MSc(Agr) Rural Environmental Conservation & Management

Academic Year 2020/2021

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The Masters in Rural Environmental Conservation & Management enables students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the rural landscape, the environmental challenges facing it and to develop the necessary skill set to respond to these challenges. This is facilitated through an integrated assessment of the complex relationships between land management practices (particularly agricultural practices), environmental conditions (climatic, geological etc), national and international policy, and the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within the rural landscape.

Download the course brochure (pdf)

  • The emphasis placed on understanding the implications (positive and negative) of agricultural management on natural and cultural resources, makes this a unique programme in the area of rural conservation and management.
  • Students have the opportunity to undertake field trips, will acquire practical field skills such as plant identification, and have an opportunity to implement these skills within projects.
  • Students will receive contributions from a range of experts relevant to rural conservation management.

Careers & Employability

Graduates from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science respond to many of the major global challenges such as population growth, global warming, biodiversity, food security and food and health issues. Consequently, the opportunities for graduates globally in this discipline are excellent.

There are a range of potential employers for graduates from this programme including government departments, local authorities, county councils, Environmental Protection Agencies and a range of national and international NGOs. In addition, suitable candidates may progress to PhD study.

Curricular information is subject to change


Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This MSc (Agr) Rural Environmental Conservation & Management is designed for those interested in the management and sustainable use of our natural resources and the rural environment. It is equally appropriate for those currently working within the agri-environment sector and who wish to upskill, or for graduates who wish to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to gain employment within this challenging but very rewarding area.

This flexible programme (both full and part-time) is designed for postgraduate students who wish to undertake further studies in pursuit of a career in the agricultural and environmental sciences. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationships between land management practices and the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within the rural landscape and thus the underpinning objectives and practical implementation of agri-environmental policy at farm and landscape scales. The programme fosters in its graduates the qualities of self-motivation and critical thinking. For those with an inquiring mind, a deeper understanding of scientific principles relevant in solving agri-environmental and food security concerns is provided, which in combination with understanding of effective policy-making, leads to sustainable management practice. The programme structure is supportive of guided self-learning and provides the opportunity to develop key management skills across the agri-environmental sciences. Core elements of the programme include: literature review & knowledge assimilation; core lab, field & IT skills (including use of GIS and remote sensing software); experimental/survey design & quantitative data analysis; written and verbal communication skills. Use is made of individual and group work assignments designed to develop individual, teamwork and leadership skills. A major research project of choice completed in latter stages of the programme allows students to put these skills into practice. 

  • Understand and interpret environmental issues and challenges of food production and security, and appreciate the objectives of national, EU and international policy.
  • Appreciate the functional benefits of biological diversity and natural ecological processes within managed rural ecosystems
  • Demonstrate competency in the use of core lab, field and IT (GIS) skills in scientific study and evaluation.
  • Devise and interpret agri-environmental studies/evaluations involving the collection, appropriate analysis and reporting of resulting observations.
  • Interpret the historic and complex relationships between farm management practice and the nature and ecological status of rural ecosystems.
  • Implement the aims of national, EU and international environmental policy legislation relevant to farming.
  • Demonstrate practical skills in floral, faunal and habitat identification and inventory.
  • Demonstrate practical skills in the identification and management of archeological field monuments and heritage sites.
  • Demonstrate advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of key challenges associated with the conservation and sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within rural ecosystems.
  • Critically evaluate scientific literature, identify knowledge gaps and develop and implement appropriate methodologies to address these.
  • Competently apply appropriate statistical analyses and confidently interpret the findings of these analyses.
  • Appreciate the functional benefits of biological diversity and natural ecological processes within managed rural ecosystems
  • Competently apply appropriate statistical analyses and confidently interpret the findings of these analyses.
  • Critically evaluate scientific literature, identify knowledge gaps and develop and implement appropriate methodologies to address these.
  • Demonstrate advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of key challenges associated with the conservation and sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within rural ecosystems.
  • Demonstrate competency in the use of core lab, field and IT (GIS) skills in scientific study and evaluation.
  • Demonstrate practical skills in floral, faunal and habitat identification and inventory.
  • Demonstrate practical skills in the identification and management of archeological field monuments and heritage sites.
  • Devise and interpret agri-environmental studies/evaluations involving the collection, appropriate analysis and reporting of resulting observations.
  • Implement the aims of national, EU and international environmental policy legislation relevant to farming.
  • Interpret the historic and complex relationships between farm management practice and the nature and ecological status of rural ecosystems.
  • Understand and interpret environmental issues and challenges of food production and security, and appreciate the objectives of national, EU and international policy.

View All Modules Here

Students must complete 60 credits of Taught Modules. In addition to the 60 credits of taught modules, students registered to the Masters must complete a 30 credit Minor Thesis.

MSc(Agr) Rural Environmental Conservation & Management (D029) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4435
nonEU    fee per year - € 12800

MSc(Agr) Rural Environmental Conservation & Management (D054) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 8875
nonEU    fee per year - € 25600

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

  • Applicants must hold hold the equivalent of a minimum Lower Second Class Honours Degree (NFQ Level 8), or international equivalent, in a Biological Science, Environmental Science or Animal Science degree programme from a recognised higher education institution.
  • Applicants from other disciplines may be considered if they include strong evaluation, analytical and communication skills and have experience of working in the area.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Applications are not currently open