regulations | Funding, Teaching and the Job Market | Department Physical Facilities

Section 1

This handbook describes the major programs, policies, procedures, and regulations of the departmental graduate program. In the process, it delineates departmental expectations with respect to its graduate students as well as what graduate students can expect from the department. Thus, it is intended to serve as a convenient central source of information for both students and faculty. The information in this handbook supplements the Graduate Bulletin of the University of Wisconsin and should be used in conjunction with the current issue of the Bulletin.

The graduate program offers Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, as well as the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The objective of the graduate program is to train economists knowledgeable in theory, econometrics and at least one applied field for professional positions in teaching, research and extension in colleges and universities, and for research and administration in public and private agencies and organizations. The graduate requirements are designed to develop a set of analytical skills applicable to a wide range of problems. The Master's program requirements include a set of core theory and econometrics courses, and electives in Agricultural and Applied Economics and other departments. Master's students are also given the opportunity to conduct research leading to a master's thesis for the Master of Science degree. In addition to the specific course and examination requirements, the Ph.D. program requires that the student obtain practical research experience through the preparation of a dissertation. A student in either program has the opportunity to obtain additional practical experience as a Research Assistant.

All candidates for advanced degrees are required to show acceptable mastery of economic theory and econometrics. In addition, Ph.D. candidates must choose a specialization and develop expertise in a major field of study.

The procedures and requirements described in this document are intended to guide the student through the program. Special problems or circumstances may arise in which the procedures are not clear or in which an exception to the rule appears warranted. Questions on all such matters may be discussed with the department Academic Programs Coordinator or the Director of Graduate Studies. The department's Graduate Committee (described in Section 2) formally considers specific requests for modifications of or exceptions to the rules. Generally, rule exceptions require a formal petition to the Graduate Committee. This can be submitted through either the Academic Programs Coordinator or the Director of Graduate Studies. The Graduate Committee will then act on the request.

Section 2
Organization of the Department

The department operates on democratic principles. Each year the department Chair is appointed by the Dean on the basis of an advisory ballot by all assistant, associate, and full professors. The Chair is viewed by the department as its official representative and as an administrator who executes rather than develops departmental policies. Thus, the entire department develops and approves all programs, policies and staff changes. To expedite its work, the department uses standing committees; members are appointed annually by the Chair with the advice and consent of the faculty. Graduate students elect representatives to serve on several committees.

Departmental standing committees include:

  • Graduate. The Graduate Committee is concerned with graduate student admissions, ranking students for financial aid, and evaluating satisfactory progress. It proposes course changes for the graduate curriculum. The extended committee includes two student representatives, who advise the committee on non-personnel matters.
  • Major Field Prelim. There are Ph.D. preliminary exam committees in four thematic areas: economic growth and development; environmental and resource economics; economics of agriculture; and community economics. The prelim committees write and grade the major field prelims. (see Section 3.4).
  • Personnel. The Personnel Committee is responsible for recruiting new faculty, evaluating assistant and associate professors for promotion, and for general personnel matters involving all faculty members
  • Undergraduate. The Undergraduate Committee reviews student petitions for course substitution and considers departmental and college curriculum changes.
  • Curriculum.   Formed in 2012 to conduct curriculum planning.
  • Extension. The Extension Committee is concerned with departmental policy in all areas of extension activity.
  • Seminar. This committee organizes the departmental seminar series and includes student representatives.
  • Executive. The Executive Committee is composed of all full professors and associate professors in the department. It has the responsibility of making all the important policy decisions concerning the department, including reviewing all personnel actions with respect to promotions and tenure.
Last updated on Fri, July 20, 2012 2:35 PM