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.

Sample Plan of Study

Professional Master's Degree
Required Courses12-14
RU_SOC 7325American Community Studies3
RU_SOC 8450Research in Rural Sociology (internship)6-8
RU_SOC 8510Research Methods and Design3
Core Courses (must take three courses)9
RU_SOC 7120Social Statistics3
RU_SOC 7310Society, Agriculture and Natural Resources3
RU_SOC 7335Social Change and Development3
RU_SOC 7370Environmental Sociology3
RU_SOC 7446Community Social Structure3
RU_SOC 8287Seminar on Sustainable Development3
RU_SOC 8435Political Ecology3
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)
RU_SOC 7341Building Communities from the Grassroots3
PUB_AF 8610Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution3
or PUB_AF 8630 Organizational Change in a Community and Global Context
PUB_AF 8630Organizational Change in a Community and Global Context3
Must take two of the following:
Empowering Communities for the Future
Creating Capacity for Dynamic Communities
Advanced Social Statistics
Collaborative Governance
E-Democracy in Theory and Practice
Program Development and Evaluation
Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution
Organizational Change in a Community and Global Context
Seminar in Multivariate Analysis Techniques
Application of Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research
Analytical Process Option (additional requirements)
Must take three of the five:
Advanced Social Statistics
Program Development and Evaluation
Community Survey Research
Spatial Analysis for Public Affairs
Methods of Qualitative Research
Must take two of the following:
Collaborative Governance
Economic Analysis for Public Affairs
Regional and Economic Development Policy
Local Economics Analysis
Mathematical Modeling for Social Scientist
Application of Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research
Traditional Master's Degree
Required Courses
RU_SOC 8130Advanced Social Statistics (or equivalent)3
Entering graduate students should already have a basic statistics course. No credit will be received for:
Social Statistics
Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences
SOCIOL 8100Theoretical Thinking in Sociology (or equivalent)3
or SOCIOL 9187 Seminar in Sociological Theory I
RU_SOC 8510Research Methods and Design (or equivalent)3
Additional credit hours18

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top


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.

Back to Top