Concentration in Rural Studies

The area of rural studies takes prominence given the geographic placement of the University at the edge of the high plains. Students should expect to learn more about population patterns, geographic constraints, and the historic and current importance of agriculture to the residents. In addition, students will learn skills related to policy analysis, advocacy, and rural civic investment.

Select 21 credit hours from the following list of courses:

  • AGRI 321 Agricultural Law & Policy (3 Credit Hours)
    An examination of laws, regulations, and case decisions that are of significance to the agricultural production, business, and food industries. Domestic agriculture and food policy will be discussed. General topics in contract, tort, and real estate law will be presented, as will specialized topics in business planning, water law, food regulation, environmental protection, animal and fence law, agricultural employment, and estate/succession planning.
  • AGRI 325 American Agricultural History (3 Credit Hours)
    A course on the development of American agriculture from Native Americans to early colonial settlement through present times. Topics include social, economic and political developments and technological advances in US agriculture.
  • GSCI 105 Cultural Geography (3 Credit Hours)
    A survey of traditional and popular culture structured around five themes: cultural region, cultural diffusion, cultural ecology, cultural integration, and cultural landscape.
  • HIST 364 American Environmental History (3 Credit Hours)
    History of the United States through its interactions with nature, from the colonial era to the present. In addition to examining the history of resource use, this course examines how the environment functions as a critical tool in defining cultural, political, and gender relationships among Americans.
  • LDRS 640 Principles of Civic Leadership (3 Credit Hours)
    This course is designed to provide the student with a deeper understanding of the major components and principles of civic leadership. Classroom activities examine the leadership process in the context of community and society. This approach encourages ordinary citizens to take responsibility, organize, and build coalitions for the purpose of effecting social change.
  • POLS 611 Policy Analysis (3 Credit Hours)
    A study of the governmental policy-making process, its formulation, implementation, and evaluation.
  • SOC 436 Demography (3 Credit Hours)
    Examination of national and international population trends (sex ratios, composition, migration, fertility, and mortality) and their singular and interactive impact on societies, their social institutions, and their policy-making strategies and processes.
  • SOC 475 Rural and Urban Sociology (3 Credit Hours)
    An examination of urban and rural life. Topics will include the development of the scientific study of urban and rural society; the historical development of cities; social, material, demographic and ecological forces in urban and rural areas; social problems and social change in the urban and rural landscapes.
  • SOC 679 Community Theory and Development (3 Credit Hours)
    This course provides a dynamic exploration of the sociological concept of community. Students will examine the study of human relationship patterns, human ecology, and social networks. In addition, formal and informal social interaction and social capital will be explored. This course actively engages students in theoretical activity and puts knowledge to work through class assignments and activities.
    Prerequisite: SOC 140
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