About the Department

The Department of Sociology is a Ph.D. granting research department with explicitly defined missions of research, instruction, and service. The Department resides within the College of Arts and Sciences, although its members also carry out research and service through the Mississippi Food Insecurity Project, the Social Science Research Center, Nsparc, Southern Rural Development Center, Crime and Justice Research Unit, as well as other research entities. The Department offers a B.A. degree in sociology, a B.A. in criminology, and a BSW in social work. M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs are offered in sociology. In addition to more than 400 undergraduate majors in all programs, the department has more than 50 enrolled graduate students.

The Department has developed longstanding emphases in rural sociology, community development, criminology, social demography, and social inequality. The Department is one of the larger concentrations of sociological expertise in the Southern region as evidenced in the number of graduate faculty, the enrollment of graduate students, the placement and success of doctoral graduates, the number and frequency of publications, the level of funding for grants and contracts, the facilities, and other infrastructure for sociological research and education. We have a concentration of research expertise and programmatic activities focused on Mississippi and the Deep South broadly. 

The National Science Foundation ranks MSU 17th in the nation for research expenditures in the social sciences.  We are the top ranked school in the Southeastern Conference for social science research.  


From the Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University! Our award-winning faculty do research and teach courses with an emphasis on inequality. Specifically, our faculty examine issues related to race and racism, gender and sexualities, age, health disparities, the criminal justice system, poverty and wealth, and rural communities. Our faculty publish top notch research articles and acclaimed books, work on federally funded grants, and share their expertise with the general public through newspaper op-eds, media engagements, and public talks. Our dynamic department also houses three undergraduate degrees (criminology, social work, and sociology), and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Sociology. With nearly 400 undergraduate majors in the department, we attract students because of the skill set we provide them. Whether students head to the workforce, to graduate school, or law school, our faculty provide students with research and critical thinking skills, as well as an understanding of inequality, preparing them to work in professions like social work, law enforcement, government, education, and other community agencies. Our 60-year-old graduate program is one of the oldest programs in the South. Our graduate students receive individual faculty mentorship, work collaboratively on research projects, and learn how to teach their own classes. These graduates go on to work as professors at universities, in research centers, as community leaders, or in other applied settings where they work to improve the lives of others. We are committed to inclusion, equity, and diversity, evident through the research we do, the courses we offer our students, the kinds of programming we offer, and our collaborative affiliations with African American Studies, Gender Studies, and Safe Zone.  Thank you for stopping by to check out our webpage! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Rader Signature

Dr. Nicole Rader
Professor and Head


Mission Statement

The mission of the Mississippi State University Department of Sociology is to integrate our research, service and teaching into a holistic educational experience, as suited to the land-grant mission of a research-intensive university. We provide a high quality undergraduate education to students majoring in criminology, social work, and sociology within the liberal arts education mission of the College of Arts & Sciences. Our graduate programs train sociology students at the master’s and doctoral levels, integrating students into academic research. We foster an intellectual environment for professional growth and development that prepares students to be critical thinkers with strong communication skills for use in the global environment, preparing them for careers and/or graduate studies