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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Rural and Environmental Sociology

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

Rural and environmental sociologists engage in applied, multidisciplinary research and develop sociological theory and knowledge relevant to public policy and local development related to communities, the environment, natural resources, food, energy, and agriculture, both domestically and internationally. Our research, extension, and teaching focuses on social and economic well-being of people and places.     

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The Graduate Minor in Rural and Environmental Sociology will benefit graduate students from other programs who wish to improve their substantive knowledge of rural and environmental sociological theory, 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 and Environmental 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 

How to Apply 

  • Review the minor curriculum below and decide which courses you would like to use to complete the minor 

  • Discuss with your home program academic advisor which courses would best supplement your degree curriculum 

  • General course information and sample syllabi are available here 

  • Go to and complete the Minors and Interdisciplinary Specialization Form for RURLSOC-GM (Rural Sociology Graduate Minor) 

  • We will receive your application form and confirm that the selected courses meet our requirements 

  • You will receive a confirmation email from the Graduate School once your form has been approved 

  • After completing the curriculum, submit the graduate minor designation form on to have the minor designated on your transcript 


Students can complete the minor by completing the coursework below with a grade of B or higher in each course. 

  • 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