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Guidance/Feedback for Ag/Applied Econ Phd


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Hi All, this is my first post here, so please advise if I can improve formatting.


I am looking for some general guidance for applying to Ag Econ PhD programs for Fall 2021.


I am a MS student at a strong Applied Economics department at a major land grant school. Mostly, I think I have a very strong profile: all As in graduate school (extra statistics courses, linear algebra, in addition to 2 course sequence in micro and 2 course sequence in econometrics). TA experience, very practical RA experience, a rather relevant thesis, as well as work experience after undergrad. My undergraduate career was rather shaky, which can't be corrected at this point, but I think I make up for that with some really great work experience and my masters level performance.


FWIW, I am a domestic student and have a real drive to work as a researcher in the agricultural economics field, primarily in the area of international trade and trade policy.


I think my biggest drawback is my GRE score right now - 163 quantitative (83rd percentile). I am going to take it again, but I didn't improve the last time I took it, despite a lot more preparation. I still think I can get into the 90th percentile.


My question is specific to Ag Econ programs, how much consideration is given to GRE in these departments and is a 163 a non-starter for someone in my position? I had really hoped to target Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa State (all ag/applied economics), but also Penn State and Syracuse (traditional economics departments).


Ideally I can improve my quant score and be the best candidate possible. But if not, does anyone have some suggestions for some departments (ag econ or traditional) that I should target, and would offer some good training in trade and policy?

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