Rural Studies PhD Admissions

Rural Studies PhD Admissions

Application 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. Admission to doctoral programs normally requires a satisfactory baccalaureate and at least high second-class honours ('B' standing) in a recognized master's degree.

Applicants are strongly advised to be in communication with a potential faculty advisor before applying. Once an applicant is considered to have met eligibility criteria, a crucial step is the identification of a suitable advisor and the guarantee of student funding. Applying without first having communicated with a potential advisor is not recommended.

International Students

To study in Canada, all students must apply for a Study Permit at the nearest Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. A student authorization is commonly called a student visa. For you to be considered for a student visa, the Canadian immigration officer will need to see your letter of acceptance from the University of Guelph, proof of citizenship and proof of funds for one academic year. The University of Guelph and Immigration Canada expect international students to have enough funds for the duration of their study in Canada, and especially during their first year. The issuance of a student visa is strongly based on your ability to finance your education. The student visa is usually issued for the duration of your academic program. Please note that you will not be allowed to register at the University of Guelph if you do not have a valid Study Permit.

If your first language is not English, and you do not have a degree from an English speaking University, you must provide an official English Testing score from an acceptable source.  More information is available at the Graduate and Postdoctoral website - English Language Proficiency.  

Application Procedure

For more information regarding application to the University of Guelph, please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies Website - Applying to Guelph.   

Applicants must also complete and the PhD Rural Studies Admission Questionnaire form.  

Statement of Interest

Your statement of research interest (separate from the one requested within the on-line application form) should outline:

  • your career goals
  • the particular area of research you wish to pursue at the University of Guelph (what is it you want to research?)
  • its relationship to faculty expertise


Please provide a current resume that gives a profile of your background and experience.

Application Summary

Please be aware that any material collected towards a graduate application, (for example transcripts, reference letters, etc.) must be dated within the past year.  Any material dated prior to a year from the application date will not be accepted.

Your application is not considered complete until all of these documents have been received.

Good academic standing alone will not guarantee entry to the Program. One of our faculty members must be interested in, and willing to supervise your research. It is therefore important that you state your research interests and goals clearly and succinctly.

Work experience in a related setting is also considered especially useful in applying theory to practice and to identify research needs and topics.

The program offers Fall admission, full or part-time study, with a thesis requirement.

Application Deadline

Entry into the Rural Studies PhD program is typically in the Fall semester of each year.  Deadline for submission of applications is March 1st each year.  If you wish to apply after this deadline, please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Leith Deacon or the RST Graduate Program Assistant.

Scholarships and Funding

Please refer to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website regarding Scholarships and Awards.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program
Applicants who qualify for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program require a complete OGS application and a complete graduate application to be submitted by the deadline date set each year.  See eligibility requirements and deadline details on the Graduate Studies Funding/Scholarship page.