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Rural Planning And Development - Professional Programs

MSc Program
Graduate Diploma Program
Interdepartmental Programs


School of Rural Planning and Development

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

Graduate co-ordinator
Nonita Yap (122 Landscape Architecture, Ext.56536)
(E-mail: nyap@rpd.uoguelph.ca)

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

Graduate Faculty

Farokh Afshar
AA Dipl Arch. Assoc. London, PhD M.I.T. - Associate Professor

Wayne J. Caldwell
BA, MA Western Ontario, PhD Waterloo - Professor

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

David J.A. Douglas
BA N.U.I., MA Toronto - Professor

John E. FitzGibbon
BA McMaster, MSc Wales, PhD McGill - Professor

Anthony M. Fuller
BA, PhD Hull - Professor

Stewart G. Hilts
BA Western Ontario, MA, PhD Toronto - Professor

David Rapport
BBA, MA, PhD Michigan - Professor

Donald G. Reid
BA Wilfrid Laurier, MA, PhD Waterloo - Professor

Nonita T. Yap
BSc San Carlos (Philippines), MES Dalhousie, PhD Alberta - Associate Professor

    The School of Rural Planning and Development has a four-part mission of teaching, research, training and outreach.

MSc Program

     The School of Rural Planning and Development provides the opportunity for graduate study, research and professional development in rural planning and development either Canadian or international (developing areas) contexts. The program leads to an MSc degree. It is a professionally oriented program that requires substantial commitment to professional performance and ethics.
     Graduate students in the School of Rural Planning and Development find employment in rural planning departments and with non-governmental organizations in Canada and in rural development agencies overseas. Graduates are prepared for both local development and planning as well as national-level research and policy planning.
     The program objective is to ensure that students have the knowledge and skill to conduct interdisciplinary research and, in a professional capacity, guide processes of change in rural planning and development.
     Students interested in a rural planning and development program are registered in the school, although in keeping with the school's interdisciplinary philosophy they are encouraged to take courses and work with faculty in other units on campus. Where appropriate, faculty from other academic units participate in an advisory capacity in students' research programs.
     Alternatively, students may undertake a shared program with the school and other schools or departments on campus. The shared program exists for individuals who wish to combine a particular disciplinary or professional perspective with a rural planning and development orientation in a graduate-level degree. For more information, see the Rural Planning and Development - Shared Programs listing.

Admission Requirements
     The program is open to qualified graduates from a wide variety of disciplines including geography, international development, sociology, agriculture, environmental studies, landscape architecture, economics and planning. Applicants are required to demonstrate their specific interest in the program and relevant work experience in rural planning and development. A four-year honours degree with a B average is considered the normal basis for admission.

Degree Requirements
MSc in Rural Planning and Development (Canadian)
     This field offers both major research paper and thesis options. Both of these options are aimed at providing substantive professional, contextual and specialized knowledge and skill in the domestic rural planning and development context. Students choose a general area of emphasis from: 1) community planning and development, 2) municipal land use planning, and 3) resource management planning.
     All students enrolled in this field are required to complete a set of core courses that provide a foundation for rural planning and development research and practice. These consist of the school core of three courses: 1) Planning and Development Theory, 2) Rural Research Methods - Foundations, and 3) Application of Quantitative Techniques in Rural Planning and Development, and the Canadian planning and development core consisting of three courses: 1) Rural Planning Methods, 2) Rural Public Administration, and 3) Rural Planning Synthesis.
     In addition, students are required to complete a minimum of either four courses, a thesis and an internship; or six courses, a major research paper and an internship. To ensure that students have an adequate breadth of understanding to prepare them for interdisciplinary research and practice in rural planning and development, they must demonstrate appropriate knowledge of two of the perspectives related to rural planning and development (legal, biophysical, economics and social). They may demonstrate this knowledge through undergraduate or graduate course work completed prior to entry into the program, or by taking specific courses during their program of study.
     The area of emphasis is developed by the students and their advisory committees through course work, selection of elective courses, the internship, and student research leading to the major research paper or thesis.
     In the delivery of the Canadian rural planning and development field, the school draws on courses and faculty from other units on campus as well as on the resources of the school. The field of rural planning and development (Canadian) is formally recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, and six faculty in the school are Registered Professional Planners.

MSc in Rural Development Planning (International)
     This field prepares students for research and practice in rural development planning in the international context. Students may choose either the coursework and major research paper option, or the coursework and thesis option. An internship is not a field requirement but is strongly recommended. Four areas of emphasis are offered: 1) settlement and area development planning, 2) natural resources development planning, 3) human resources and social services development planning, and 4) program and project development planning.
     All students enrolled in this field are required to complete a set of core courses that provide a foundation for international rural development planning research and practice. These consist of the school core of three courses: 1) Planning and Development Theory, 2) Rural Research Methods - Foundations, and 3) Application of Quantitative Techniques in Rural Planning and Development, and the international development planning core of two courses: 1) International Rural Development Planning: Principles and Practices and 2) Synthesis: Seminar in Integrated Rural Development Planning.
     In addition, students are required to complete a minimum of either three courses and a thesis, or five courses and a major research paper.
     To ensure that students have an adequate breadth of understanding to prepare them for interdisciplinary research and practice in international rural development planning, they must demonstrate appropriate knowledge in two of the following perspectives related to rural development planning (social, economic, biophysical and political/institutional). They may demonstrate this knowledge through undergraduate or graduate course work taken prior to entry into the program, or by taking specific courses as part of their program of study.
     The area of emphasis is developed by students and their advisory committees through coursework, selection of elective courses, student research leading to the major research paper or thesis and, in many cases, an internship.
     In the delivery of the international rural development planning field, the school draws on courses and faculty from other units on campus as well as on the resources of the school.

Graduate Diploma Program

Graduate Diploma in International Rural Development Planning
     The objective of the graduate diploma program is to provide mid-career, rural development professionals from Canada and abroad with postgraduate education and training to improve their job-related expertise within a 10 month practitioner-oriented program. The program enhances the ability of such persons to be effective in the conceptualization, design, planning, implementation, management and evaluation of rural development policies, programs and projects internationally.

Admission Requirements
    Applicants require a Canadian 3 year Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) with a satisfactory academic record. At least five years of responsible professional experience in rural development or a related field is also required.

Diploma Requirements
          The 10 month program from September to June 30 combines graduate course work with field studies and a professional paper. The program requires at least 2.75 course credits, including the course, International Rural Development Planning: Principles and Practices, the Major Professional Paper, and Diploma Field Studies. In addition, at least three other courses must be taken during the 10 months. Of these three courses, two can be from a department/school other than the School of Rural Planning and Development. See also the Graduate Diploma in International Rural Development Planning in the degree regulations.

Interdepartmental Programs

     Rural Studies PhD Program      The School of Rural Planning and Development 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. For further information consult the Rural Studies listing in this calendar.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Required School Core
Philosophy and Methods in Rural Planning and Development Research (0.5)
   The course provides rural planning and development professionals with a number of theoretical frameworks and practical approaches to problem solving in rural Canadian and international contexts. The course content provides an introduction to hypothesis development, data collection, analytical frameworks, research management, and information synthesis and presentation methodologies that are appropriate to the practicing rural planner and developer. It views the roles of the researcher and research as interventionist and intervention in the rural community. Research methods are discussed as an integral and supporting part of the planning and development process.
Planning and Development Theory (0.5)
   Examines basic concepts, theories and perspectives in rural planning and development. A conceptual examination of 'rural', 'planning' and 'development' precedes an examination of how rural planning and development is viewed from alternative, often conflicting theories of rural change and planned intervention. The implications for practice are discussed.
Application of Quantitative Techniques in Rural Planning and Development (0.5)
   Analysis and application of standard quantitative, statistical and computer-based techniques utilized in rural planning and development. Problems of data collection, analysis and interpretation.
Required Canadian Planning and Development Core
Public Administration in Rural Communities (0.5)
   An introduction to the nature and problems of government and administration in the small municipality (less than 25,000). Major topics include: municipal law, capital budget and implementation, public services and infrastructure, personnel management.
Rural Planning Methods (0.5)
   Basics of rural planning practice, including communications, graphics, group dynamics, interviews and community surveys, questionnaire design and non-parametric statistics and role of citizen participation.
Rural Planning Synthesis (0.5)
   The application of planning techniques and methodologies to various kinds of rural planning problems. Students prepare and present specific solutions to a practical problem in rural planning.
Required International Rural Development Planning Core
International Rural Development Planning: Principles and Practices (0.5)
   This course presents the scope and nature of international development planning and alternative roles for development planners; has a rural emphasis; reviews the evolution of development planning from macroeconomic beginnings to more integrated local planning approaches; examines the development planning process and its organizational and spatial dimensions; compares policy, program, project, sectoral and integrated area planning; and compares rural development planning in market, mixed and state-driven societies.
Synthesis: Seminar in Integrated Rural Development Planning (0.5)
   Field conditions for an integrated rural development project are simulated. Students work in multidisciplinary teams to plan, implement and evaluate the project. The Sulawesi Regional Development Project (Indonesia) is used (with other projects, as appropriate) as the case study.
Required Diploma Core
International Rural Development Planning: Principles and Practices (0.5)
   See above.
Graduate Diploma Field Studies (0.25)
S Students participate in a number of field experiences within the program. These experiences include study tours of rural regions, meetings with leading professional Canadian counterparts in counterpart rural organizations; study-visits to rural farms and industries; farm-stays and internships; and participation in professional and scholarly conferences. They write a report on the above, examining the lessons learned and their applicability (or lack of) to their own work context.
Graduate Diploma Major Professional Paper (0.5)
S The paper will focus on the major interest area of the student, likely one he/she will return to practice in after graduation. It includes a review of the international literature and experience on the topic and compares this with the personal experience of the student and his/her organization and work context. Where appropriate, for example, when the student is returning to a specific organization, the student is encouraged to develop in the paper a work plan examining how to apply what is proposed in the paper and/or what was learned in the program to the work context the student is returning to.
Elective Courses
Below are the commonly used courses for electives, including some of those encompassing the social, economic, biophysical, political/institutional and legal perspectives in the program.
Rural Community Systems (0.5)
   This course familiarizes students with the particular characteristics of local rural community systems in Canada and how these vary over space and time. Emphasis is placed on defining rurality, the measurement of rural systems and on recognizing and dealing with informal elements in the rural community. A special section deals with preparing, as a professional, for work in such conditions. Credit may not be obtained for both GEOG*6270 and RPD*6020.
Settlement Systems and Area Development Planning: Policies and Procedures (0.5)
   This course examines the issues, policies and procedures in settlement and area development. The focus is on lagging subnational rural areas in the international context. It discusses the determinants of settlement and area development and policies and strategies adopted to accelerate development. It presents procedures and selected techniques to develop such settlements and areas.
Settlement, Housing, and Services: Planning and Management (0.5)
   This course provides an understanding of the issues, policies, and strategies in planning and managing a settlement. It teaches procedures and selected techniques. Topics include financing and managing the settlement, employment and the construction sector, land use, housing and services. The emphasis is on the international and rural context.
Project Development: Principles, Procedures, and Selected Methods (0.5)
   This course introduces students to the principles, procedures and methods in developing a project. It examines the project cycle: identification, preparation, appraisal, implementation/supervision, monitoring and evaluation. It gives an understanding of the major methods involved and teaches selected methods. The focus is on the international, rural context and on small non-farm projects: small industries, small physical infrastructure and social projects.
Environment and Development: Biophysical Resources and Sustainable Development in Rural Environments (0.5)
   This course will examine the problems and potential for ecologically sustainable development in the context of rural development planning particularly in the Third World environments. The course critically examines the strategic planning approaches and methods which involve the interaction between social systems and natural ecosystems in the context of planned intervention and change in rural environments.
Rural Resources Policy (0.5)
   Contemporary resource use and environmental policy decisions at various scales; historical development of policy decisions; sociological, ecological and ethical considerations; evaluation of present and emerging policies.
Land Use Planning Law (0.5)
   An introduction to the legal tools used to regulate the use of land and other resources. Zoning, subdivision controls, development control, land banking, expropriation, planning appeals, official maps, etc. An intensive study of the Ontario Planning Act and related legislation.
Special Topics in Rural Planning and Development (0.5)
   Selected study topics focus on the nature of rural planning and development issues and/or practices in Canadian and/or International small communities and rural environments. Among the topics which may be addressed are: rural land use planning, ecological restoration, gender analysis in development planning, GIS in agricultural development and natural resource management, agropastoral systems, and agro-ecosystem health.
Environmental Impact Assessment (0.5)
   This course deals with the role of environmental impact assessments and statements in the planning, development and operation of resource projects. Topics discussed include the philosophical and institutional basis for environmental impact assessments, methods used and the effects of such assessments on resource development projects.
Water Resource Management (0.5)
   The course provides an assessment of the processes and principles which underlie comprehensive water resource planning and integrated basin management. It also undertakes to evaluate current practice in the context of integrated planning. There is extensive use of Canadian and international practice.
Northern and Native Development and Planning (0.5)
   A critical analysis of development and planning in Northern Canada, including examination of policies and implementation strategies of governments and private enterprise; their impacts upon northern and native communities; and consideration of proactive locally based planning for community development.
Major Research Paper (1.0)
   Students not pursuing the coursework/thesis route must satisfactorily complete a major research paper. Preparation of the paper will be supervised by a faculty committee. Content of the paper will generally focus on the placement of a problem in rural planning and development practice in a theoretical context, and an analysis of the problem using appropriate methodological and analytical procedures. This will normally be equivalent to a two-semester course.
Economic Development Planning and Management for Rural Communities (0.5)
   Theories and perspectives of local economic development, particularly community-based planning for rural economic development. Economic development within a community development framework, and challenges of sustainable development. Interdisciplinary perspectives and alternative approaches to professional planning practice, strategic planning, management and organizational design/development issues. Alternative economic concepts and perspectives are critically examined. Includes international case studies.
Rural Social Planning (0.5)
   This course will provide students who have an interest in social development with an avenue for linking that interest to the policy, planning and intervention process.
Readings in Rural Planning (0.5)
   A program of supervised independent study related to the student's area of concentration. Nature and content of the readings course are agreed upon between the student and the instructor, and are subject to the approval of the student's advisory committee and graduate committee.
Recreation and Tourism Planning and Development (0.5)
   This course is intended to instruct the student in the principles of planning for recreation and tourism development. Emphasis is placed on the economic and social benefits and costs that accrue from tourism and recreation development. Planning principles are applied to this context.
Department of Agricultural Economics and Business
Agriculture in Economic Development (0.5)
   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.
Regional Economic Models (0.5)
   Theories and research in regional economics, stressing regional development; social-economic accounting; analysis of structure and growth; economic base and multiplier models.
Program Evaluation (0.5)
   An advanced seminar dealing with the theory and practice of program evaluation focusing on public sector programs in international and domestic case studies.
Department of Geography
Environmental Resource Evaluation (0.5)
   Analysis and management of rural non-agricultural resources. Emphasis is upon techniques for bio-physical and socio-economic analysis of particular environments such as forests, wetlands and shorelines.
School of Landscape Architecture
Landscape Resource Analysis (0.5)
   Integrated field and classroom study; interpretation of natural systems data as components of the environment. Understanding of plants adaptable to different earth units.
Integrative Environmental Planning (0.5)
   Land-use planning and design emphasizing opportunities and constraints for development presented by cultural and biophysical resources and their interrelationships in the master planning, sector planning, site planning sequence. Interdepartmental.
School of Rural Extension Studies
Communication and Interpersonal Relations (0.5)
   The role of communication in interpersonal relations in informal and formal structures. Case Studies and selected readings.
Capacity Building for Sustainable Development (0.5)
   This course deals with the learning processes of building civil societies which meet balanced economic, social and environmental needs.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Social Change in Rural Agricultural Systems (0.5)
   This course is an advanced analysis of social structure and change in rural social systems, particularly agriculturally based socio-economic organizational structures. A comparative, historically based examination of land tenure, marketing, and distribution will touch on stratification (class, status and power conflict) and legitimization (cultural values, beliefs and norms, political legitimization) in major institutions, particularly Canadian society. Case studies of the sociological implications of planned change and unplanned social change are examined in the light of the comparative structural analysis.
Women and Development (0.5)
   Cross-cultural and historical changes in gender relations and the roles/positions of women brought about by industrialization and the development of the world system. Critical examination of the predominant theories of gender relations, in so far as these inform development research and action in societies with different socio-economic systems. Introduction to the latest theories and research in the area of women and development, as well as with social and political actions undertaken by women themselves.


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