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Rural Studies

PhD Program


Director and Graduate co-ordinator
Al Lauzon (115 Johnston, Ext. 53379 )
(E-mail: allauzon@uoguelph.ca)

PhD in Rural Studies Secretary
Erika McMillan (100 Landscape Architecture, Ext. 58901)

Graduate Faculty

Farokh Afshar
Associate Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

J.I. (Hans) Bakker
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Robert D. Brown
Professor, Landscape Architecture

Wayne Caldwell
Associate Professor, Rural Planning and Development

E. Ann Clark
Associate Professor, Crop Science

John Cranfield
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Terry A. Crowley
Professor, History

F. Harry Cummings
Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development and Agricultural Economics and Business

David J.A. Douglas
Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

O.P. Dwivedi
Professor, Political Science

Glen C. Filson
Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies

John FitzGibbon
Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

Anthony M. Fuller
Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

Michael Goss
Professor, Land Resource Science, and Chair, Land Stewardship

Spencer Henson
Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Stewart G. Hilts
Professor, Land Resource Science

Sally Humphries
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Jana D. Janakiram
Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies

Alun E. Joseph
Professor, Geography

Walter H. Kehm
Professor, Landscape Architecture

Peter G. Kevan
Professor, Environmental Biology

Reid D. Kreutzwiser
Professor, Geography

Richard G. Kuhn
Associate Professor, Geography

Allan C. Lauzon
Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies

Belinda Leach
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Julius A. Mage
Associate Professor, Geography

Jim Mahone
Associate Professor, Rural Extension Studies

Ray A. McBride
Professor, Land Resource Science

Lynn McDonald
Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Jorge Nef
Professor, Rural Extension Studies

Cecelia Paine
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture

Nathan H. Perkins
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture

Wayne C. Pfeiffer
Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Richard W. Phidd
Professor, Political Science

Douglas H. Pletsch
Professor, Rural Extension Studies

Nancy Pollock-Ellwand
Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture

David Rapport
Professor, Rural Planning and Development

Donald G. Reid
Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

Marta Rohatynskyj
Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Rakhel Sarker
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Frans J. Schryer
Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Barry Smit
Professor, Geography

John A. Smithers
Associate Professor, Geography

Clarence J. Swanton
Professor, Crop Science (Plant Agriculture)

James R. Taylor
Professor, Landscape Architecture

Vernon G. Thomas
Associate Professor, Zoology

Terisa Turner
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Calum Turvey
Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Ellen Wall
Professor, Environmental Sciences

David Waltner-Toews
Professor, Population Medicine

Alfons J. Weersink
Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Business

Anthony R. Winson
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Nonita T. Yap
Associate Professor, School of Rural Planning and Development

PhD Program

     The PhD in Rural Studies is an interdisciplinary program encompassing five departments/schools over two colleges. The departments/schools involved include: Agricultural Economics and Business, Environmental Design and Rural Development (Landscape Architecture, Rural Extension Studies, Rural Planning and Development), Geography, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology. The Program also has associated faculty from other units in the university.
     The objective of the rural studies PhD program is to prepare specialists who will take leading roles in dealing with problems and opportunities in rural communities. Graduates will be expected to be highly proficient in some specific aspects of the many associated with the subject; to be able to integrate their area of emphasis with other aspects of the social, economic and biophysical scope of rural studies; and to be able to participate effectively in team efforts. Graduates will be prepared to carry out their roles through original research, integration of knowledge, teaching and other forms of education, and by providing services to members of the community.
     The program focuses on a single field, sustainable rural communities. Sustainable rural communities are characterized by long-term well-being based on the integration of economic, social and environmental factors in their planning and activities. Four sectors have been designated: environment and sustainability, social structure and processes, human resource development, and sustainable rural economic development. Each represents an area of emphasis, not a specialization or discipline. A number of different disciplines are represented in each sector and in each an interdisciplinary approach is taken. Students will choose one sector for relatively more intensive study.
Admission Requirements
     To be considered for admission, an applicant must have a master's degree (or the equivalent) from a recognized university in a relevant discipline. Master's graduates in a range of humanities, social-science and applied- science disciplines are eligible for consideration for admission. As examples, master's graduates in geography, sociology, planning, environmental science, rural extension studies and international development may be particularly suitable. Applicants who have not completed courses relevant to rural studies or gained experience in rural communities may be required to do so prior to admission or as part of initial phases of the PhD program.
     The program's admission policy is governed by the availability of graduate advisors and other resources and by the need to admit applicants from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The interaction of students with diverse backgrounds will greatly enhance the multidisciplinary approaches in the program. The program also seeks to achieve the significant participation of women and aboriginal people from North America and international students. The director of the program receives applications directly from prospective students or through prospective advisors and ensures that application files are complete for review by the admission committee. The committee then consults with departments and prospective advisors and recommends applicants for admission to Graduate Program Services.

Degree Requirements
Advisory Committee
     Each doctoral student has an advisory committee composed of faculty members from a range of disciplines pertinent to the field, specialization and research topic. Each committee consists of at least four members. It is broadly based with at least two major disciplines represented by its members. The advisor and the advisory committee provide guidance to allow for the student's intellectual growth in the program.
     The advisory committee assesses and approves the thesis-research proposal which is to be prepared by the student by the end of the second year, concurrent with preparation for the qualifying examination. The proposal will be presented as a Research Seminar (RST*6300) to students and faculty.

Course Requirements
     The minimum course and credit requirements for the PhD in rural studies consist of a common 1.75-credit core of two integrative 0.5-credit courses (Sustainable Rural Communities, and Integrative Research Methods), a 0.25-credit research seminar, and one 0.5-credit course chosen from the sector core list. Additional sector core and other courses may be required by the student's advisory committee. Make-up courses may be required prior to admission to the PhD program or early in the program. All courses will normally be completed prior to the qualifying examination. All or most of the courses should be taken in the first year of study. All students are encouraged to participate in the Research Seminar every year they are in the program and make presentations at least annually.
     To foster the interdisciplinary nature of the program, some courses are team taught. Attention is also paid to the sequencing of courses to promote interdisciplinarity. Students may also take selected "modules" or sections in courses to acquire necessary expertise in specific areas.

Qualifying Examination
     The qualifying examination for the PhD program in rural studies is used to determine the acceptability of the intellectual capability and research potential of students. The examination committee is constituted to represent a range of disciplines pertinent to the field.
     It evaluates the student's ability to integrate knowledge in the field of sustainable rural communities and the student's particular sector within the field. The qualifying examination has both written and oral components. The written component is based on the common core area of the field and the student's selected sector. The oral examination is devoted to discussion of the written materials. It evaluates the student's ability to integrate disciplinary knowledge within the field and to undertake interdisciplinary research. (The examination committee reviews the student's PhD thesis proposal as a vehicle for discussion of research approaches. This review is not part of the proposal-approval process.) The qualifying examination is to be completed by the end of the second year.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Common Core Courses
Sustainable Rural Communities (0.5)
   Sustainable development theory in the rural communities and environment context.
Integrative Research Methods (0.5)
   Research design and evaluation with a focus on measures of sustainability and on interdisciplinary applications.
Research Seminar (0.25)
Sector Core Courses
Biophysical Dimensions of Sustainability (0.5)
   The biophysical dimensions of the transition to sustainable rural communities and, in particular, the interaction of rural communities and the environment.
Social Systems and Institutions (0.5)
   The social and cultural processes involved in the national and global transition to sustainable rural communities including settlement systems, rural administration, institutions and organizations.
Human Resource Development (0.5)
   Critical examination of theories, research and application of various HRD methods and strategies, consideration of the HRD needs of individual entrepreneurs, economic enterprises, organizations and institutions in rural communities. Particular attention is paid to the HRD needs of marginalized populations and to aspects of social and environmental sustainability in Canada and abroad.
Rural Economic Development (0.5)
   Rural economies, economics and restructuring, the rural community, the political economy, business development, decision-making and development strategies. Comparative and international policy, planning and change processes.
Special Topics (0.5)


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