Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Feb 03, 2023  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Development Sociology

In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .

Course Offerings  

Environmental, demographic, social and economic changes affect individuals, communities, and the global order. At Cornell, Development Sociology students study these and other facets of social change in both domestic and international settings.


Courses offered by the department cover topics such as:

  • sociological theories of development
  • research methods
  • community development
  • sociology of the environment
  • agriculture and the food system
  • population dynamics and linkages with development and the environment
  • technology and social change
  • social movements
  • globalization
  • gender and development
  • class, gender, and ethnic stratification
  • migration and immigration
  • health status and differentials

Development Sociology is home to the Polson Institute for Global Development, which supports faculty and student research initiatives. The department also houses multiple programs that combine applied research and outreach education, including:


A. Basu, R. Bezner Kerr, P. Eloundou-Enyegue, J. Goldstein, S. Giroux, Director of Undergraduate Studies; T. Hirschl, L. Leonard, Chair (240B Warren Hall, (607) 255-3163); F. Makki, P. McMichael, S. Peters, M. Pfeffer, J. W. Sipple, L. B. Williams, W. Wolford, J. Zinda

The Major (B.S.)

Declaring the Major:

The Development Sociology major will be welcoming its final class of first-year students in the Fall of 2021. We will be accepting sophomore transfers through the Spring of 2022 and junior transfers through the Fall of 2022. We encourage students interested in this program to explore the new Global Development major, which is accepting first-year students for Fall of 2022.

No prerequisite courses are necessary before declaring the Development Sociology major.

To declare a major and be assigned a major advisor, students should contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Don Austin (

Requirements for the Major:

In addition to the requirements for the a Major, students must also complete the General Requirements for CALS (see Graduation Requirements for Bachelor of Science ). 

Coursework requirements:

  • 33 required credit hours in the DSOC major (some of which may be selected from the list of course offerings)
  • 9 credit hours in additional DSOC courses, at least one of which has to be at the 3000 level or higher

Majors in development sociology are required to successfully complete eight core courses:

Undergraduate Minors

IMPORTANT NOTE: The minors in Development Sociology are no longer accepting new applicants effective fall 2021. Students admitted to the minors prior to August 2021 may still complete the minors. Students with an interest in integrating the study of sociology and global development into their undergraduate studies and who matriculate August 2021 or after are encouraged to meet with the Global Development Undergraduate coordinator to discuss other curricular and co-curricular options to meet their interests and goals. department offers a choice of two undergraduate minors

Development Sociology - offers students the opportunity to develop basic conceptual and methodological skills needed to examine the changing nature of society and how participation in human groups affects life chances.

Community Food Systems (CFS) - enables undergraduate students across the university to engage with critical contemporary issues relating to food security, food sovereignty, and food justice. In a context of diverse goals and approaches, the CFS Minor focuses on working with community partners to collaboratively understand and develop sustainable community food systems.

More information can be found at

Graduate Studies (M.S./Ph.D or Ph.D.)

Cornell’s Graduate Field of Development Sociology focuses on human well-being and environmental sustainability. We seek solutions for problems related to social and economic change, and engage organizations and people at all levels of society who are working to build community and local/global problem-solving capacity.

Members of the Department and graduate field conduct theoretical and applied research, teaching, and outreach on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of social, cultural, political and economic change.

Specific foci include:

  • community and civic organization and governance
  • agriculture, food and development
  • patterns of migration and other population processes
  • social change and environmental dynamics
  • poverty and social inequality