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Consumer Studies

MSc Program


Marjorie J. Wall (205 Family and Consumer Studies,
Ext. 56129/56126)

Graduate co-ordinator
Karen Finlay (201C Family and Consumer Studies, Ext. 53347)
(E-mail: kfinlay@uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Fran Keen (205 FACS, Ext. 58760)

Department fax (519) 823-1964

Graduate Faculty

John W. Auld
BA Brock, MA Guelph - Associate Professor

May Aung
BComm, MComm (Burma), PhD York - Assistant Professor

Karen A. Finlay
BA Western Ontario, MBA, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor

William R. Frisbee
BA, MS Union College, PhD Cornell - Associate Professor

Towhidul Islam
MSc Inst. of Mech. Tech. (Bulgaria), MBA Dhaka (Bangladesh), DIC Imperial College (United Kingdom), PhD London (United Kingdom) - 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

Paulette S. Padanyi
BA Presbyterian College, MBA Florida, PhD York - Associate Professor

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

     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.
MSc Program
     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 two courses, a minimum of two additional graduate courses in measurement and analysis, two elective graduate courses, and graduate seminar courses. The two measurement and analysis courses and the elective courses are selected by the student in conjunction with his/her advisory committee and are normally chosen to provide theoretical, conceptual, and/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 complete theses in one of the following areas: consumer behaviour, advertising, distribution, the management of marketing and/or with respect to a specific 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 is unique and may often require course content that differs from those of other students.

Departmental Core Courses
     The departmental core is required of all graduate students in the Department of Consumer Studies. It contains a minimum of 6 half credits (3.0 full credits) and enrollment in the consumer studies seminar (COST6950) for each semester of full-time graduate study.
The programme consists of:

Fall Semester:
COST 6000 Consumption Behaviour Theory
COST 6050 Research in Consumer Studies
complete 1 elective: If have not taken COST 3100 (Economic Behaviour of Households) or equivalent, take COST 6370 Consumer Economics OR an alternative elective*
complete: COST 6950** Department Seminar

Winter Semester:
COST 6080 Qualitative Methods
COST*6060 Multivariate Methods
(Or 2 suitable methods courses)
complete 1 elective*
complete: COST 6950** Department Seminar
*Chosen by the graduate student with the approval of his/her advisory committee
**Taken during each semester of full-time graduate study

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 April 1. The Department of Consumer Studies admits students to the graduate program only in September.

Degree Requirements
     The program normally consists of at least 6 half credit (3.0 full credits) graduate courses, enrollment in the consumer studies seminar (COST*6950) for each semester of full-time graduate study, 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.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
For courses without a semester designation the student should consult the graduate co-ordinator.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Special Topics in Consumer Research and Analysis (0.5)
Marketing Management (0.5)
F A study of marketing decision-making with emphasis on the formulation of strategic marketing plans.
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.
Special Topics in Food Marketing (0.5)
Special Topics in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (0.5)
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.
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.
Consumer, Business and Government Relations (0.5)
F,W 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.
Consumer Economics (0.5)
W 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.
Special Topics in Textiles (0.5)
Special Topics in Fashion and Distribution (0.5)
Research Project (0.5)
  See graduate co-ordinator.
Consumer Studies Seminar (0.0)


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