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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £5,500
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £5,500
    Other (non-UK) EU £5,500
    International £15,700

  • Last Updated

    26 March 2018

Course content

Sustainable rural development is seen as critical to survival of rural areas at a global level. Central to the success of any rural development programme, is a skilled team of experts to think strategically about rural development and ensure its delivery. This graduate programme will be of direct relevance to those interested in becoming leaders in rural development and promoting sustainability in the rural sector. It will also be of interest to those currently employed in rural development.

The Diploma course is strongly inter-disciplinary. It aims to develop an understanding of the underlying processes of economic, social and environmental practice with an emphasis on sustainability. Thus, as well as teaching the theories and concepts underlying rural development, the course places strong emphasis on the application of theory to development problems in rural areas, with an emphasis on the EU.

Students on the full-time diploma course are required to take a total of four taught modules and a double module Work Experience Placement during the academic year from September to June.

Global Sustainability, Local Solutions and Rural Policy (single module)
This module explores the history of Rural
Development locally and provides an introduction to European Union, national and regional policies and strategies. Students will become familiar with key policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy, EU Rural Development Programmes, Rural Development Programme, and a range of EU legislation relating to rural policies.

Students will have had the opportunity to develop the following knowledge:

• CAP reform, Decoupling and Single Farm Payment
• Use of Community Initiatives such as LEADER
• Diversification of the rural economy
• Rural Champion, Rural White Paper and Rural Proofing
• Agri-Environment Programmes, Countryside Management, Forestry and Organic Farming schemes

Rural Development: Rhetoric and Reality (single module)
This module aims to provide students with the basic skills necessary to take responsibility for a project management process from start to finish. The following are the main areas covered.
• Fundraising and income generation
• Social inclusion: key concepts
• Rural poverty
• Physical Planning for Rural Areas
• Sustainable Rural Tourism
• Community Development

Foundations for Sustainable Development (i) (single module)
This is a broad ranging module exploring the major global issues in environmental sustainability, such as Climate Change, Biodiversity, Waste Management, Water Management, Renewable Energy. The module will introduce concepts and methodologies such as Environmental Economics, Ecological Footprinting and Environmental Impact Analysis as well as moral and ethical ways of considering sustainable development problems.

Methods for Rural and Sustainability Research (single module)
The purpose of this module is to provide students with a basic understanding of the various methods which are used in both rural and sustainable development practice and research.
The module is intended to complement other modules in the curriculum by providing students with a range of techniques which can be utilised in gathering knowledge, undertaking analyses, reporting findings and applying knowledge. Formal lectures are supplemented by case studies and visiting speakers.

Work Placement/Internship (double module)
Each student will work with a University tutor to identify and undertake a specific piece of work either in their own workplace or in a suitable co-operating organisation that has a rural or sustainability interest. The placement must normally be completed during years 1 & 2 of the degree and will be guided by an agreed set of learning objectives and work tasks. Assessment will be based on the student’s diary or log, a final report prepared by the student and an oral presentation to students, staff and the placement mentor. This internship will offer students the opportunity to combine theory with practical tasks and to develop professional work habits.

The aim is to ensure, by the end of the programme, adequate coverage of the range of disciplines relevant to sustainable rural development. All taught modules will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and written and oral examination.

Students who attain the required standard in the six modules and submit a satisfactory research proposal may progress from the Graduate Diploma to the MSc by completion of a dissertation which is equivalent to three modules. This element of the programme involves original research including a literature review, data gathering and analysis. The research will be carried out under the supervision of a member of the academic staff from July to September (inclusive).

Up to date information on course fees can be found at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/finance/TuitionFees/

The University provides information on possible sources of awards which is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/PostgraduateCentre/PostgraduateFunding/

Additional information for International students


Applicants who are non-EEA nationals must satisfy the UK Border Agency (UKBA) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes, by providing evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

*Taken within the last 2 yrs.

Please see http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs for more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals.

Visit the MSc Leadership for Sustainable Rural Development page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!





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