We are searching for students who have the intellectual ability and the character to be successful in graduate studies and in their profession after they leave the University. There should be a clear fit between an applicant's educational goals and needs and the graduate faculty members' interests and expertise.

The Department of Rural Sociology accepts new students in both the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, the department awards a limited number of graduate research assistantships to offset the costs of graduate study. To apply for either admission or awards, please contact the department.


Prospective students need to complete a department application (Word), obtain three letters of recommendation (Word), submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and write a statement of interest (Word) explaining why they want to study rural sociology at the University of Missouri. Official transcripts are required. Applicants also need to complete the MU Office of Graduate Studies's online application and submit the application fee.

Applications normally are screened in late October for applications for spring semester enrollment and in March and June for fall semester applications. Additional meetings of the admissions committee may be called when needed.

Admissions Criteria

The admissions committee's first judgment is whether the graduate curriculum meets an applicant's intellectual and professional needs. The second judgment is whether prospective students have the maturity and the level of self-motivation needed to succeed in graduate school and in a career as a social scientist. The final set of judgments concern the intellectual and academic abilities of the applicant.

Admissions criteria for the doctoral program are much stricter than for the master's program. Students entering with a bachelor's degree normally are admitted into the master's program, but those with exceptional academic credentials may be admitted directly into the doctoral program.

Applicants' statements of intellectual and professional interest and their letters of reference serve as the basis for the committee's first two judgments. There is no reason to evaluate people's academic potentials if the department's offerings cannot meet their interests. Secondly, success in MU's rural sociology program requires a level of maturity and the ability to evaluate one's prospects and define one's personal and professional goals. The statement of interest and the letters of reference provide insight into those qualities.

Once the fit between the graduate program and an applicant's educational goals has been established, the applicant's academic transcripts and test scores are examined. Overall GPA, GPA during the last two years of undergraduate coursework, grades in courses involving theoretical and mathematical reasoning, and scores on standardized tests are examined to determine a person's academic abilities. Normally, the committee looks for students who rank academically in the top half of graduates.

Applicants who have not taken at least 12 semester hours of advanced (sophomore, junior or senior levels) course work in a social science (for example, sociology, economics, political science and anthropology) may be asked to successfully complete (that is, earn a B or better) basic course work in sociology as a condition of admission to the graduate program. Those applicants will be enrolled in provisional status until that requirement is completed.

Students from other countries must demonstrate English language proficiency. Unless waived, students are required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), receiving a minimum score of 540 on the TOEFL, before taking courses for graduate credit.

Admissions Committee

Decisions concerning admission to the graduate program are the responsibility of the Admissions and Awards Committee, which the department chair appoints and includes at least three faculty members and one graduate student. The director of graduate studies chairs the committee. The department chair is an ex officio member. The committee may, upon a request from the chair or the graduate faculty, act as an ad hoc graduate program committee.

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