To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed under the Advising and Careers tab.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

C&E SOC/​SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology4
C&E SOC/​SOC  475 Classical Sociological Theory3
C&E SOC/​SOC  357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry3-4
C&E SOC/​SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I 14
Electives within the Major 215
Select 6-9 credits from the Community course set 3
Select 6-9 credits from the Environment course set 3
C&E SOC 500 Capstone Experience3
Total Credits32-33

Elective Courses within the Major

Community Course Set

C&E SOC/​SOC  210 Survey of Sociology3-4
C&E SOC/​SOC  211 The Sociological Enterprise3
C&E SOC/​GEN&WS/​SOC  215 Gender and Work in Rural America3
C&E SOC/​SOC  245 Technology and Society3
C&E SOC/​SOC  341 Labor in Global Food Systems3
C&E SOC/​SOC  365 Data Management for Social Science Research3-4
C&E SOC 375 Special Topics1-4
C&E SOC/​POP HLTH/​SOC  380 Contemporary Population Problems for Honors3
C&E SOC/​CURRIC/​ENVIR ST  405 Education for Sustainable Communities3
C&E SOC/​SOC  532 Health Care Issues for Individuals, Families and Society3
C&E SOC/​SOC  533 Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities3
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​SOC  540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
C&E SOC/​AGRONOMY/​MED HIST/​PHILOS  565 The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology3
C&E SOC/​SOC  573 Community Organization and Change3
C&E SOC/​AMER IND/​SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
C&E SOC/​SOC/​URB R PL  617 Community Development3
C&E SOC/​SOC  623 Gender, Society, and Politics3
C&E SOC/​SOC  630 Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World3
C&E SOC/​SOC/​URB R PL  645 Modern American Communities3
C&E SOC/​SOC  652 Sociology of Economic Institutions3
C&E SOC/​SOC  655 Microfoundations of Economic Sociology3
C&E SOC/​SOC  676 Applied Demography: Planning and Policy3
C&E SOC/​SOC  693 Practicum in Analysis and Research3

Environment Course Set

C&E SOC/​AGROECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  103 Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture3
C&E SOC/​SOC  222 Food, Culture, and Society3
C&E SOC/​HIST SCI  230 Agriculture and Social Change in Western History3
C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL/​SOC  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
C&E SOC/​A A E/​SOC  340 Issues in Food Systems3-4
C&E SOC 375 Special Topics1-4
C&E SOC/​CURRIC/​ENVIR ST  405 Education for Sustainable Communities3
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  434 People, Wildlife and Landscapes3
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​SOC  540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
C&E SOC/​SOC  541 Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice3
C&E SOC/​AGRONOMY/​MED HIST/​PHILOS  565 The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology3
C&E SOC/​SOC  650 Sociology of Agriculture3
C&E SOC/​SOC  693 Practicum in Analysis and Research3

Credit Requirement

Must complete a total of 30 credits of C&E SOC courses. Students may count up to 4 credits of Independent Study (C&E SOC 299 Independent Study, C&E SOC 699 Special Problems), Internship (C&E SOC 399 Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education),  or Thesis (C&E SOC 681 Senior Honors Thesis/C&E SOC 682 Senior Honors Thesis/C&E SOC 691 Senior Thesis/C&E SOC 692 Senior Thesis) here, with permission of their advisor.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Understand how social science arguments are constructed and evaluated.
  2. Develop ability to assess data quality and understand whether particular data is appropriate to answer specific questions.
  3. Learn general theories on basic social processes, especially those related to the relationships between society and the environment and the social organization of communities.
  4. Learn communication skills in the social sciences.

Four-year plan

Sample Community AND Environmental Sociology Four-Year Plan

COMM A or COMM B Course2-3COMM A or COMM B Course2-3
C&E SOC/​SOC  1404CHEM 103, 108, or 1094-5
First Year Seminar1C&E SOC Elective23
Electives18Electives (to reach ~15 credits)4-6
 15-16 13-17
Total Credits 28-33
C&E SOC/​SOC  3573C&E SOC/​SOC  3604
C&E SOC Elective23C&E SOC Elective23
Ethnic Studies3Biological Science Course2
Electives6Humanities Elective3
 Additional Electives3
 15 15
Total Credits 30
C&E SOC/​SOC  4753C&E SOC Elective23
C&E SOC Elective23International Studies3
Biological Science3Additional Science Course3
Additional Electives6Electives6
 15 15
Total Credits 30
C&E SOC 5003 3Humanities3
 15 15
Total Credits 30

Students have access to two advisors once they declare the major. Megan Banaszak advises students on the technical aspects of the major. She helps students plan their class schedule, makes sure they're on schedule to graduate, and discuss general questions about the major. Students will also be assigned a faculty mentor. Faculty mentors can help students find internship opportunities and discuss career aspirations. Prospective students are welcome to contact Megan Banaszak ( or Professor Randy Stoecker ( for more information.

Community and Environmental Sociology graduates may be employed in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that focus on a number of issues surrounding community development, environment, and advocacy, governmental planning or social service agencies, agricultural or environmental organizations, and public health. A major in Community and Environmental Sociology also provides excellent preparation for graduate school and careers in international development, law, public policy and nursing, and further academic work in sociology and other social sciences. In addition, recent graduates have been employed by state and local governments and not-for-profit environmental organizations. Many have gone on to serve communities through Peace Corps, Teach for America, and AmeriCorps, and some have established their own business in food and health-related industries.


Michael Bell (chair), Katherine Curtis, Nan Enstad, Randy Stoecker

Associate Professors

Samer Alatout, Noah Feinstein, Monica White

Assistant Professors

Josh Garoon, Sarah Rios

emeritus Professors

Jane Collins, Glenn Fuguitt, Jess Gilbert, Gary Green, Tom Heberlein, Daniel Kleinman, Jack Kloppenburg, Gene Summers, Leann Tigges, Paul Voss

The program excels in offering our majors high-impact experiences that characterize the Wisconsin Experience, from rich capstone courses to varied internships and study abroad experiences.  

  • Many of our students spend a summer or a semester studying abroad. Some students attend universities in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, while other students participate in a variety of alternative learning experiences. Study abroad programs offer the opportunity to earn credits toward your degree while learning about new cultures, communities, and environments.
  • Students also gain experiences outside of the classroom through internships and community-based service learning courses, including certain sections of our capstone course.
  • The variety of internships undertaken by our majors is vast but all offer students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to "real world" settings. A list of some of the internship opportunities is provided on our website.  
  • Our majors have opportunities to enhance their research skills by working on a faculty member's research or undertaking a senior thesis project.
  • The department offers scholarships for students to conduct research, and to present their results at conferences. Information about scholarships available to undergrads is on the Scholarships page on our website.