Analysis of Institutions and Organizations Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in the Analysis of Institutions and Organizations, offered by Division of Applied Social Sciences, features rigorous, multidisciplinary, research-oriented training in the analysis of formal and informal rules, private and public organizations, and other forms of social, cultural, political, and commercial institutions. Certificate faculty members are active contributors to New Institutional Economics and New Institutional Sociology.

The certificate complements the research, teaching, and outreach activities of the Division of Applied Social Sciences and research centers such as the Contracting and Organizations Research Institute, Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership, and McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The certificate program focuses on the structures and processes of institutions and organizations in changing environments. Institutions are the "rules of the game" that shape human interaction and consist of both formal rules (e.g., legal-contractual) and informal structures (norms, values, and beliefs). Organizations are entities in which people interact and pursue goals, ranging from families to private and nonprofit firms and public agencies.

Both sociologists and economists study institutions and organizations but with different theories, methods, assumptions, and constructs. While these are usually viewed as competing perspectives, the certificate program emphasizes the common foundations of institutional analysis across academic disciplines including economics, sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, geography, and law, as well as the ways that multidisciplinary perspectives can inform each other.

This certificate is for:

  • Graduate students seeking certification in addition to their degree program.
  • Professionals with at least a bachelor's degree seeking a stand-alone graduate certificate for additional professional certification.

How to apply

Contact David O'Brien,

Courses and Plan of Study

Total credit hours: 12

An orientation for students who plan to pursue the certificate will be held early in the fall semester.

Required courses

The Certificate Program involves two required courses, RS 7335, "Social Change and Trends," and AE 8050, "Economics of Institutions and Organizations," both of which are offered in the fall semester.


Students in the program also take any three of the following:

  • RS 7446: Community Social Structure
  • AE 7972: Agri-food Business and Cooperative Management
  • AE 8430: International Agricultural Development Policy
  • RS 8447: Sociology of Consumption and Consumerism
  • AE 8520: Economics of Transactions and Contracting
  • AE/RS 8610: Collective Action from Sociological and Economic Perspectives
  • RS 9480: Community Survey Research
  • AE 9510: Theory of the Agribusiness Firm
  • Law 5591: Food Law and Policy #
  • Law 5335: Agricultural Law #

# Students who want to sign up for either Law 5591 or Law 5335, contact Denise Boessen (Law School Registrar) -, 573-882-8269

See the course catalog for course descriptions.

Required Workshop

The Workshop on Institutions and Organizations is an integral part of the certificate program and will provide opportunities for students and faculty to learn more about the latest interdisciplinary institutional and organizational research findings, methodologies and theories from invited speakers as well as provide a forum within which faculty and students can share their ongoing research. The workshop environment is designed to encourage an open but critical interdisciplinary dialogue on issues pertaining to institutional design and organizational structure and processes.

  • The workshop will be held both during the fall and spring semesters.
  • The fall semester workshop will convene as speakers become available.
  • The spring semester workshop will meet regularly for two hours every other week.
  • Students pursuing the certificate are expected to participate in all workshop functions.
  • Students are required to sign up for one hour of course credit of readings for the spring semester workshop.
  • A substantial portion of the spring semester workshop will be devoted to facilitating student research projects.
  • All students are required to make a presentation on their research during the spring semester workshop.

Program Faculty

  • Michael Cook (agricultural cooperatives, collective entrepreneurship case study methods)
  • Jere Gilles (institutional and organizational issues in transition economies)
  • Mary Grigsby (institutional issues of consumption and rural lifestyles, qualitative methodology)
  • Harvey James (social capital, organizational economics, business ethics)
  • Peter Klein (organizational economics, entrepreneurship, strategic management)
  • Laura McCann (transaction cost measurement, environmental and natural resource economics)
  • David O'Brien (survey research, social bases of transition economies)
  • Michael Sykuta (new institutional economics, contracting and organization, political economy)
  • Randall Westgren (entrepreneurship, research methodology)