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Rural Business Management MSc

Course Description

This on-line distance learning course has been developed by SRUC (validating body is the University of Glasgow) to meet an identified need for post graduate qualified people in the rural business sector.

Business managers in the rural sector must anticipate and respond to national and international change. Consequently, these managers must have the intellect, business and personal skills to meet the challenges ahead, and respond to these challenges either by rationalisation and intensification, by diversification or by the pursuit of new rural-based or land-based activities.

Over 13% of people employed in rural areas are in the managerial/professional sector which benefits from continuing professional development and improved business and managerial skills. Whatever the response to the current economic climate and pressures for change, managers of exceptional skill and flexibility will be required to meet the new challenges.

It is expected that the course will enhance the employability of students, providing them with improved business, management and leadership skills.

The course will prepare students for a role in management in land-based industries, both at the primary end of the production chain as well as the value added, distribution and retailing end of the supply chain. It will also provide entrepreneurial and business development skills to practitioners in other rural business sectors, including tourism, forestry, fishing, consultancy and social enterprise.

Programme Duration
The programme will normally be studied part-time by on-line distance learning. The usual period of study will be as follows:
Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) - 1 year of part-time study
Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) - 2 years of part-time study
Master of Science (MSc) - 3 years of part-time study

Open Evening

MSc Rural Business Management (by Distance Learning) Open Evening - Wednesday 30 July, 6:00-8:00pm

Come along and discuss this innovative masters programme over a glass of wine and some nibbles with the friendly staff at SRUC Aberdeen.

Course Content

The programme will be studied part-time by on-line distance learning. However, study week-ends are seen as an important part of the learning experience. They are used to start off the modules, organise any exams and take part in industry visits, but more crucially they offer the opportunity for students to form the groups that will support them through their learning experience.

The usual period of study will be as follows:
Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) - 1 year of part-time study
Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) - 2 years of part-time study
Master of Science (MSc) - 3 years of part-time study

The programme consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation. Taught modules are:

Food and Agricultural Policy

This module will develop an understanding of the policies impacting on the length of the food chain, from agriculture production, through business development to consumer issues. Local, national and international policy developments will be covered, including the EU, the Americas and the rest of the world, focussing on how they may impact on a rural business.

Marketing & E-Commerce

Through understanding the concepts, principles and techniques of marketing management, this module will allow students to understand how this can be applied in the context of the rural business sector. Alongside the marketing content, the e-commerce opportunities gained by having an on-line presence, in terms of both a business’s website and through social media, will be explored. The e-commerce component of this module will identify, firstly, how existing business strategies can be enhanced and, secondly, how e-commerce can be implemented as a ‘stand-alone’ strategy for the rural business.

Rural Development

This module will develop the business manager’s awareness of the ways in which rural businesses are influenced by external factors and how they link with the rural economy.

Managing Strategic Change

Through developing an understanding of two key sub-disciplines of management, strategic management and operations management, this module will allow students to apply the theoretical concepts in a rural context. First, the different stages and processes of strategic management will be detailed. Secondly, the critical principles of operations management will be explored.

Business Planning & Decision Making

Financial planning and analysis is an essential component of successful rural business management. The applied nature of this course allows students to choose a business with which they are familiar thus making the experience relevant to their own work environment. This module will assist in the process of formulating a business plan to a professional standard, suitable for submission to a potential lender. The process of planning and control, and assessing the financial consequences of that plan will also be covered in the module.

Contemporary Rural Issues

Through building on ‘Rural Development’, this module will explore the diversity of rural business contexts. To a large extent the content of this module will be identified by the student cohort, who will identify issues relevant to them. However, there will be clear expectations in terms of depth of understanding, ability to defend a point of view and the ability to present and discuss the issue.

Professional Workplace Management

Through outlining the key processes of project management together with the fundamental principles of human resource management, this module will allow students to examine effective communication, staff management issues and ethical issues. These will allow students to understand the skills and qualities necessary to successfully manage a business.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

This module will build on work developed in the Rural Development module and run along side the Professional Workplace Management module. It encourages students to look outside their previous workplace experience and understand the value of innovation and entrepreneurship to a business.

Methods and Delivery

Four Year 1 modules make up the PG Cert award (totalling 60 credit points); Years 1 and 2 modules, a total of eight, make up the PG Dip award (totalling 120 credit points); and the MSc award is made up of all modules, including a dissertation (totalling 180 credit points). Modules will be assessed by a mixture of exams and/or a variety of different types of coursework.

Course materials are delivered online, supplemented by online tutorials and introduced during the study weekends. Students are expected to attend at least two study weekends in September and February.

Visit the Rural Business Management MSc page on the SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A postgraduate degree from a recognised institution. Applications from mature students with extensive work experience are also welcome. The programme is taught and assessed in English.

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Recipient: SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College
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