Brandon University welcomes record number of graduate students to Department of Rural Development

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BRANDON, Man. ­­– More graduate students than ever are furthering their education through Brandon University’s Department of Rural Development.

The department welcomed a record 13 new graduate students in September, with two more to arrive in January. In the past, a maximum of six students could be admitted to Rural Development at BU to pursue a thesis-based master’s degree. The introduction of a course-based master’s degree this year, joining the existing thesis-based option, has created the opportunity for more graduate students to study Rural Development at BU.

“Students have come to BU from across Canada and around the world for the program,” said Department of Rural Development Chair and Professor Doug Ramsey. “We know that there is a lot of demand for studies in rural development, and we hope to continue building our graduate studies here. When students come here to study, it also means that they help with research that has direct applications for the Canadian Prairies, for Manitoba, for Westman and for Brandon.”

Since BU began offering a Master of Rural Development Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Rural Development in 1999, 55 students have graduated from the program, with graduates filling leadership roles across Canada in city, provincial and territorial administration as well as private business. Four graduates have gone on to obtain a PhD, with three more currently working on a PhD.

The increase in Rural Development graduate students is part of an overall jump in enrollment at BU this fall. More than 3,100 students enrolled at BU in September, a jump of more than five per cent from 2014.

The Department of Rural Development celebrated several accomplishments at a reception this week, including the increased enrolment. Dr. Wilder Robles, an Assistant Professor in Rural Studies, has released a new book this year. Dr. Robles co-authored The Politics of Agrarian Reform and Co-operativism: The Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil with Dr. Henry Veltmeyer of St. Mary’s University. Additionally, the Journal of Rural and Community Development, published by BU’s Rural Development Institute and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is marking its 10th anniversary with its latest issue. It’s available online at

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.



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