Minor in Rural Sociology

Graduate students from any program are invited to pursue a 12-credit minor in rural sociology. Taking classes with our rural sociology specialization faculty will enhance your understanding of social life in rural and non-metropolitan areas both domestically and internationally.

The discipline of Rural Sociology focuses on the study of social life (broadly conceptualized) in rural and non-metropolitan areas, domestic and international. The discipline emerged as part of the Land Grant mission, and rural sociology courses have been taught at Ohio State since 1904. Rural sociologists have a dual mission to not only conduct research that advances sociological theory and contributes to empirical knowledge but that also is relevant to public policy making and to local development.


The graduate minor in rural sociology will benefit graduate students from other programs who wish to improve their substantive knowledge of rural sociological theory, empirical research, processes of social change, and the range of problems confronted by residents of small towns, suburbs, and rural areas in the U.S. and abroad. The Graduate Minor in Rural Sociology is designed to provide foundational coursework in rural poverty, agriculture and food systems, environmental sociology, domestic rural development, public policy analysis, diffusion of innovations, international development and social change, and contemporary issues.

A graduate minor in rural sociology is relevant to students in a broad array of fields, such as:

  • Anthropology
  • Agricultural and development economics
  • Agricultural extension
  • City and regional planning
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • International and area studies
  • Public affairs
  • Social work
  • Sociology
  • Women’s studies
  • And many more!

Curriculum & Procedure

Degree-seeking Ohio State graduate students will be able to list the graduate minor in rural sociology on their transcripts after successfully completing four rural sociology courses (12 semester credit hours) with a grade of B or better and submitting the required Graduate Minor forms to the Graduate School. See http://www.gradsch.osu.edu/graduate-interdisciplinary-specializations.html for forms and information from the Graduate School.

Students are encouraged to consult with both their graduate major program advisor and with the faculty advisor for the graduate minor in rural sociology (listed below) in order to identify the courses that best suit the student’s intellectual and applied interests.

  • Required course
    • RURLSOC 7600 Concepts and Theories in Rural Sociology, which examines the sociological significance of "rurality" and the conceptual perspectives applied to major substantive areas in rural sociology, such as community, environment, and agriculture.
    • In years when RURLSOC 7600 is not taught, RURLSOC 5500 Diffusion of Innovations may be substituted with permission of the Graduate Minor advisor.
  • One of the following courses:
    • RURLSOC 5530 Sociology of Agriculture and Food
    • RURLSOC 7560 Environmental Sociology
    • RURLSOC 7550 Rural Community Development in Theory and Practice
    • RURLSOC 8500 Development Sociology in Theory and Practice
  • Two additional courses from the above or following list:
    • RURLSOC 5540 Population, Place and Environment
    • RURLSOC 5500 Diffusion of Innovations
    • RURLSOC 5580 Social Impact Assessment
    • RURLSOC 6500 Rural Poverty


Application to study the Graduate Minor in Rural Sociology


For more information, contact:

The SENR Graduate Program Coordinator

210 Kottman Hall, 614-292-9883