UA 5.9




3.0 linear feet (3 records center boxes)


The Department of Sociology and Rural Studies' mission is to strengthen and deliver high quality programs in teaching, research, service, and extension, contributing to the quality of life and sustainable development locally, the state, region, nation, and world. The collection is composed of publications generated by the Rural Sociology Department, including reports, pamphlets, and surveys.

Historical Note

Sociology was established as a formal department at South Dakota State University in 1925. Courses were taught in sociology before that time in the history and political science departments. The first course with a particular rural focus was taught in 1913-14.

The development of rural sociology as a department occurred primarily because of the Purnell Act of 1925. This act provided funding for research in sociology and economics, and South Dakota State University responded by forming department in those areas. By the 1930's, the department was established enough to be in charge of sociological research with the WPA. From 1933-1942, cooperative between government agencies and the department was common, and this assisted in carving the place rural sociology now holds at South Dakota State University.

The curriculum of South Dakota State University has grown enormously since the one class initially taught. Students may now receive a BA or a BS in sociology in one of six options: general sociology, teaching, social work, human services, criminal justice, or personnel service. Since 1932, the department has offered an MS in rural sociology. In 1961, a social science Ph.D. program began. In this unique program, students could select from a combination of courses in history, political science, psychology, economics and sociology and receive a Ph.D. After three years, the joint program was dropped and the Ph.D. became available only in sociology.

The Department of Sociology and Rural Studies continues to hold its own in the College of Agriculture and Biological Science. The courses offered by the department have been organized with three definite objectives in mind: 1) a sequence for those who may wish to earn an undergraduate major or minor in sociology; 2) basic service courses that will be of interest and practical help to students in any college; and 3) courses to fulfill requirements of a Master's degree or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology.

Content Notes

This collection is composed of records generated by the department, including enrollment records, correspondence, course schedules, exit exams, graduate records, publications, reports, pamphlets, and surveys.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.