College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
In addition to coursework in sociological theory and methods, doctoral students are expected to concentrate in and pass a written comprehensive examination in one major specialty area, with additional depth coursework in a second area. Specialty areas are distinct, but are also highly integrative. One line of integration involves the department’s continuing emphasis on Rural Sociology, which links elements of all three specialty areas. The program is sufficiently flexible to permit students with a strong interest in an area other than the established specialty areas to elect that area as their second specialization, with approval of the supervisory committee and the department head or his or her delegated representative.
This specialization explores issues of population change, migration, and health outcomes. Graduate coursework is provided in social demography, population theories and policies, demographic research methods, and various special topic seminars. The orientation is twofold: (1) basic and policy oriented research on sociological aspects of demographic structure and processes including migration, marriage and fertility, morbidity and mortality, and technical demographic topics such as population estimates and projections; and, (2) the provision of demographic training to domestic and international students relevant to their respective settings. Demographic topics are highly interrelated with issues of central concern involving environmental, community, and social change. Active faculty research endeavors encompass a broad range of local, regional, national, and international projects in the areas of migration and population redistribution, health and disability, family demography, life course and aging, population/environment interactions, labor force, and population estimates and projections.
Environment and Community
This specialization focuses on the sociology of natural resources, environmental sociology, community theory, and applied community development. The faculty in the Environment and Community Sociology area maintain active research in areas such as natural resource development and social change, resource dependency patterns, land use planning, public participation in environmental planning, social responses to hazardous facility siting, environmental equity and environmental justice concerns, public land management policies, linkages of environmental conditions with population change, and a variety of other natural resource policy and management issues. Faculty members are engaged in numerous cooperative research ventures with colleagues in natural resource sciences, water engineering, and other physical and social sciences.
States and Markets
This field of specialization is supported by new developments in economic sociology that focus on the social and political bases of market processes and in political sociology on the impact of state-level institutions and political processes on social and economic outcomes. Taken together these developments suggest that states and markets are embedded in each other and co-construct one another in important ways. Many important topics studied by faculty within our department – migration behavior, health outcomes, environmental problems, labor market outcomes, community development, etc. – are shaped by this interaction of politics and markets. Developments in the discipline at large to engage this intersection inspire new trajectories of inquiry that motivate the research agendas of a critical core of faculty in the department. Thus neither political sociology nor economic sociology sufficiently captures the existing strengths of faculty research and teaching.