MS in Rural Sociology

Degree Requirements

Professional Master's Degree

The principal master's degree in rural sociology is the 39-credit-hour professional master's degree. The program is designed to prepare students for positions in the public and private sectors, and it is particularly useful for positions that include applied research, policy analysis or community development. Students who wish to complete a master's degree in rural sociology followed by a doctoral degree in the program also are encouraged to pursue the degree. 

The professional master's degree has two options:

  1. The community facilitation option for individuals interested in working for government, extension and non-governmental agencies in the field of community development
  2. The analytical processes option for students wishing to do policy analysis for government agencies.

Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater and must have completed at least 15 hours of coursework at or above the 8000 level. Both programs require an internship

Traditional Master's Degree

A 30-credit-hour traditional master's degree, requiring a thesis, is also offered. The degree primarily is intended for those who intend to pursue doctoral studies or who have a special reason for wanting a thesis degree. Although it requires fewer credit hours, a thesis degree normally requires one semester longer to complete than the professional master's degree.

Required Courses15-18
RU_SOC 7325American Community Studies3
RU_SOC 7341Building Communities from the Grassroots3
RU_SOC 8450Research in Rural Sociology (internship)3-6
RU_SOC 8510Research Methods and Design3
PUB_AF 8195Economic Analysis for Public Policy - Mid Career3
Core Courses (must take three courses)9
RU_SOC 7120Social Statistics3
RU_SOC 7335Social Change and Development3
RU_SOC 7370Environmental Sociology3
RU_SOC 7446Community Social Structure3
RU_SOC 8287Seminar on Sustainable Development3
RU_SOC 8436Community, Natural Resources and Sustainability3
RU_SOC 8444Agriculture, Food and Community3
RU_SOC 8447Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Rural Sociology1-99
RU_SOC 8610Economic and Sociological Approaches to Collective Action3
Community Facilitation Option (additional requirements)
Must take three of the following:
Empowering Communities for the Future
Creating Capacity for Dynamic Communities
Advanced Social Statistics
Collaborative Governance
Economic Analysis for Public Affairs
Economic Analysis for Public Policy - Mid Career
Evaluation of Educational Programs
Social Statistics
Methods of Qualitative Research
Analytical Process Option (additional requirements)
Additional Requirements:
Advanced Social Statistics
Community Survey Research
Spatial Analysis for Public Affairs
Methods of Qualitative Research
Must take two of the following:
Collaborative Governance
PUB_AF 7340Regional and Economic Development Policy3
Quantitative Tools for Decision Making and Performance Evaluation
Application of Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research
Required Courses
Advanced Social Statistics
Entering graduate students should already have a basic statistics course. No credit will be received for:
Social Statistics
Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences
Research Methods and Design
Seminar in Sociological Theory I
Additional credit hours18

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Thesis/Non-Thesis Requirements

Non-Thesis Requirements

The Professional Master of Science degree does not require a thesis.  Instead students are required to complete an internship.

Thesis Requirements

Students pursuing the Traditional Master of Science degree must complete a thesis.  The the thesis take approximately 1-3 semesters to complete.

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Admission Contact: Carol Swaim
Department of Rural Sociology
121 Gentry Hall; Columbia, MO 65211

Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the MS in Rural Sociology program and the minimum requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies.  Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process.  Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Office of Graduate Studies and the degree program to which you've applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

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