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About the Sociology Department


The Department of Sociology and Rural Studies has a long proud history of service and educational excellence at South Dakota State University. In keeping with the Land-grant mission, the department is active in education, research and outreach.

NOTE: As of May 2017 the Sociology Department is now located in the basement of Hansen Hall, rooms 04 & 09/10.

Educational Programs

At the undergraduate level, the department offers a number of opportunities for students. Students can earn either a BA or a BS in Sociology. We also offer minors in Sociology, Criminal Justice, Youth & Community Work and in Social & Human Services.

At the graduate level, the department participates in a trans-disciplinary, multi-institution online program known as IDEA that is focused on Community Development


Faculty are engaged in a wide range of research efforts ranging from micro-level symbolic interactional research to efforts to measure community change to studying the impact of conservation programs. Currently, the department is also working with the Bush Foundation, the Wilder Foundation, and the Black Hills Knowledge Network to develop a state-wide online database on key indicators.


Members of the department participate in a variety of community and regionally focused projects. Recently, Sociology students and faculty provided support for a series of community reads around the issues raised in Hollowing out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America by Patrick Carr & Maria Kefalas. Other faculty and students are also conducting research to look at what factors contribute to young people coming home or returning to rural areas after completing their education.

In addition, the department houses the State Census Data Center. The Data Center provides information from the Census and other databases to faculty, students, policy makers, and community and organizational leaders.


The department has 8 full-time faculty with additional adjuncts assisting with the teaching load. Our faculty are also involved in service to the university, the community and the field.

Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

We occasionally hire undergraduate students to assist with research, although these opportunities are limited. In addition, undergraduate students can sign up for independent study credits to work on research projects with faculty and in the Data Center to get research experience.

Undergraduates may also choose to participate in the Student clubs associated with the department. The Human Services Club focuses on leadership opportunities and volunteer activities on campus and in the community. The Sociology Club also provides leadership opportunities and participates in volunteer efforts in addition to hosting speakers and working on campus issues. The Criminal Justice Club is an interest based club that explores criminal justice related research, internships, and careers.

Also undergraduates students are invited to participate in AKD, the Sociology Honor Society.