Consumer Studies

Faculty | MSc | Courses

Chair - Marjorie J. Wall (205 Family and Consumer Studies, Ext. 6129/6126) (E-mail:
Graduate co-ordinator - William Frisbee (302 HAFA, Ext. 3013)
Graduate secretary - Fran Keen (205 FACS, Ext. 8760)
Department fax (519) 823-1964
Web Site

John W. Auld BA Brock, MA Guelph - Associate Professor
Karen A. Finlay BA Western Ontario, MBA, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
William R. Frisbee BA, MS Union College, PhD Cornell - Associate Professor
Thomas F. Funk BS, MS, PhD Purdue - Professor
Vinay Kanetkar BArch Indian Inst. of Tech, MArch, MSc, PhD British Columbia - Associate Professor
John P. Liefeld BComm Saskatchewan, MBA, DBA Oregon - Professor
Jane Londerville MBA Harvard - Lecturer
John L. Pratschke BComm, MEconSc, PhD N.U.I. - Professor
Marjorie J. Wall BHSc, MSc Guelph, PhD Ohio State - Professor
Anne Wilcock BASc Guelph, MSc, PhD Purdue - Associate Professor
Lianxi Zhou BEng, MSc Tianjin (China), PhD Concordia - Assistant Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
Robert R. Kerton BComm, MA, PhD Duke - Professor, University of Waterloo
Richard E. Vosburgh BS Miami, MBA, DBA Indiana - Professor Emeritus
Trevor A. Watts BSc, MSc Manitoba, PhD McGill - Professor Emeritus

Special Graduate Faculty
May Aung PhD York - Lecturer

Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Consumer Studies share a focus on the multi-disciplinary examination of consumer behaviour and marketplace phenomena. Central to the department's research and graduate teaching program is the application of consumer behaviour and marketplace knowledge to marketing, housing and real estate management, quality management, and policy issues of concern to a wide variety of private and public sector organizations. The department's graduate program leads to the master of science degree in consumer studies.

   The MSc program draws on a variety of disciplines for theory, concepts, and research methods. Students are required to successfully complete the departmental core of three courses, a minimum of three additional graduate courses, and two graduate seminar courses. The three additional courses are selected by the student in conjunction with his/her advisory committee and are normally chosen to provide theoretical, conceptual, or methodological background for the thesis.
   A significant number of graduate students in consumer studies direct their course work and thesis research toward applications related to marketing within private and public sector organizations. This particular focus is especially appropriate for students with undergraduate preparation in business administration, commerce, economics, or marketing who have career interests in research and analysis in marketing management. Students with a marketing orientation to their research typically organize their theses by subject matter content (e.g., consumer behaviour, advertising, distribution, the management of marketing) and/or by industry (e.g., food, textiles & clothing, housing & real estate development, various services).
   Other students, through course selection and thesis research, direct their academic efforts toward consumer research, quality assurance, applications of consumer economics, and private/public sector policy analysis related to housing and other sectors of the economy. Students pursuing graduate study in these areas come from a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds in the social sciences, business, and home economics. As a consequence, each student's program of graduate study (beyond the department core) is unique and often requires a course load that differs from those of other students.

Departmental Core    The departmental core is required of all graduate students in the Department of Consumer Studies. It contains a minimum of 3.0 credits, and consists of:
2606000 Consumption Behaviour Theory
2606370 Consumer Economics
2606050 Research in Consumer Studies
2606950 Consumer Studies Seminar
Three additional graduate courses**
*Taken during each semester of full-time graduate study
** Chosen by the graduate student with the approval of his/her advisory committee

Admission Requirements
   Admission information and application forms should be requested directly from the graduate secretary in the Department of Consumer Studies. Offers of admission are granted on a competitive basis and, in part, on the ability of graduate faculty to supervise the student's intended research. Potential applicants are urged to visit the department to discuss their research objectives with graduate faculty prior to applying. Visits should be arranged directly with members of graduate faculty (see Department of Consumer Studies web site for graduate faculty phone numbers and e-mail addresses).
   All applicants are strongly urged to have successfully completed a minimum of one course in statistics as well as intermediate microeconomics as part of their undergraduate program. Applicants are also encouraged to have completed courses in areas such as marketing, consumer behaviour, consumer/business policy, consumer/business law, and related subjects. Students may be admitted to the graduate program despite deficiencies in certain academic areas. Students admitted with deficiencies will likely be required to address academic weaknesses by enrolling in one or more undergraduate courses at the University of Guelph. Undergraduate courses do not count toward fulfillment of master of science graduation requirements.
   All applicants are required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. No admission decision will be made prior to receipt of GRE or GMAT scores. The deadline to apply for September admission to the master of science program is February 1. The Department of Consumer Studies admits students to the graduate program only in September.

Degree Requirements
   The program normally consists of at least 3.0 graduate course credits and a successfully defended thesis. Additional course credits may be required by the student's advisory committee depending upon the student's background preparation for his/her intended area of study and thesis research.

For courses without a semester designation the student should consult the graduate co-ordinator.

2606000 Consumption Behaviour Theory (0.5) F
A review of the nature and scope of consumption behaviour and the approaches to studying the role of human consumption using the major theoretical perspectives.
2606010 Product Development and Management Systems (0.5)
The development of organizational technology and innovation strategy; product/market-strategy formulation; issues associated with product development, product management and consumer affairs.
2606020 Marketing Strategy & Decision Support Systems (0.5)
The application of knowledge about consumer behaviour, markets, research, problem-solving approaches, and concepts and principles of marketing to the analysis of marketing situations and problems, and the formulation of marketing strategy and policy. Includes the use of marketing-decision support systems, simulations and models for strategy formulation and decision making for product development, test marketing, and marketing-mix decisions.
2606050 Research in Consumer Studies (0.5) F
A comprehensive review of measurement theory, including issues such as construct definition, scale development, validity and reliability. Applicants of measurement principles will be demonstrated, particularly as they relate to experimental and survey research design.
2606060 Multivariate Research Methods (0.5) W
A review of selected multivariate analysis techniques as applied to marketing and consumer research. Topics include regression, anova, principal components, factor and discriminant analysis, nonmetric scaling and trade-off analysis. The course uses a hands-on approach with small sample databases available for required computer-program analysis.
2606080 Qualitative Methods for Consumer Research (0.5) W
A review of the nature, importance and validity issues associated with qualitative research. Topics include theory and tactics in design, interpersonal dynamics, analysis of interaction and transcripts.
2606090 Special Topics in Consumer Research and Analysis (0.5)
2606120 Marketing Management (0.5) F
A study of marketing decision-making with emphasis on the formulation of strategic marketing plans.
2606150 Quality Assurance Management (0.5) W
Examination and review of principles and concept of quality assurance and their application to consumer products and services. Topics include applied aspects of total-quality management principles.
2606260 Special Topics in Food Marketing (0.5)
2606300 Special Topics in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (0.5)
2606310 Retail Systems and Strategy (0.25)
The analysis and evaluation of evolving retailing systems. Topics include retail structure and strategy, environmental change and retail adaptation, location analysis and operation management.
2606320 Promotion Management (0.25)
A review of the concepts, principles and theory of promotion and promotion management. Topics include the structure of the promotion and advertising industry, consumer decision-making, information processing, response to promotion, copy development, media selection, and evaluation.
2606350 Consumer, Business and Government Relations (0.5)
The development of an original and critical perspective to major issue development and macro-level-policy formation processes concerned with business and government interfaces, business and consumer interfaces, and Canadian and international product/service standards, which provide structure for issue management and policy development.
2606370 Consumer Economics (0.5)
An applied economics course focusing on aggregate consumption at the domestic/international level; financial and time allocation at the individual/household level; theoretical, mathematical and econometric analysis of consumption; applications to contemporary consumption issues and problems.
2606700 Special Topics in Textiles (0.5)
2606710 Special Topics in Fashion and Distribution (0.5)
2606900 Research Project (0.5)
See graduate co-ordinator.
2606950 Consumer Studies Seminar (0.0) F, W