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Department of Sociology & Rural Studies

Understanding the world around and beyond us

The Department of Sociology and Rural Studies is a doorway to a number of exciting opportunities for both undergraduate students and graduate students. Both graduate and undergraduate students can participate in a number of out-of-class activities such as clubs, associations and events.

Undergraduate students may choose from several specialized programs or choose a general degree in Sociology. Our students develop the skills sought by social service, human services, and criminal justice agencies as well as private, government and nonprofit employers.

Social & Human Services

  • Students with an emphasis in social & human services find jobs working with the elderly, youth, families at risk, victims of domestic violence, substance abusers, and the poor.

Criminal Justice

  • Those with a minor in criminal justice find positions in law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice, child protection, and court services.

Human Resources

  • Graduates who go into human resources work in employee recruitment, personnel management, customer relations, marketing, and sales. Students taking a general major in Sociology find positions in all the above mentioned sectors along with jobs that emphasize data analysis and other forms of research. Students may also link their Sociology major to teacher education. 

Graduate Programs

  • The Department of Sociology and Rural Studies offers several graduate  programs including an on-site master’s degree which offers students the opportunity to concentrate on one of three specializations: demography; social deviance; or social organization. Each specialty is dynamic and offers exciting opportunity.

Online Degrees


The department also administers the Rural Life and Census Data Center, which provides businesses, organizations, news media, and local and county agencies with the latest census and rural life information. Dr. Weiwei Zhang is the Director of the Census Data Center.


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    Deepak preparing to fly drone over soybean field

    NSF project to build farmers’ confidence in precision ag technologies

    Building farmers' confidence in precision agriculture technologies is the goal of a National Science project led by Maaz Gardezi, an assistant professor of sociology and rural studies and an affiliate faculty of natural resource management at South Dakota State.

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    APLU Releases Reports Identifying 11 Critical Employability Skills Gaps for Graduates

    Pat Crawford, director of South Dakota State University’s School of Design, was the co-principal investigator and author of two reports on employability skills, released today by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

    SDState, Sisseton Wahpeton College sign articulation agreements

    South Dakota State University and Sisseton Wahpeton College administration signed articulation agreements Tuesday morning at SDState's Hilton M. Briggs Library.