Two Graduate Degrees Focused On Social Change. Endless Opportunities For Impact.

Our Graduate Program Focuses On Social Change

Our faculty members carry out theoretical, applied and policy research nationally and internationally on the causes and consequences of social change on individuals, communities and nations of the world. Our program has four overlapping areas of strength: Environment and Natural Resources; Food, Agriculture, and Development; Crime, Law and Deviance; and Social Inequality, Social Justice, and Governance. Most of our faculty do research, outreach and engagement in two or more of these areas, a unique strength of our program that prepares our graduates to make rigorous but flexible contributions as professional sociologists.

Students are thoroughly prepared for careers in academia as well as public and private sectors.

“Nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the Nation’s Best 100 Sociology graduate programs in 2017”.

Select your areas of interest, then choose complementing courses and projects. Core theory and research methods bind our four areas of strength together.

Environment & Natural Resources

Includes the study of the social organization of resource extraction, use and disposal; cultural factors shaping the human-nature relationship; and the use, management, and protection of natural resources for conservation and development at local, national, and global levels.


Food, Agriculture, & Development

Focuses on the social, economic, political, and cultural organization of the production, trade, and consumption of agricultural and food products; globalization, labor, and agrarian relations; fair trade and market based social change.

Crime, Law, & Deviance

Examines individual and organizational (including corporate and government) law-violating behavior and the organization and operation of law enforcement, judicial, and correctional processes.

Social Inequality, Social Justice, & Governance

Explores the diverse structural influences on social, economic, and environmental inequality; the political, legal, organizational, and cultural frameworks through which state, social movement, and other social actors coordinate and control natural, social, and cultural resources; and how vulnerable and marginalized groups are impacted in crises.

We Offer Our Graduate Students

Opportunities For:

Professional Skills For Competitive Academic, Public And Private Sector Job Markets:

  • A professional, supportive environment with open-door access to world-renowned faculty at a Tier 1 land grant research institution.
  • Faculty-student collaboration on theoretical, applied and policy research at local, national and international levels.
  • The development of research and data analytic skills necessary to explore complex issues from multiple angles and opportunities to hone these skills by working closely with talented and committed faculty members.
  • An interdisciplinary community of faculty and graduate students across the university with whom to exchange ideas and learn.
  • Financial support, available on a competitive basis, as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) on faculty research projects.
  • A beautiful and sustainability-minded environment in which to live and work.
  • Rigorous, scholarly yet practical training.
  • Expertise in specialized areas including environment and natural resources, food, agriculture and development, criminology and deviance, community, environmental governance, fair trade, and race-ethnicity and gender.
  • High competence in social theory, research methodology and quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
  • Ability to collaborate creatively and effectively within Sociology and interdisciplinary complex social and environmental problems.