Many agricultural economics departments are concerned about the vitality of their Ph.D. programs. A particular problem is insufficient student numbers to justify teaching certain courses or fields. As a consequence, much faculty time can be spent debating alternative program structures without any real idea of the likelihood that a proposed program structure will succeed. This article presents a framework for deriving some analytical and empirical results for alternative Ph.D. program structures. A downloadable program is used to generate some representative results that will hopefully help others minimize speculations and time spent in committee or departmental meetings.