Over 1,800 agricultural economics graduate students at 41 Ph.D. and master's degree granting institutions in the United States were surveyed to determine their demographic characteristics, academic motivations, financial assistance, scholastic output, and professional activities. Responses were received from 306 Ph.D. degree-seeking students and 244 students pursuing masters degrees. They indicated career advancement potential was their most important reason for pursuing a graduate degree. Students choose among graduate programs largely based on departmental reputation and financial assistance. Scholastic output and professional activities differ between top ranked and lower ranked graduate programs, with graduate students at top ranked schools focusing on teaching activities whereas students m lower ranked graduate programs emphasized research and extension output.