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

November 10, 2022

Penn State’s 'Stories from the Field' series announces 3rd session

Penn State’s “Stories from the Field” conversation series is wrapping up its fall season with a session Nov. 17 featuring Darren Marshall, Southern Queensland Landscapes’ vertebrate pest and wildlife management lead. The session will be via Zoom and is free and open to anyone interested in attending, but registration is required.

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November 10, 2022

College of Ag Sciences student elected secretary of National FFA officer team

Jessica Herr, a first-year student at Penn State, has been elected to the National FFA Organization’s officer team as secretary for 2022-23. Herr, who is majoring in agricultural science with a minor in leadership development in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the other officers were elected in late October during the 95th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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November 8, 2022

Faculty in College of Ag Sciences recognized for research achievements

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lauded outstanding accomplishments in research during the college’s inaugural Research Awards Ceremony, held Oct. 25 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

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November 1, 2022

Backlash to racial justice movements may boost risk of high BMI, obesity

Penn State research found that Black people who lived in areas where anti-Black Lives Matter sentiments were more common were more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) or obesity.

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Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education

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Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802
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