About Us

We’ve been an integral part of NC State from its very start. The first sociology courses were offered here in 1920. By 1923, our areas of study were established as the Department of Rural Sociology and History. We were the first department at NC State to award a doctoral degree, in  1926. By 1928, the first woman earned a master’s degree in rural sociology. We were renamed the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1953. And since our first students graduated in 1926, we have awarded thousands of undergraduate degrees and nearly 500 graduate degrees in sociology alone. 


The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is housed in the historic 1911 Building.

World-Leading Faculty

Meet Sarah Bowen

Tequila, Mezcal and Social Science: a Q&A

Sarah Bowen knows a lot about tequila and mezcal. Her new book explores the complex web of relationships involved in transforming agave plants grown in Mexico into high-end spirits and cocktails consumed around the world. 

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Our faculty are distinguished leaders in their fields. Here are just a few  examples:

  • Sociologist Sarah Bowen is a world expert on the impact that tequila production has on local farmers, national economies and the entire industry.
  • In addition to running an ethnographic field school in Guatemala, anthropologist Tim Wallace has worked across disciplines to create a tech-based social venture to support micro-tourism.
  • Sociologist Steve McDonald, who studies social capital and inequality, is called upon for his expertise in understanding what affects the job market, and job prospects for different sectors of the population.
  • Sociologist Martha Crowley knows which are the most caring cities in the United States -- and why.
  • Toby Parcel has written the book – literally – on diversity, neighborhoods, and the politics of public school assignments. 

Top-Notch Students

Our students take on challenges inside the classroom, across the city and state and around the world. They examine the stressors that impact families, communities and cultures. They participate in archaeological digs in Jordan, on Fiji or in Thailand. Some study the effects of tourism in Guatemala; others, the effects of climate change as evidenced in West Virginia. And still more use the Park Shops lab on campus to find new meanings in ancient shards and artifacts. Our students work alongside faculty to research how the racial composition of job markets affect the availability of job leads for workers, and whether those with mental illness are more likely to commit violent crimes. Our students, in short, are curious, determined and focused. 

Alumni Who Change the World

We could not be more proud of our outstanding alumni, including Sandra Harding, who runs Australia's James Cook University. She's also leading a global partnership that's examining climate change. We’re equally proud of Bill Allen, who followed his passions and ran off to join the circus: Allen directs and produces Cirque de la Symphonie. You’re researchers, leaders, authors, business owners, entrepreneurs and more. You change – and improve – the world.