Rural Sociology Graduate Programs

Master of Science Degrees

The principal master's degree in rural sociology is the 39-credit-hour professional master's degree. The program is designed to prepare students for positions in the public and private sectors, and it is particularly useful for positions that include applied research, policy analysis or community development. Students who wish to complete a master's degree in rural sociology followed by a doctoral degree in the program also are encouraged to pursue the degree.

A 30-credit-hour traditional master's degree,requiring a thesis, is also offered. The degree primarily is intended for those who intend to pursue doctoral studies or who have a special reason for wanting a thesis degree. Although it requires fewer credit hours, a thesis degree normally requires one semester longer to complete than the professional master's degree.

Rural Sociology Ph.D. Program - Sustainable Development

The goal of the Ph.D. program is to provide the next generation of rural sociologists with academic and professional skills and credentials relevant to critical issues of sustainable development, defined as development that is socially equitable, economically viable and environmentally responsible. The concept of sustainable development is often used with specific reference to ecologically sound development. It can also mean achieving cultural, social and institutional continuity and maintaining balance in the context of dynamic local and global situations.

Given the Division of Applied Social Science’s and Rural Sociology Department’s expertise in the applied social sciences, our graduates should be able to provide leadership and core expertise in social science interdisciplinary endeavors both domestically and internationally, with special emphasis on sustainable development in non-metro (rural) regions.

By combining elements of a core graduate education in sociology with two specialties, graduates will be qualified to complete meaningful research and analysis within the rubric of sustainable development. The core requirements will provide a basic grounding in research methodologies and the sociology of sustainability and development. The specialty areas provide students with the opportunity to acquire additional skills and credentials particular to their intended career paths.

The 72-credit-hour doctoral degree primarily is a research degree and is intended for those who plan to pursue careers in the following contexts:

  • Academic positions in social science departments, interdisciplinary programs, and policy schools
  • Leadership positions in government agencies at the local, state, regional, national and international levels in the United States and around the world
  • Social science and leadership positions with non-governmental organizations working toward sustainable development, economic development, and /or environmental protection
  • Social science and leadership positions with private enterprises engaged in development projects and consulting.

Most students will enter the program with a master's degree that included a research component.

In addition to these specialty areas, students can also pursue studies through:

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