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Development Sociology is a home for purpose-driven social science.

Since the department's founding in 1915, we have built a lasting legacy pioneering research on the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality across diverse sectors of society, generating knowledge, evidence, and building towards real-world solutions.

We spearhead innovative research and programs on populations, environmental change, and governance. We are renowned globally for our expertise and contributions to the study of demographic transitions, education policy, the politics of food and land use, and agro-ecological approaches among other areas of specialization.

Within the department, we value diverse perspectives, mixed methods, and interdisciplinary approaches. Many of our faculty and students have a range of backgrounds including demography, geography, sociology, and economics; as such, our community of practice is a home for rich exchange of views and ideas.

As a social science department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we also substantially collaborate with biologists, horticulturalists, climatologists, and environmental scientists to understand complex phenomenon that cut across the social and natural worlds; whether the socio-economic consequences of climate-driven environmental change, or the types of community practices that might improve agricultural yields for subsistence farmers. It's a unique and unparalleled position that helps fuel dynamic and leading research.

To access faculty research interests and pages, please visit the Faculty and Research Associates page.

Department Research Hubs

The Polson Institute for Global Development

The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development was established in 2001 as a research and outreach institute within the Department of Development Sociology of Cornell University. The Polson Institute for Global Development promotes theoretical and applied research activities related to global development. Learn more

The Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI)cardi logo

CaRDI is a group of research and outreach faculty and professionals working in critical areas of community development. A federation of programs including LEAD-NY, the Cornell Farmworker Program, the Rural Schools Association, and Rust 2 Green partner with other CaRDI faculty working in areas such as land use, regional economic development, community and energy, and demographics.