M.S. in Rural Sociology

Graduate study in rural sociology is available at the master’s level through the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology. The program faculty includes rural sociologists from DAERS and sociologists, anthropologists, and others from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. Financial support (see Student Support section below) is often available for students pursuing the thesis option.

Student Support

Most graduate students in rural sociology pursuing the thesis option are supported by Graduate Research Assistantships that provide a stipend and tuition waiver. These GRA positions primarily are associated with research grants that are competitively awarded to the faculty; some departmental funding may also be available and is awarded competitively. This funding is used to provide research training for graduate students and typically leads to a thesis that contributes to the funded project (titles of completed theses). Our current grants, projects and associated student theses are focused on the following areas:

• Governance and Legal Studies of Agrifood Systems: rules and habits governing production systems with emphasis on food safety statutes and regulations, and limited liability and Right-to-Farm laws.

• Local Food Studies: food security, farm-to-school and -institutions, and consumer attitudes and willingness to pay for local foods in the South.

• Studies in Environmental Justice and Natural Resource Dependency: social and economic issues related to race, extraction, resource dependency, and structure of land and resource ownership including land loss and absentee ownership in the rural context.

• International Development: adoption, impacts, and productive use of agricultural technology; augmenting institutional capacity in higher education; mobile-based systems for facilitating access to market information and technical assistance. Current focus is Central Africa and Haiti.

Both degree options in rural sociology share a common core of three courses at the graduate level: social theory, research methods and statistics. The first is a thesis option requiring a minimum of 24 hours of graduate level course work and six hours of graduate credit for the thesis. The non-thesis option requires a total of 36 hours of graduate course work and a capstone paper.

Guide to Graduate Study

For More Information

Photo of Michelle Worosz


Associate Professor of Rural Sociology
Co-Director, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Sociology
Coordinator, Rural and Community Development Minor
Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
Auburn University Food Systems Institute
308A Comer Hall
Office: 334-844-5682
Auburn University, AL 36849-5406
Fax: 334-844-5639
Skype: michelle.worosz