Rural communities face a plethora of challenges; increasing population, pressure for development, the depletion of natural resources, and the impacts of oil production and climate change. They must develop their management of natural resources sustainably, whilst also increasing food production. The theme of human exploitation of resources and the global implications of human development underpins this MSc in International Rural Development.
MSc International Rural Development graduates have
entered careers in:
• Research and consultancy
• Policy formulation
• Project management
• International organisations
• Government departments
• National agencies
• Research institutions
• Commercial companies worldwide
Who is the course for?
This MSc course meets the needs of recent graduates, those working in rural development wishing to further their career prospects, as well as those seeking a career change. This course enables students to develop their knowledge to significantly contribute to rural community development.
The course may be studied full-time over 12 months or part-time over two years.
Students will study five core modules and three elective modules, followed by the Research Project on a topic related to one of the key themes of the course. The Research Project is carried out over the summer to be submitted in September. It will be presented as a review of the topic and as a research paper.
Students will gain a broader understanding of the relevant issues through lectures, case studies, seminars and management projects. This approach fosters teamwork and complements individual study and student learning.
The course is available to start in either September or January
Modules will be taught in 10 week blocks.
Students will study four modules in the autumn term followed by four modules in the spring term, and complete their Research Project by the end of September.
Students will study four modules in the spring term, complete their Research Project by the end of September, and study four modules in the autumn term.
Development Project Management
Poverty and Food Security
Agricultural and Rural Policy
Economics of the Environment
Natural Resource Appraisal
Plus THREE additional modules, selected from:
Climate Change and Development
Natural Resource Management
Sustainable Rural Tourism
Fisheries and Aquaculture Management
Integrated Agricultural Systems
Small Scale Farming and
Local Food Supply
Organic Agricultural Systems
The student view
I was working as a Senior Agricultural Economist at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa when I decided to pursue the MSc International Rural Development at the Royal Agricultural University
The reputation of the University, and in particular the high employability rate for graduates, really attracted me to undertake the programme.
The MSc gave me a thorough understanding of the complexities within the rural landscape, which is crucial for a development practitioner to understand. The placement at the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction was a highlight of the course, with many great networking opportunities.
I completed my research project on ‘Drought preparedness, impact and response: A case of the Eastern Cape and Free State provinces of South Africa’,
which was published in the Journal of Disaster Risk Studies (Jamba) in 2012.
Upon graduation I was promoted to Deputy Director responsible for facilitating extension partnerships in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sector. In this role, I also serve as a focal person for the National Forum for Extension and Advisory Services in South Africa.
Honours degree at upper second level or an HND award with a Distinction profile. Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered for entry.