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School of Rural Extension Studies

MSc Program
Interdepartmental Programs



Doug Pletsch (109 Johnston, Ext. 3408)
(E-mail: dpletsch@uoguelph.ca)

Graduate co-ordinator
Glen Filson (112 Johnston, Ext. 6231)
(E-mail: gfilson@res.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Nancy Orso (122 Johnston, Ext. 6780)

Graduate Faculty
Glen C. Filson
BA, BEd, MEd Saskatchewan, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor

Jana D. Janakiram
BSc Madras, MSc Indian Agricultural Research Institute (New Delhi), PhD Western Australia - Associate Professor

Allan C. Lauzon
BA, MSc Guelph, EdD Toronto - Associate Professor

James P. Mahone
BSc U.S. Coast Guard Academy (Connecticut), PhD Michigan State - Professor

Jorge Nef Lic Chile
PhD California - Professor

Wayne Pfeiffer
BS, PhD Nebraska - Associate Professor

Douglas H. Pletsch
BSA Toronto, MSc, PhD Ohio State - Professor

James C.M. Shute
BA Queen's, MA, PhD Michigan State - Professor

Mark W. Waldron
BSc (Agr) McGill, MSc, PhD Wisconsin - Professor

From the Department of Sociology and Anthropology:
Nora Cebotarev
BSHE West Virginia, MSc, PhD Pennsylvania State - University Professor Emerita

Associated Graduate Faculty
Donald J. Blackburn
BSA Saskatchewan, MSc, PhD Wisconsin - Retired

Janice L.S. Jiggins
BA Bristol, PhD Vidyodaya/Peradeniya - University of Agricultural Services, Sweden

G. Ab B. Moore
BA Western Ontario, BD Victoria, MA, PhD Syracuse - Retired

Donald Richardson
BA, MA Guelph, PhD McMaster - TeleCommons Development Group

Owen Roberts
BA (Communications) Windsor, MSc Guelph - Office of Research, University of Guelph

Niels G. Roling
MSc Wageningen Agricultural, PhD Michigan State - Group Communication & Innovation Studies, Wageningen

John Wibberley
BSc, MSc, PhD Reading - Independent consultant

Special Graduate Faculty
Darlene E. Clover
BA Toronto, MES York, PhD Toronto (OISE) - Adjunct Professor, Women's Studies, University of Toronto, and Evaluator, Cultural Animation Project, Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto

Bala Hyma
BA, MSc Madras, MA Sheffield, PhD Pittsburg - Associate Professor, Georgraphy Department, University of Waterloo

Vasantha T. Kumaran
BA Madras, PhD Mysore - Dept. of Geography, University of Madras

Owen Roberts
BA Windsor, MSc (in progress) Guelph - Director, Research Communications, University of Guelph

     The School of Rural Extension Studies offers programs of study leading to the MSc degree. Faculty strengths and academic resources provide for two areas of concentration - rural extension processes and communication technology .

MSc Program

     The School of Rural Extension Studies offers a professionally oriented program leading to the MSc degree in rural extension studies. The program covers a broad range of topics including rural extension systems and teaching techniques, interpersonal communication, technology transfer approaches, communication technologies and international extension programs. A variety of learning formats are offered by the program including independent study, distance education, seminars, a practicum, international courses and research colloquia.
     Graduate students focus on one of the two areas of concentration, namely rural extension processes or communication technology as related to rural and remote regions. The department offers four core courses and fifteen other courses. Other courses of interest are available in other academic units including the School of Landscape Architecture, School of Rural Planning and Development, and the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Business, Geography, History, and Sociology and Anthropology,

Admission Requirements
     The program is open to qualified graduates from a wide variety of disciplines including agriculture, home economics, sociology, communication, education, health and medicine, history, and economics. A four-year honours degree is considered as the normal and basic admission requirement. All incoming students are expected to have completed at least one third- or fourth-year-level undergraduate statistics course. Work experience in a rural area or non-urban community is considered especially useful in applying theory to practice and in identifying research needs and topics.
     Students in the School of Rural Extension Studies have employment backgrounds in areas such as agricultural extension, rural and volunteer organizations, community development, education, family and consumer studies, social work, communication technology, health, international project management, and technology transfer.

Degree Requirements
     A minimum of two full-time semesters of course work, or the equivalent, must be completed. Thesis and major paper options are available. For the thesis option, 4.0 credits plus a research thesis are required; for the major paper option, 5.0 credits plus the Major Research Paper are required. All students must complete the core courses (described in the course list for this program).
     All students take a comprehensive exam near the end of the course work. Students select an adviser and a research committee who will assist them in course selection, research and thesis development.
     All students will be required to complete a thesis or major research paper. Normally a supervised practicum or internship will be required, unless the student has substantial relevant experience.

Interdepartmental Programs
International Development Studies Collaborative Program

     The School of Rural Extension Studies participates in the collaborative international development studies (CIDS) program. Students take a minimum of 2.5 course credits in the school and a minimum of 2.5 credits in international development studies. The MSc degree for students in this program will have the specialist designation rural extension studies: international development studies. Please consult the International Development Studies listing for a detailed description of the collaborative program including the special additional requirements for each of the participating departments.
School of Rural Planning and Development Shared MSc Program
     The School offers a shared program with the School of Rural Planning and Development (SRP&D). The option is available to students with either a Canadian or international focus. The options differ by SRP&D core course requirements. The MSc degree is granted from the School of Rural Extension Studies but will indicate a focus on rural planning and development issues.
The shared program will include:
Three core courses from the School of Rural Extension Studies
  • REXT*6070 Foundations of Rural Extension
  • REXT*6230 Program Planning and Evaluation in Rural Extension
  • REXT*6060 Adult Learning and Development
Three core courses from the School of Rural Planning and Development
  • 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
ALL students in the shared program take a research methods course from either school:
  • REXT*6260 Research Design in Rural Extension Studies OR RPD*6170 Philosophy and Methods in Rural Planning and Development Research
     Both thesis and major paper options are offered. The thesis option requires an additional three elective courses. The major paper option requires five additional electives, the majority of which must be taken from the School of Rural Extension Studies.
     Students in the shared program will have a research adviser from each school.
Rural Studies PhD Program
     The School of Rural Extension Studies is a major participant in the PhD in rural studies in the field of sustainable rural communities. Included in the graduate faculty for this program are G.C. Filson, J. Janakiram, A. Lauzon, J. Mahone, D.H. Pletsch, J.C.M. Shute and M.W. Waldron. This PhD program provides opportunities for students to be advised by faculty in this school. PhD students will enroll in the interdepartmental Rural Studies program.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Disciplinary Core
Adult Learning and Development (0.5)
   Adult development through life stages; profile of adult learners; learning abilities and difficulties; learning theory as applied to adults; sociological contexts for adult learning; participation levels and barriers to participation.
Foundations of Rural Extension (0.5)
   Historical, philosophical and sociological foundations of rural extension and nonformal education. Investigation of changing rural community structure. Past, present and future institutional support for nonformal and extension education: the issues of access and professionalism. Significant leadership by individuals and groups. Critical appraisal of philosophical assumptions and social functions of nonformal and extension education.
Program Planning and Evaluation in Rural Extension (0.5)
   This course will focus on concepts and processes of program planning and the evaluation in rural extension. Programs designed with client involvement in situational analyses and priority settings will receive particular attention.
Research Design in Rural Extension Studies (0.5)
   This course acquaints participants with a series of fundamental and operational decisions that must be made to produce a coherent research design. Alternative research philosophies, functions and formats are examined prior to data consideration.
Rural Extension Processes
International Extension Studies (0.5)
   An analysis of extension and human resource development programs around the world, with emphasis on developing nations.
Communication and Interpersonal Relations (0.5)
   The role of communication in interpersonal relations in informal and formal structures. Case studies and selected readings.
Extension Methods (0.5)
   Theories, principles and practices associated with effective instruction in extension are taught. Emphasis is given to nonformal teaching-learning situations; importance of socio- economic and cultural environment; communication skills using creative and appropriate technology in the transfer of information.
Capacity Building for Sustainable Development (0.5)
   An interdisciplinary approach to the study of institutional and behavioural change with emphasis on the role of education in the planning and management of development programs.
Leadership, Gender, Power and Advocacy (0.5)
   Major theories of leadership, gender, power and advocacy will be explored. Emphasis will be on both the theoretical aspects, as well as skills and practice related to influencing social outcomes. Particular emphasis will be on empowerment of marginalized individuals and groups.
Management Theory and Practice in Rural Extension (0.5)
   Managers and management in the rural-extension context; planning, organizing, leading, controlling and appraising; time management; meeting management; managing volunteers; developing long-range plans and objectives; relating needed management skills to the extension function.
Marketing of Extension Programs (0.5)
   This course features discussions of the following topics for extension programs: marketing the non-profit organization; basics of a marketing plan; marketing research; developing new markets for programs; advertising strategies; principles of copyrighting; achieving creative excellence; comparing and evaluating different media types; the use of media.
Communication Technology
Issues in Societal Communication (0.5)
   This course addresses the scope and definition of the Information Age with its implications for communication, leadership and non-formal education in a variety of societal contexts. The course raises issues related to the cultural processes of knowledge creation and the roles of the individual in an information society.
Communication Technology: Principles and Practice (0.5)
   This course examines the principles of communication technology emerging from contrasting bases in the physical and social sciences. These principles are investigated in case- study applications in a variety of nonformal educational and remote contexts.
Distance Education: Theory and Application (0.5)
   This course deals with the newly emerging field of distance education: that is, education that is not taught in the traditional face-to-face formats. Associated with this field are new approaches to curriculum development, delivery technologies and new forms of counselling and student-support services.
Other (May be applicable in either or both of the above fields)
Special Topics (0.5)
   Selected study topics which may be pursued in accordance with the special needs of students in the program.
Student Research Seminar (0.5)
   This course is designed around a seminar (rather than lecture) format and is intended for all MSc candidates in rural extension studies irrespective of their length of enrolment in the program. Seminar topics include philosophy of science, academic writing, thesis design, the research process and others which students suggest as appropriate. It also provides graduate students with the opportunity to develop and present their research intentions for peer appraisal.
Readings in Rural Extension Studies (0.5)
   A program of supervised independent study related to the student's area of concentration.
Practicum (0.5)
   Designed to provide practical experience for students, this practicum offers students an opportunity for a short-term work placement in a public, private or voluntary agency concerned with adult education, information technology and related applications of learning and communication theory.
The Politics of Development and Underdevelopment (0.5)
   This course, for MA students specializing in international and comparative development, has a primarily theoretical orientation, focusing on the main paradigms that have evolved to explain central problems and issues of development and underdevelopment, particularly modernization, dependency, world systems and Marxist state theories.
Major Research Paper (1.0)
   Students select a topic and write a paper that does not necessarily include original data but is an analysis and synthesis of materials dealing with the topic selected.


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