Rural Studies PhD

Field Work at Organic Market


The Rural Studies PhD provides opportunities for advanced studies and research on the integration of socio-cultural and bio-physical components of capacity development, design, or planning of landscape systems and rural communities. Graduates become leading specialists in addressing sustainable landscapes and issues related to rural communities. Interdisciplinary research is emphasized, building on disciplines within the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) which include: Capacity Development and Extension, Landscape Architecture, and Rural Planning and Development.

Fields of Study

The PhD program focuses on two fields: sustainable rural communities and sustainable landscape systems. 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. The sustainable landscape systems field examines structure, process, and change in the rural landscape through research on bio-physical and socio-cultural sectors. A number of different disciplines are represented and an interdisciplinary approach is taken to integrate across subject areas. Students may choose among fields and choose a sector within the field for relatively more-intensive study. Students may also study rural interdisciplinary topics that fall outside either of these fields.


Building from the core disciplinary strengths of SEDRD, doctoral students investigate issues that broadly or pointedly affect rural communities and landscapes. Many students develop international research that leads them to careers in non governmental organizations (NGO), faculty positions, environmental consultants and Federal Government (CIDA) to mention a few.