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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

About Us

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The Sociology and Corrections Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato examines the social forces that shape our individual and collective social experiences through undergraduate and graduate degree programs and courses. We are a diverse department of faculty with a wide range of research interests. Sociology and Corrections prepares students for careers in human services, non-profit leadership, applied sociology, corrections and criminal justice, among many other possibilities.

Curriculum and Research

Our department is comprised of two major programs: Sociology and Corrections, with additional offerings in Non-Profit Leadership and Aging Studies. Our Sociology curriculum draws from such areas as social psychology and interactionism, gender, popular culture, family studies, aging, globalization and sociological theory. Our Corrections program offers coursework on penology, law and society, women in the criminal justice system and correctional counseling. Our programs aim to provide students with a solid theoretical background in their course of study as well as hands-on opportunities for engaging in social research and training through internships, applied sociology, JOLT, and counseling certification.


Notable and Unique Department Features


  • JOLT (Joint Opportunities to Learn and Thrive) Course (CORR 250 and 255): Created by Dr. Barbara Carson, JOLT is a unique two semester course designed at MSU-Mankato for Corrections students who receive training and then become mentors to juveniles on probation in either Blue Earth or Brown County. Students also work in one the probation offices each week, to increase their understanding of the work of a probation officer.
  • Applied Sociology Degree: The MSU-Mankato Sociology Department offers a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology, which focuses on the practical implication of sociological theory and methodology to real world situations. Students work in teams to address needs and issues of community partners, delivering reports and data that are critical in addressing the needs within our community.
  • Identity work in Women’s Re-Entry Experiences Course (SOC 420): Lead and created by Dr. Vicki Hunter and Dean Kimberly Greer, students within this course explore social theory and research surrounding inmates, their release from detention, and subsequent re-integration into society. Taught at women’s prisons nearby in Minnesota (including Shakopee and Waseca) this course integrates Minnesota State Mankato students with students drawn from the educational program located within the prison.
  • Masters Degree in Sociology with emphasis on College Teaching: MSU Mankato is one of the few institutions in the country that emphasizes skills for teaching at the college level. Students do pedagogical coursework and team teach under the supervision of Graduate Teaching Coordinator Dr. Sarah Epplen within Introduction to Sociology undergraduate courses. Students who complete teaching coursework are eligible for Department Teaching Fellowships.
  • Graduate Teaching Fellowships: Graduate student candidates for the Masters Degree in Sociology with emphasis on College Teaching are eligible to apply for Teaching Fellowships after completing their pedagogical coursework. Fellowships are competitive and students selected are given the opportunity to teach their own section of an Introductory level Sociology course.
  • Social Justice Lecture Series: Our department sponsors the annual Social Justice Lecture Series, led by Dr. Carol Glasser, which brings films, guest speakers, and other events to Mankato that surround issues of social inequality, social change, and social activism.