Rural Studies

Faculty | PhD | Courses
Director and graduate co-ordinator - Robert D. Brown (136 Johnston, Ext. 6984)(E-mail:

Farokh Afshar - Associate Professor, USRPD

J.I. (Hans) Bakker - Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
George L. Brinkman - Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business
Robert D. Brown - Professor, Landscape Architecture
E. Ann Clark - Associate Professor, Crop Science
Terry A. Crowley - Professor, History
F. Harry Cummings - Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business
David J.A. Douglas - Professor, USRPD
O.P. Dwivedi - Professor, Political Studies
Glen C. Filson - Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies
John G. FitzSimons - Lecturer, USRPD
Anthony M. Fuller - Professor, USRPD
John P. Gibson - Associate Professor, Animal and Poultry Science
Michael Goss - Professor, Land Resource Science, and Chair, Land Stewardship
William D. Graf - Professor, Political Studies
Stewart G. Hilts - Professor, Land Resource Science
Ronald Hinch - Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Sally Humphries - Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Jana D. Janakiram - Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies
Alun E. Joseph - Professor, Geography
Walter H. Kehm - Professor, Landscape Architecture
Peter G. Kevan - Professor, Environmental Biology
David B. Knight - Professor, Geography
Reid D. Kreutzwiser - Professor, Geography
Richard G. Kuhn - Associate Professor, Geography
Allan C. Lauzon - Assistant Professor, Rural Extension Studies
Belinda Leach - Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Julius A. Mage - Associate Professor, Geography
Ray A. McBride - Associate Professor, Land Resource Science
Lynn McDonald - Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Jorge Nef - Professor, Political Studies
Cecelia Paine - Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
Nathan H. Perkins - Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
Wayne C. Pfeiffer - Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business
Richard W. Phidd - Professor, Political Studies
Truman P. Phillips - Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business
Douglas H. Pletsch - Professor, Rural Extension Studies
Donald G. Reid - Professor, USRPD
Don Richardson - Assistant Professor, Rural Extension Studies
Frans J. Schryer - Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
James C.M. Shute - Professor, Rural Extension Studies
Barry Smit - Professor, Geography
John A. Smithers - Assistant Professor, Geography
Clarence J. Swanton - Professor, Crop Science
James R. Taylor - Professor, Landscape Architecture
Vernon G. Thomas - Associate Professor, Zoology
Terisa Turner - Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Mark W. Waldron - Professor, Rural Extension Studies
David Waltner-Toews - Professor, Population Medicine
Alfons J. Weersink - Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business
Anthony R. Winson - Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Nonita T. Yap - Associate Professor, USRPD

Special Graduate Faculty
James Mahone - Special Assistant to the Dean of OAC

Associated Graduate Faculty
Donald J. Blackburn - Retired
Eleanora A. Cebotarev - University Professor Emerita
G. Ab. B. Moore - Retired
Jackie S. Wolfe-Keddie - University Professor Emerita

The PhD in rural studies is shared by the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Business, Geography, Rural Extension Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Landscape Architecture, and the University School of Rural Planning and Development with associated faculty from other units in the university.

   The objective of the rural studies PhD program is to prepare specialists who will take leading roles in dealing with problems and opportunities in rural communities. Graduates will be expected to be highly proficient in some aspects of the many associated with the subject; to be able to integrate their area of emphasis with other aspects of the social, economic and biophysical scope of rural studies; and to be able to participate effectively in team efforts. Graduates will be prepared to carry out their roles through original research, integration of knowledge, teaching and other forms of education, and by providing services to members of the community.
   The program focuses on a single field, sustainable rural communities. Sustainable rural communities are characterized by long-term well-being based on the integration of economic, social and environmental factors in their planning and activities. Four sectors have been designated: environment and sustainability, social structure and processes, human resource development, and sustainable rural economic development. Each represents an area of emphasis, not a specialization or discipline. A number of different disciplines are represented in each sector and in each an interdisciplinary approach is taken. Students will choose one sector for relatively more intensive study.

Admission Requirements
   To be considered for admission, an applicant must have a master's degree (or the equivalent) from a recognized university in a relevant discipline. Master's graduates in a range of humanities, social-science and applied- science disciplines are eligible for consideration for admission. As examples, master's graduates in geography, sociology, planning, environmental science, rural extension studies and international development may be particularly suitable. Applicants who have not completed courses relevant to rural studies or gained experience in rural communities may be required to do so prior to admission or as part of initial phases of the PhD program.
   The program's admission policy is governed by the availability of graduate advisers and other resources and by the need to admit applicants from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The interaction of students with diverse backgrounds will greatly enhance the multidisciplinary approaches in the program. The program also seeks to achieve the significant participation of women and aboriginal people from North America and international students.
   The director of the program receives applications directly from prospective students or through prospective advisers and ensures that application files are complete for review by the admission committee.
   The committee then consults with prospective advisers and recommends applicants for admission to Graduate Program Services.

Degree Requirements
Advisory Committee    Each doctoral student has an advisory committee composed of faculty members from a range of disciplines pertinent to the field, specialization and research topic. Each committee consists of at least four members. It is broadly based with at least two major disciplines represented by its members. The adviser and the advisory committee provide guidance to allow for the student's intellectual growth in the program.
   The advisory committee assesses and approves the thesis-research proposal which is to be prepared by the student by the end of the second year, concurrent with preparation for the qualifying examination. The proposal will be presented as a Research Seminar (8406300) to students and faculty.

Course Requirements    The minimum course and credit requirements for the PhD in rural studies consist of a common 1.75-credit core of two integrative 0.5-credit courses (Sustainable Rural Communities, and Integrative Research Methods), a 0.25-credit research seminar, and one 0.5-credit course chosen from the sector core list. Additional sector core and other courses may be required by the student's advisory committee. Make-up courses may be required prior to admission to the PhD program or early in the program. All courses will normally be completed prior to the qualifying examination. All or most of the courses should be taken in the first year of study. All students participate in the Research Seminar every year they are in the program and make presentations at least annually.
To foster the interdisciplinary nature of the program, courses are normally team taught. Attention is also paid to the sequencing of courses to promote interdisciplinarity. Students may also take selected "modules" or sections in courses to acquire necessary expertise in specific areas.

Qualifying Examination The qualifying examination for the PhD program in rural studies is used to determine the acceptability of the intellectual capability and research potential of students. The examination committee is constituted to represent a range of disciplines pertinent to the field. It evaluates the student's ability to integrate knowledge in the field of sustainable rural communities and the student's particular sector within the field. The qualifying examination has both written and oral components. The written component is based on the common core area of the field and the student's selected sector. The oral examination is devoted to discussion of the written materials and the student's thesis proposal. It evaluates the student's ability to integrate discplinary knowledge within the field and to undertake interdisciplinary research. (The examination committee reviews the student's PhD thesis proposal as a vehicle for discussion of research approaches. This review is not part of the proposal-approval process.) The qualifying examination is to be completed by the end of the second year.

Common Core Courses
8406000 Sustainable Rural Communities (0.5)
Sustainable development theory in the rural communities and environment context.
8406100 Integrative Research Methods (0.5)
Research design and evaluation with a focus on measures of sustainability and on interdisciplinary applications.
8406300 Research Seminar (0.25)
Sector Core Courses
8406400 Biophysical Dimensions of Sustainability (0.5)
The biophysical dimensions of the transition to sustainable rural communities and, in particular, the interaction of rural communities and the environment.
8406420 Social Systems and Institutions (0.5)
The social and cultural processes involved in the national and global transition to sustainable rural communities including settlement systems, rural administration, institutions and organizations.
8406440 Human Resource Development (0.5)
Critical examination of theories, research and application of various HRD methods and strategies, consideration of the HRD needs of individual entrepreneurs, economic enterprises, organizations and institutions in rural communities. Particular attention is paid to the HRD needs of marginalized populations and to aspects of social and environmental sustainability in Canada and abroad.
8406460 Rural Economic Development (0.5)
Rural economies, economics and restructuring, the rural community, the political economy, business development, decision-making and development strategies. Comparative and international policy, planning and change processes.
8406500 Special Topics (0.5)
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