The DED Program began in Fall 2008. Plans are to admit new students each Fall semester.
A professional doctorate is considered to be a practitioner’s degree while a Ph.D. is considered to be a research degree. Medical doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, and the like typically hold professional doctorates (MD, DVM, JD). Read A Brief History of the Doctorate.
The Doctor of Economic Development is a professional doctorate aimed at providing advanced education and training for economic development specialists and practitioners. The DED focuses on attracting high quality students with related master’s degrees who demonstrate a genuine interest in economic development at the local, regional, and international levels. The DED is designed as a practitioner’s degree and should not be considered as preparation for an academic career.
This information is provided on our DED Admissions webpage.
The admission requirements are the minimum qualifications for consideration. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission.  Admission is competitive.
You should contact the DED director and discuss your qualifications before applying. He/she might be able to make some useful suggestions on what you might do to enhance your qualifications.
Because the DED is a professional doctorate we anticipate that some students will be mid-career and will desire to continue their careers as they study. Others will be traditional, residential students. Although we will not be able to accommodate every student’s preferences perfectly,  we plan to be flexible in delivering the classes to reasonably accommodate this mix of students. Flexible delivery might mean that courses meet on weekends, nights, or in compressed summer sessions. Actual delivery methods will depend on the mix of students in a particular class or cohort of students. This is not a distance education program; students must reside in the region in order to participate.
Unlike graduates of regular Ph.D. programs, DED graduates are not expected to go into academic research; they are expected to actively apply their skills and knowledge to make a difference in local economies. Our graduates will use the academic knowledge of economics to solve real problems in the field. Students and faculty will work on actual economic development problems submitted by state and local governments. We will challenge our faculty to think about economic development more broadly, and to deal with some very practical issues. Students will get an overview of economic development from local, regional and international perspectives; explore existing theory in the field and how it is applied; and learn the tools used for financial analysis of economic development projects.
  • The DED graduate has the ability to read and understand academic literature in economic development and apply the accumulated body of knowledge in the field to practical economic development problems.
  • The DED graduate has solid grounding in standard economic theory (micro/macro) and an appreciation for alternative theoretical perspectives.
  • The DED graduate has excellent written and oral communication skills and is able to use said skills to communicate to diverse audiences.
  • The DED graduate has at least one specialized area of knowledge outside of the boundaries of general economic development.
  • The DED graduate is competent in the use of econometrics and other research tools useful in economic development.
  • The DED graduate has completed at least one substantial real-world applied economic development project.
The DED is an economics degree. Therefore, a background in economics with appropriate math and statistical training is necessary.  Economic development involves a wide variety of issues, so students with varied backgrounds will be considered, as long as the economics, math, and statistics prerequisites are met successfully.  Examples of related degrees include Master of Economics, Master of Agricultural Economics, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Public Administration among others. Priority will be given to applicants who have completed the Master’s degree at the time of application, however, students with significant related graduate coursework may also  be considered.
Courses are taught primarily by faculty in the Department of Economics, Applied Statistics & International Business and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business.  Courses in some of the specialty areas that supplement the core are taught in other University departments.
Both colleges have an equal stake in the DED program. The Department of Economics, Applied Statistics & International Business (College of Business) and the Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and Extension Economics Department (ACES) have offered a joint Master’s degree since the 1970s. Thus, both colleges and departments have a long history of cooperation. Also, by working together the DED program will be stronger for its association with the Cooperative Extension Service, housed in ACES, and the Arrowhead Center, housed in the College of Business.