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

May 17, 2022

Advancing global food security education one classroom at a time

Penn State students were among those selected for an immersive teaching experience offered through a partnership among Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Idaho, and the World Food Prize Foundation, funded by a $280,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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April 28, 2022

Community, Environment and Development Club helps break world record

As part of a nationwide Earth Day celebration, members of the Community, Environment and Development Club in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences helped break a Guinness World Record on NBC’s “Today” show.

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April 25, 2022

SAFES seed funding boosts agricultural research data capabilities

Four research teams in the College of Agricultural Sciences have tapped in to the computing and software engineering expertise at the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences' Research Innovations with Scientists and Engineers (RISE) team. Agricultural Sciences faculty are invited to apply for the 2022 SAFES-RISE Seed Grant Program; applications are due May 10.

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April 25, 2022

Penn State researchers support social science through COSSA Advocacy Day

Five Penn State researchers recently participated in Social Science Advocacy Day, held virtually by the Consortium of Social Science Associations, to discuss the value of the social and behavioral sciences to issues of importance to policymakers.

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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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