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School of Rural Extension Studies

MSc Program
Interdepartmental Programs



John Fitzgibbon (125 Johnston, Ext. 56784)
(E-mail: jfitzgib@rpd.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate co-ordinator
Glen Filson (112 Johnston, Ext. 56231)
(E-mail: gfilson@res.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Nancy Orso (122 Johnston, Ext. 56780)

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

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

     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:
Two core courses from the School of Rural Extension Studies
  • REXT*6070 Foundations of 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, and J. Nef. 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
Foundations of Capacity Building and Extension (0.5)
   Contemporary issues and changes in rural communities and the implications for building community capacity. Students will be introduced to and examine dominant paradigms of community capacity building for meeting rural needs: Human Resources Development and Participatory Development.
Research Methods (0.5)
   Provides students with abilities and knowledge to undertake, formulate and implement research in their chosen area of development. Students are expected to acquire the ability to identify research question and the appropriate designs to answer such questions.
Rural Extension Processes
Fundamentals of Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication (0.5)
   The role of communication in interpersonal and intercultural relations in both formal and non-formal organizations. It specifically focuses on the theories and competencies that are required for communication between individuals and those within and between different cultures.
Extension Theory and Methods (0.5)
   Theories, principles and practices associated with effective instruction in extension are taught. Emphasis is given to non-formal 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)
   Learning processes enhancing human capital in civil society and the organizational and managerial capabilities that can empower communities to meet their economic, social, cultural and environmental needs. Examines development and underdevelopment and the role of non-formal education and administration in facilitation social change in peripheral regions from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Facilitation and Conflict Management (0.5)
   Explore the theories of leadership, practice leadership skills and activities, and develop an understanding of the role facilitation and conflict management play in organizational success. Emphasizes personal individual development through practice, lecture and group discussion. Visits to community-facilitated meetings will be part of the course.
Communication Technology
Development Communication (0.5)
   Form of community development that utilizes communication technology in a participatory format with a political commitment to democracy and equity. Students introduced to range of technologies that are utilized in development communication (radio, video, Internet, etc.) and principles of development communication.
Other (May be applicable in either or both of the above fields)
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. Various perspectives on adult learning (modernist to postmodern).
Special Topics in Capacity Building and Extension (0.5)
   Selected study topics which may be pursued in accordance with the special needs of students in the program.
Readings in Capacity Building and Extension (0.5)
   A program of supervised independent study related to the student's area of concentration.
Decision Making and Conflict (0.5)
   A systemic,comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, the linkage between decision processes, and conflict, both at the micro (community and interpersonal) level and at the broader macro level of structural change and globalization. Examines the theory and practice of socio-economic, cultural and political conflict in social systems and the modalities for its resolution from an interdisciplinary standpoint.
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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