About the Department

Welcome to the college’s home for applied social sciences.

We are a small, welcoming community of scholars and friends united by our passion for preparing the next generation of teachers and improving our ability to reach out to communities. The scholarship in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education is related to people, society, and economic systems grounded in theory and methods from the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Faculty and students develop and employ rigorous approaches to discover fundamental and applied principles that advance science in their core disciplines. The department strives to improve the health, prosperity, and welfare of people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. Our core disciplines for teaching and research are:

  • Agricultural and Food Systems — focuses on the interconnections between producers, distributors, regulators, and consumers in a variety of issues related to food choices, markets, pollution, and health
  • Community Development and Engagement — focuses on community resilience through civic engagement, leadership, and entrepreneurship to support sustainable communities and regional economies
  • Environment and Natural Resources — addresses the human impact on fundamental natural assets, such as land, water, and air, and tackling the challenges that growing populations create for economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental sustainability
  • Population Processes in Global Perspective —enhancing scholarship on migration and immigration, health, and material well-being of individuals and households across the world

The department offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, with three thematic areas to guide our scholarship. These three themes utilize the respective strengths of each of the three core disciplines while providing an overall collaborative framework for research, scholarship, teaching, and outreach.

The Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology programs and the departmental main office are located in Armsby Building. The faculty of the Agricultural Extension Education program is in Ferguson Building. Come meet our faculty, staff, and students and discover for yourself why we are happy to call the department our home.

Latest News

April 18, 2024

Project to improve cropping named 2024 Ag Springboard pitch contest winner

Penn State students’ entrepreneurial spirit shone brightly at the 2024 Ag Springboard student business pitch contest, which took place in early April in State College. Taking home this year’s first-place award was the team that created CropNSoil, a platform to support international multicropping. Students Kanika Gupta and Kartikey Pandey, both computer science majors in the College of Engineering, and Samuel DeLozier, an agribusiness management major in the College of Agricultural Sciences, received $7,500 to further their project.

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April 18, 2024

Penn State Climate Consortium awards 11 climate action workshops

Penn State Climate Consortium announced 11 workshops designed to create and implement climate change solutions through its Climate Solutions Accelerator program.

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April 17, 2024

Climate change may affect kinship care patterns in Africa

A new study highlights the effects climate change may have on children and social support systems in Africa, a question that has received relatively little attention from researchers and the policy community.

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April 12, 2024

Webinar to address community engagement, equitable development

Communities are sustainable and equitable when residents play a meaningful role in the deliberations, discussions, decision-making and implementation of projects or programs affecting them, according to Penn State Extension educators, who will host a webinar addressing community engagement, capacity building and equitable development.

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Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education


Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802