Rural Planning & Development

The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development offers two graduate degrees: a Master of Science in Rural Planning and Development (MSc) and Master of Planning (MPlan). Both programs provide the opportunity for graduate study, research and professional development in rural planning and development in either Canadian or international contexts. A breif description of each program is listed below: 

The MSc is a two-year degree program focused for students with a completed undergraduate degree interested in planning and development. Students are able to focus their program of study in either the Canadian stream or the international stream. The program can be completed with a thesis, major research paper, or as an all-course option. The MSc program is an accredited degree by the Professional Standards Board, facilitating membership in the Canadian Institute of Planners and provincial planning organizations.

The MPlan is a one-year degree program intended for students with a completed undergraduate degree and 2-3 years of planning and development experience. The program consists of both required and elective courses and concludes with a major research paper. The program may be used as part of the Prior Learning Assessment route to accreditation with the Professional Standards Board.

Our Vision

The vision of the Rural Planning and Development programs is to create resilient rural, Indigenous, remote Canadian & global communities. The MSc and MPlan programs:

  • provides students with world class education and training in planning and development for rural, Indigenous, and remote communities,
  • engages with rural, Indigenous, and remote partners on planning and development initiatives,
  • acts as a Canadian and global knowledge centre on rural, Indigenous, and remote planning and development issues.

The Rural Planning and Development programs offer small and interactive classes taught by nationally and internationally recognized faculty, an emphasis on skill set and capacity development relevant to the profession, strong connections to the key planning and development practitioner networks.

Career Opportunities

Since the Rural Planning and Development program began in 1980, graduates of the programs have been employed through Canada and internationally with organizations such as:

  • local government planning offices
  • consulting firms
  • provincial and federal governments
  • conservation authorities
  • economic development agencies
  • voluntary, non-profit and charities
  • social planning organizations
  • international development organizations

Faculty Research Areas

Primary Areas of Focus

Nicolas Brunet

Natural resource governance; role of community and local expertise in environmental science; environmental decision-making; remote, northern, Indigenous communities; wildlife and plants of cultural and economic significance.

Wayne Caldwell

Agriculture and land use planning; rural communities; community development; community-based approaches to economic and environmental issues; facilitation; healthy communities.

Leith Deacon

Sustainable development; resiliency; rural governance; resource-based communities; innovation and innovation policy; qualitative methodologies; environmental impact assessment; environmental justice.

Sara Epp

Agriculture and food system planning; local food; community engaged research; migration; social planning; land use planning; northern Ontario; resilience.

Ryan Gibson

Economic development, collaboration, place-based development, immigration/migration, governance, and philanthropy/charities.

Dave Guyadeen

Program evaluation; plan evaluation (plans, implementation, and outcomes); plan making and plan quality theory; and rural climate change planning (as it relates to plan quality).

Sheri Longboat

Water resources security, planning and management; Indigenous community planning and development; Indigenous engagement and community-based research; Indigenous food sovereignty; Indigenous rights and governance; Collaboration, governance and collaborative institutions.

Silvia Sarapura

Agri-food systems and rural planning; gender transformative change planning, innovation systems and community development; youth in rural development; community engaged and farmer led research; intersectionality in land use planning; applied research – research in development.

Find our SEDRD promo page with our graduate programs in the OAC Graduate Studies Viewbook