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

October 6, 2021

Penn State alumnus furthers agricultural education abroad despite pandemic

After his plans to serve with the Peace Corps were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Manny Catala pivoted quickly to continue his service to students abroad. Catala, a 2019 graduate of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, will teach in Ghana this year as part of the International Agricultural Education Fellowship Program.

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September 28, 2021

USDA grant supports Penn State research on mushroom industry automation

A nearly $4 million grant awarded to Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will support an interdisciplinary, multi-university team of researchers as they investigate technologies designed to address labor shortages on mushroom farms.

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September 21, 2021

Windon to lead Ukraine Rural and Agricultural Development program at Penn State

Suzanna Windon, assistant professor in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been appointed director of the college’s Ukrainian Rural and Agricultural Development Program.

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September 9, 2021

Study explores link between earthquakes, rainfall and food insecurity in Nepal

The effects of monsoon rainfall on food insecurity in Nepal vary by earthquake exposure, with regions that experienced both heavy earthquake shaking and abundant rainfall more likely to have an inadequate supply of nutritious food, according to a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

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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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