Three students studying at a picnic table

Master of Planning (Course-based)

Advance your career in rural planning and development.

The Master of Planning (MPlan) is offered through our School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) and is designed for individuals with at least two years of experience seeking to add key skills and capacities. The program provides the core competencies required for planning and development and facilitates flexibility to ensure students select options that build on their current skills and knowledge.

 Interdisciplinary study

Explore the challenges and opportunities faced by rural communities to find approaches, solutions, and processes of change for rural communities.

 Complete in 1 year

Explicitly designed for individuals wishing to upgrade their professional training without leaving the work force for an extended period of time, the MPlan can be completed in 3 full-time semesters.

 World-class education

Receive training in planning and development for rural, Indigenous and remote communities, including courses working with communities and professional planners.


 Unique in Canada

University of Guelph has Canada’s only planning program exclusively focused on rural, Indigenous, and remote communities.

 Broaden your resume

Build skills, capacities, and knowledge to facilitate employment opportunities in planning and development fields, both in Canada and internationally.

 Learn from the best

Work and study with leading national and international scholars and practitioners in rural planning and development.


Community planner shows group of students around a rural town in winter

More information on courses and admission requirements can be found here.

Ryan in dark glasses, blue dress shirt and grey suit jacket
Global transitions are creating both opportunities and challenges for the future of rural communities, both in Canada and internationally. My research focuses on rural revitalization in the face of these global transitions. My current research explores the role of rural governance, place-based development, philanthropy, rural policy, community economic development, and rural immigration and mobility.

Dr. Ryan Gibson, Faculty
Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Hear more from Dr. Gibson

Silvia in pearl necklace and red and white floral sweater
Agriculture in less-developed countries cannot achieve its full potential if the gender dynamics of different groups are not addressed. We must move beyond examining individual factors (e.g., biology, socioeconomic status, sex, gender, and race) and consider the relationships and interactions between them and across multiple levels, to bring attention to important differences within population groups that are often portrayed as relatively homogenous.

Dr. Silvia Sarapura, Faculty
Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Hear more from Dr. Sarapura

How to Apply

Application to this program is more like the process of a job application (rather than the process you went through applying for your undergrad degree). 

You apply directly online at Applying to Guelph.

Applicants for admission to this program must meet the admission requirement of a baccalaureate in an honours program (or equivalent) in a relevant field of study from a recognized university or college with a minimal overall average of 70% (B-) in the last four semesters or 16 to 20 credits (typically the last 2 years) of study.

In addition, applicants must meet one (1) of the following two requirements:

  1. obtained 2-3 years of relevant experience. Relevant experience is determined by the admissions committee; or
  2. graduated from a professional program, such as but not limited to, in Planning, Landscape Architecture, Architecture or Engineering.

All applicants are required to demonstrate their specific interest in the program and their work and educational experience relating to rural planning and development.

Applicants will be expected to have completed undergraduate courses that prepare them for participation in the program. Undergraduate upgrading prior to applying may be necessary to ensure sufficient background.

Successful applicants must also meet U of G's English Proficiency requirements for admission. If an applicant’s first language is not English, an English Language Proficiency test will be required.

*You are still eligible to apply if you have an honours degree in an unrelated field of study but have taken courses in related areas and/or gained relevant work experience since completing the degree.

For more information regarding application to the University of Guelph, please refer to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website at Applying to Guelph. 

Once submitted, all applications will be received and reviewed by the MPlan Program Committee and will be evaluated based on:

  • Academic performance in a relevant field of study
    • You are required to provide transcripts from any institution where you have earned (or will earn) a degree, studied for one semester or more, or took courses that relate to your graduate study interests. This includes transfer credits and University exchange/semester abroad transcripts.  Your application checklist on WebAdvisor will identify which transcripts you are required to upload.
  • Minimum B- admission average 
  • Two (2) referee assessments
  • A statement of interest in the program and/or career goals
    • Your statement of research interest (separate from the one requested within the on-line application form) should outline the following and not exceed two-pages:
      • Your motivations for studying in the Rural Planning and Development program. Why do you wish to study Rural Planning and Development?
      • Your area of research that will be pursued through the program? What do you wish to research through your program?
      • How your academic, professional, and voluntary experiences prepare you for success in the Rural Planning and Development program?
      • Your career goals. What are your professional aspirations at the conclusion of this program?
      •  Identify which Rural Planning and Development faculty member(s) you wish to work with in pursuing your research. Please refer to the list of faculty members for information on their expertise and backgrounds.
  • Any work experience in appropriate and related fields
    • Please provide a current resume that gives a profile of your educational achievements, professional experiences, and voluntary experiences.

Please be aware that any material collected towards a graduate application, (for example transcripts, reference letters, etc.) must be dated within the past year.  Any material dated prior to a year from the application date will not be accepted.

Domestic Application Deadlines

  • September start – Apply by May 30
  • January start – Apply by September 30
  • May start – Apply by January 30

International Application Deadlines

  • September start - Apply by January 15
  • January start - Apply by May 15
  • May start - Apply by September 15

More details on the U of G graduate program application process here.

Additional planning options

You may also be interested in the MSc in Rural Planning and Development (Research/Thesis).


For questions on applying and admissions: 

Lorena Barker
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
519-824-4120, Ext. 56780 

For questions on program options:

Leigh West
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)
519-824-4120 Ext. 52101