This interdisciplinary degree equips students with the skills necessary to create positive change in the health, social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of rural communities. The program focuses on the importance of applying critical thinking skills, cultural understanding, and social responsibility to create change while providing numerous hands-on learning opportunities and internships. Graduates go on to work in a variety of fields including counseling and therapy, social work, community planning, public service, and family and child development.
School of Arts & Sciences
ABAC believes in investing in rural communities and the Department of Rural Studies drives that involvement and commitment. We offer a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Rural Community Development. This Bachelor’s degree offers two tracks, one on Social and Community Development and the other on Community Health.
The Major in Rural Community Development is an interdisciplinary degree with a focus on equipping students with the skills and abilities necessary to create positive social, economic, political, and cultural impacts in rural communities. Students will develop skills and knowledge in cultural understanding and social responsibility backed with an emphasis on critical thinking skills to best develop effective strategies for building up rural communities. These learned principals are further emphasized through hands-on learning in the community and internships. Graduates of the Rural Community Development degree go on to enjoy success in a variety of career paths including community planning, non-profit work, and governmental agencies, and are well prepared for a variety of graduate study options from psychology and sociology to human services.
The Community Health track of the Rural Community Development major prepares individuals for roles as health and wellness professionals in private business, industry, community organizations, and health care settings. This track prepares graduates to serve a critical need in the newly emerging health-related fields demanded by the evolving healthcare system in rural areas. The program is designed for students who are interested in working in the healthcare industry, but not in delivering direct patient care as clinical practitioners.
Social and Community Development
This interdisciplinary track focuses on equipping students with the skills and abilities to create positive change in the social, economic, political, and cultural aspects of rural communities. The program emphasizes critical thinking skills, cultural understanding, and social responsibility and provides opportunities for hands-on learning and internships. Students are prepared to pursue a variety of career paths in community planning, non-profits, public administration, governmental agencies, chambers of commerce, and agencies serving individuals and families or for graduate study in psychology, sociology, and human services among others.