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Agricultural Economics And Business

MSc Program
PhD Program
Interdepartmental Programs


Acting Chair

Glenn Fox (312 MacLachlan, Ext. 2768/3625)

Graduate co-ordinator
Alfons J. Weersink (225 MacLachlan, Ext. 2766)
(E-mail: aweersin@uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Kathryn Selves (226 MacLachlan, Ext. 2771)
(E-mail: kselves@agec.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate Faculty
M. Rick Bates
BA Guelph, MBA York, CA - Associate Professor

Francesco Braga
DOTT. AGR. Catholic Univ. Milan, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor

George L. Brinkman
BS, MSc Washington State, PhD Michigan State - Professor

John A.L. Cranfield
BSc, MSc Guelph, PhD Purdue - Assistant Professor

F. Harry Cummings
BA Western Ontario, MA, PhD Clark - Associate Professor

E. Currie
B.A., MBA McMaster - Assistant Professor

Glenn C. Fox
BSc (Agr), MSc Guelph, PhD Minnesota - Professor

Thomas F. Funk
BS, MS, PhD Purdue - Professor

Spencer Henson
BSc, PhD Reading - Associate Professor

Karen Huff
BA Queens, M.Sc. Guelph, PhD Purdue University - Assistant Professor

Karl D. Meilke
BS Washington State, PhD Minnesota - Professor

Wayne C. Pfeiffer
BS, PhD Nebraska - Associate Professor

Kim S. Rollins
BA Maine (Orono), PhD Wisconsin (Madison) - Associate Professor

Rakhal C. Sarkar
BSc, MSc Bangladesh, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor

David H. Sparling
BSc Queen's, MBA Wilfrid Laurier, PhD McMaster - Assistant Professor

D. Peter Stonehouse
BSc (Agr), MSc Guelph, PhD Manitoba - Associate Professor

Ralph L. Sykes
BA Royal Military College of Canada, MBA York, CA, Assoc. Diploma Guelph - Assistant Professor

Francis Tapon
LICENCE, DES Science Economiques Paris, MBA Columbia, MA, PhD Duke - Professor

Calum G. Turvey
BSc (Agr), MSc Guelph, PhD Purdue - Associate Professor

Erna van Duren
BA Waterloo, MSc, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor

Alfons J. Weersink
BSc Guelph, MSc Montana State, PhD Cornell - Professor

From the School of Hotel and Food Administration:
John Walsh
BA Thames Polytechnic, MBA London, PhD Western Ontario - Associate Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
William M. Braithwaite
BA Western Ontario, MBA McMaster, CA - Professor Emeritus

J. Stephen Clark
BA Guelph, MSc Saskatchewan, PhD North Carolina State - Associate Professor, Dept. of Econ. & Bus. Management, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro, Nova Scotia

John Deen
DVM, MSC, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor, Department of Food Animal & Equine Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Diane P. Dupont
BA Carleton, MA Toronto, PhD British Columbia - Brock University

John Fetrow
BSc MIT, VMD Pennsylvania, MBA Wharton School of Business - Professor, Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Ellen W. Goddard
BSc (Agr), MSc Guelph, PhD LaTrobe - Chair, Agribusiness, University of Melbourne, Australia

Richard Gray
BSA, MSc Saskatchewan, Ph.D. California at Berkeley

A.K. Enamul Haque
BA, MA Chittagong (Bangladesh), MSc, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Alan Ker
BA Waterloo, M.Sc. Guelph, Ph.D. North Carolina State University of Arizona

Larry J. Martin
BS, MS Ohio State, PhD Illinois - Professor

Ken McEwan
BSc, MSc. Guelph - Ridgetown College

Dan McKenney
BSc Texas A&M, MSc Guelph, Ph.D. Australian National University

Elmer L. Menzie
BSA, MSA British Columbia, PhD California (Berkeley) - Retired

Kevin A. Parton
BCom Liverpool, MSc Newcastle, PhD New England (Australia) - Professor, Faculty of Rural Management, University of Sydney-Orange, Australia

Truman P. Phillips
BSc Stanford, PhD Newcastle upon Tyne - Retired

Willem van Vuuren
B Econ, M Econ Amsterdam, PhD California - Retired

Randall Wigle
BA, MA Windsor, PhD Western Ontario - Wilfrid Laurier University

Special Graduate Faculty
Karen M. Huff
BA Queen's, MSc Guelph, PhD Purdue - Assistant Professor

John VanLeeuwen
DVM, BSc Guelph, MSc Costa Rica, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island

     The graduate program in Agricultural Economics and Business offers opportunities for master of science (MSc) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) studies in agricultural economics. The MSc and PhD are research- oriented degrees which require both course work and a thesis.

MSc Program

     The MSc program emphasizes agricultural policy, farm management, agribusiness, internationaleconomics, agricultural marketing, and production economics. There is a special MSc program in Environmental Economics described below.
     The aim of the MSc program is to develop in students a fundamental understanding of economic principles and their application in identifying and solving relevant problems in agriculture and related fields. The program also strives to develop appropriate analytical, methodological, and communication skills to enable students to analyze agriculture and resource problems effectively and explain their findings.

Admission Requirements
     The minimum requirement is an honours baccalaureate with a minimum B- standing. All students entering the MSc program in agricultural economics will have already taken, or be expected to take at the initiation of the program, the following basic courses:
  1. Intermediate level micro- and macro-economic theory (ECON2310 and 2410, or equivalent).
  2. Calculus and matrix algebra with applications to economics (ECON2770, or equivalent).
  3. Intermediate level statistics (ECON3740, or equivalent).

     These make-up courses do not carry graduate credit and, in some instances, may be supplemented with other undergraduate courses at the discretion of the graduate studies committee.

Degree Requirements
     The MSc program consists of a set of core courses plus other courses of the student's choice in the areas of concentration and supporting fields. Graduate students are expected to select the courses they want to pursue before the beginning of their second semester. In addition to coursework requirements, the student must prepare a thesis on a topic approved by his/her advisory committee. With an appropriate undergraduate background, a student should be able to complete the MSc program with thesis in five or six full-time semesters (18 to 24 months).

     The minimum coursework requirements (assuming all undergraduate background requirements have been met) are:
  1. microeconomic theory (ECON*3710 or ECON*6000) and macroeconomic theory (ECON*4810 or ECON*6020);
  2. one graduate course in quantitative methods selected from AGEC*6360, ECON*6050, or COST*6060;
  3. two graduate courses in agricultural economics;
  4. one additional graduate course; and
  5. a seminar course (AGEC*6800).

     Students interested in emphasizing resource and environmental economics are advised to take the following courses:
  1. microeconomic theory (ECON*3710 or ECON*6000) and macroeconomic theory (ECON*4810 or ECON*6020);
  2. economics of renewable resources (AGEC*6610);
  3. environmental economics (ECON*6800);
  4. cost benefit analysis (AGEC*6320);
  5. public finance (ECON*6400) or advanced resource economics (AGEC*6700);
  6. one graduate course in quantitative methods selected from (AGEC*6360, ECON*6050, ECON*6140); and
  7. a seminar course (AGEC*6800).

PhD Program

     The PhD program in agricultural economics provides four major areas of emphasis: production economics, agricultural marketing, natural resource and environmental economics, and agricultural policy and trade. Students in the PhD program must choose two major areas of specialization from those listed above plus take a major area of specialization in economic theory and two courses in quantitative methods as the core of their course program. All students must complete a thesis in an appropriate area of specialization. Students also will be required to enrol in a seminar course to present a seminar, normally on their thesis research, by the second semester following the completion of qualifying exams.

Admission Requirements
     Students entering the PhD program are expected to have satisfied the requirements, or their equivalents, of the department's MSc degree in agricultural economics (or will be required to make-up any deficiencies before admission to the PhD program). In cases where a student's master's degree is not equivalent to that offered by the department, the student will be initially accepted into the MSc program and then apply for transfer to the PhD program sometime during the first three semesters. Applications for transfer must be supported by the agricultural economics graduate studies committee and approved by the Board of Graduate Studies. The student does not have to complete all the requirements of the MSc before transferring to the PhD program, but must achieve high academic standing.

Degree Requirements
     The student is expected to demonstrate competence in three major- fields of study (see below). Three graduate courses or their equivalents in each major field are normally recommended. Although a total of 11 courses in major and minor fields are a recommended minimum, students able to demonstrate a satisfactory level of competence in any of the chosen fields will have the course requirements adjusted accordingly.

Major Fields of Study
  1. Economic Theory
    ECON*6000 Microeconomic Theory I
    ECON*6010 Microeconomic Theory II
    ECON*6020 Macroeconomic Theory I
    ECON*6040 Macroeconomic Theory II
         Students must select two of the following four fields; listed courses are suggested and may be neither necessary nor sufficient for successful completion of comprehensive examinations.
  2. Production Economics
    AGEC*6130 Financial Management
    AGEC*6400 Advanced Topics in Production Economics
    AGEC*6420 Production Economics: Theory With Applications
  3. Agricultural Marketing
    AGEC*6540 Advanced Price Analysis
    AGEC*6570 Advanced Agricultural Marketing Analysis
    and one of:
    ECON*6700 Industrial and Market Organization OR
    AGEC*6250 Futures and Options
  4. Agricultural Policy and Trade
    AGEC*6240 Agricultural Trade Policy
    AGEC*6220 Agricultural Policy
    ECON*6300 International Trade Theory
  5. Resource Economics
    AGEC*6610 Economics of Renewable Resources
    ECON*6800 Environmental Economics
    AGEC*6320 Cost-Benefit Analysis
  6. Labour Economics
    ECON*6600 Labour Economics
    ECON*6610 Topics in Labour Economics
  7. Econometrics
    ECON*6140 Econometrics I
    ECON*6160 Econometrics II
    ECON*6170 Topics in Econometrics

Minor Area - Required Courses
  1. Quantitative
    ECON*6140 Econometrics I
    AGEC*6360 Mathematical Programming
Note: Courses taken in one field area or in the minor area may not be used to satisfy the requirements of a second area. Students are strongly encouraged to take their quantitative requirements early in their program.
     The required courses will prepare the student for the qualifying examinations which will focus on three fields: economic theory, and the two major fields of specialization selected by the student. The first phase of the qualifying exams covers economic theory. This exam would be written at the end of the first year, normally before the end of July. The second phase covers the two major fields of specialization and includes an oral defense of a thesis prospectus; this phase of the exam is normally taken during the sixth semester of the program. Upon satisfactory completion of the qualifying exams the student becomes a candidate for the PhD degree.

Interdepartmental Programs

Business Studies MBA Program
     The Department of Agricultural Economics and Business participates in the MBA program in the field of agribusiness management. Those faculty members whose research and teaching expertise includes aspects of business administration offer core courses for MBA students. Please consult the Business Studies listing for a detailed description of the MBA program.

University School of Rural Planning and Development Shared MSc Program
     Students in the shared program address the general issues of planning and rural development in a North American or international context while maintaining their links with one of the major areas of focus in agricultural economics and business. Students are enrolled in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business and are also admitted to the University School of Rural Planning and Development. The MSc degree granted is in agricultural economics and business and indicates a focus on rural planning and development issues.
     The shared MSc program will be completed with a thesis and a minimum of seven courses or a major paper and a minimum of nine courses. In either case, the student's program includes a required set of three courses from the university school, one course from the Department of Economics, and a research methods course from either the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business or the university school.
     The course requirements are as follows:
ECON*3710, Advanced Microeconomics;
RPD*6240, Planning and Development Theory;
RPD*6280, Rural Planning Methods or
RPD*6030, International Rural Development Planning: Principles and Practices;
RPD*6300, Rural Planning Synthesis, or
RPD*6400, Synthesis: Seminar in Integrated Rural Development Planning;
plus either RPD*6170, Philosophy and Methods in Rural Planning and Development Research, or AGEC*6100, The Methodology of Economics.
     The student may choose from a list of electives to complete the course requirements. The student must include at least three courses in economics or agricultural economics in their program.
     The student's advisory committee will include at least one member from each department. The committee must approve the program of courses and the thesis or major-paper research topic.

International Development Studies Collaborative MA/MSc Program
     The Department of Agricultural Economics and Business participates in the MA/MSc program in Collaborative International Development Studies (CIDS). Professors Cummings, Pfeiffer, Phillips and Rollins are members of the International Development Studies Interdepartmental Group. These faculty members' research and teaching expertise includes aspects of international development studies; they may serve as advisers for MSc students. Please consult the Collaborative International Development Studies listing for a detailed description of the MA/MSc collaborative program including the special additional requirements for each of the participating departments.

MSc (Aquaculture) Interdepartmental Program
     The Department of Agricultural Economics and Business participates in the master of science in aquaculture program. Professors Funk and Pfeiffer are members of the aquaculture interdepartmental group. These faculty members' research and teaching expertise includes aspects of aquaculture; they may serve as advisers for MSc (Aquaculture) students. Please consult the Aquaculture listing for a detailed description of the MSc (Aquaculture) interdepartmental program.

Resource and Environmental Economics PhD Program
     The department shares with the Department of Economics a PhD program in resource and environmental economics. The normal basis for admission to this program is a recognized master's degree in economics or agricultural economics with high academic standing. All students must complete required coursework; pass qualifying examinations in three fields (economic theory, and two of the fields listed above); and submit and defend an acceptable thesis. This program is described in detail under Resource and Environmental Economics.

Rural Studies PhD Program
     The Department of Agricultural Economics and Business participates in the PhD program in rural studies in the field of sustainable rural communities. Those faculty members whose research and teaching expertise includes aspects of rural studies may serve as advisers for PhD students. Please consult the Rural Studies listing for a detailed description of the PhD program.


Course/(Credit Value)TermCourse Description
Production Economics
Economics of Food Safey and Quality (0.5)
W The overall aim of the course is to explore economic aspects of food safety and quality and the ways in which economics can aid understanding of food safety and quality issues. Pre-requisites, ECON*3710 or ECON*6000.
Financial Management (0.5)
F A review of capital and investment theory, and the application of analytical models to determine optimal investment patterns for agribusiness and farm firms.
Mathematical Programming (0.5)
F A study of the algebra, assumptions and economic logic of important optimizing techniques and their application to problems in quantitative economics.
Advanced Topics in Production Economics (0.5)
S The application of economic theory and various contemporary tools of economic analysis in solving production problems in the agricultural sector of the economy.
Production Economics: Theory with Applications (0.5)
F An integrated treatment of the neoclassical theory of the firm including static models, duality, risk-responses of competitive firms and the theory of investment demand. The properties and interpretation of certain functional forms will be discussed. Selected empirical examples are studied to illustrate application to the food and renewable resource sectors.
Case Studies in Farm Management (0.5)
W Identification of problems and opportunities on selected representative farms; use of selected management tools for diagnostic analysis and planning; evaluation of relevant management strategies based on the concept of management as a continuous decision-making process.
Agricultural Marketing
Futures and Options (0.5)
S The theory and application of futures, options and other derivative securities for marketing, risk management, and investment purposes. Emphasis is placed on application of the instruments to real business situations, and on the development and implementation of trading strategies designed to meet the precise needs of specific business clients.
Advanced Price Analysis (0.5)
W The application of microeconomic theory to agricultural commodity modelling, with emphasis on the specification, estimation and interpretation of supply, demand and market equilibrium models.
Advanced Agricultural Marketing Analysis (0.5)
S A study of agricultural and food marketing problems with particular emphasis on the application of economic theory and research methods to selected empirical problems.
Agricultural Policy and Trade
Agricultural Policy (0.5)
W A critical analysis of contemporary issues in the agricultural policy of affluent economies, with emphasis on Canadian policies.
Agricultural Trade Policy (0.5)
F An examination of conceptual and empirical problems, policies, and institutional arrangements in international trade of agricultural products.
Agriculture in Economic Development (0.5)
F The course is concerned with the role of agriculture as a source of food, fibre and employment in developing countries. The interaction between agriculture and other sectors of the economy and other countries is also examined.
Resource and Environmental Economics
Cost Benefit Analysis (0.5)
S A presentation of the theory and methods used in cost benefit analysis. The course will examine selected case studies; and it will include a discussion of both renewable and non-renewable resources.
Economics of Renewable Resources (0.5)
F This course is concerned with the optimal use of renewable resources, i.e., resources that exhibit growth or regeneration over a cycle. Models of dynamic allocation are discussed and the role of government in altering the market allocation is considered.
Regional Economic Models (0.5)
W Theories and research in regional economics stressing regional development, socio-economic accounting, analysis of structure and growth, economic base and multiplier models.
Program Evaluation (0.5)
W An advanced seminar dealing with the theory and practice of program evaluation focusing on public sector programs in agriculture and rural development, international and domestic case studies.
Advanced Resource Economics (0.5)
W Seminar on the literature, current research, and methods of analysis in natural resource economics.
Agribusiness Management
Quantitative Methods for Decision Making (0.5)
F The objective of the course is to provide business students with an understanding and working knowledge of analytical techniques in statistics and mathematical programming used to commonly solve management problems. The emphasis is on the application and interpretation of quantitative methods rather than on the theoretical background.
Information Systems in Agribusiness (0.5)
S A study of the role, the components and the management of information systems in agribusiness organizations. An examination of the role of the Internet in internal and external information exchange is incorporated into the topics covered.
Small Business Taxation (0.5)
F An introduction to the Income Tax Act with special reference to small businesses. Emphasis will be placed on solving tax problems and tax planning.
Marketing Research (0.5)
W A study of marketing research analysis in agribusiness firms, with emphasis on the marketing research function and the application of quantitative problem solving techniques.
Marketing Management (0.5)
F A study of marketing decision-making in agribusiness firms, with emphasis on the formulation of strategic marketing plans.
Business Policy I (0.5)
F Introduction to the principles of business management. Emphasis on the formation of business strategy, policies and alliances. Selected case studies are used to explore policy and implementation, and how decisions about those aspects of business affect a firm's competitiveness.
Business Policy II (0.5)
S Advanced examination of the principles of business management. This is a seminar course focusing on issues of particular importance to the agrifood industry.
Financial Accounting (0.5)
F A study of the use of financial information to facilitate effective decision making in agribusiness firms.
Management Accounting (0.5)
W The emphasis is on the managerial use of accounting information as it relates to decisions on costing, pricing, operational control, etc.; and as it relates to management of working capital, and short and intermediate term liabilities.
Futures and Options (0.5)
W The theory and application of futures, options and other derivative securities for marketing, risk management, and investment purposes. Emphasis is placed on application of the instruments to real business situations, and on the development and implementation of trading strategies designed to meet the precise needs of specific business clients.
Operations Management I (0.5)
F Overview of the management problems involved in planning, operating and controlling the systems used in operations, with emphasis on farm and agribusiness applications.
Operations Management II (0.5)
S This course examines operations management issues of particular importance to the agrifood sector, particularly supply chain management.
Problems in Agricultural Business I (0.5)
   Seminar course with industry speakers, in preparation to AGEC*6760, and leading to a formal business project proposal.
Problems in Agricultural Business II (1.0)
   Management project leading to a referenced technical report on some aspect of agricultural economics or agricultural business. Completion of this course will requirea formal presentation on the project to faculty and students.
The Methodology of Economics (0.5)
W Alternative views on the methodology of economics are reviewed and assessed. The process of problem identification in the development of a research project proposal is investigated.
Readings in Agricultural Economics (0.5)
S, F, W A reading course on selected topics of special interest. May be offered to individual students or to groups of students in any semester.
Seminar in Agricultural Economics (0.0)
S, F, W Students in the MSc and PhD programs must present a department seminar on a topic of the student's choice in agricultural economics. For MSc students the seminar must be presented by the completion of their fourth semester in the program.


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