GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development

Academic Year 2020/2021

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

The Grad Dip in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development represents a return to core values in the development of rural areas which are rooted in agricultural change as well as responding to new societal demands such as safe and ethically produced food, a healthier environment and sustainable and affordable energy.

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.

This programme is designed and delivered in a way that builds capabilities in core analytical, conceptual, communications and research skills, as well as providing the knowledge base required to develop careers in the broad area of sustainable agriculture and rural development. Graduates of this programme typically find employment in government, agricultural and rural development agencies, local development agencies, NGOs involved in rural development, as well as donor agencies and international development organisations.

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. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

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

The Grad Dip Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development is designed to accommodate applicants with a range of academic qualifications including life sciences, humanities, arts and business. Applicants are usually expected to have an honours university degree.  Exceptions can be made for graduates with a pass university-level degree combined with substantial relevant professional or voluntary experience.

The Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development offers an oppurtunity for students to equip themselves with some the requisite skills and knowledge base to develop careers in the broad arena of rural and community development. The goal of the programmes is to prepare graduates for roles  in local, national and international development settings.  This is achieved by strengthening their capabilities in the relevant analytical, communications and entrepreneurship skills, underpinned by the provision of an enhanced understanding of the theory, policy and practice of rural development.  The learning environment fosters individual and group-based activities, which develop students’ skills of inquiry, critical thinking, self-directed and collaborative learning.  A variety of teaching and learning approaches are used including group project work, student presentations, individual assignments, field trips and case study work.   

  • Understand the key principles and practices that make agriculture sustainable;
  • Demonstrate enhanced problem-solving skills for application to issues in agriculture and rural development and the ability to formulate/evaluate potential solutions
  • Understand and interpret strategies applied in achieving the objectives of SARD in Irish, EU and developing country contexts.
  • Understand of the nature and practice of rural diversification;
  • Plan and implement strategic communications campaigns in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) settings;
  • Understand the context within which sustainable agriculture and rural development related policies are devised
  • Demonstrate enhanced problem-solving skills for application to issues in agriculture and rural development and the ability to formulate/evaluate potential solutions
  • Plan and implement strategic communications campaigns in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) settings
  • Understand and interpret strategies applied in achieving the objectives of SARD in Irish, EU and internationally
  • Understand the nature and practice of rural diversification
  • Understand the context within which sustainable agriculture and rural development related policies are devised
  • Understand the key principles and practices that make agriculture sustainable

GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development (X449) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 5780
nonEU    fee per year - € 17070

GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development (X450) Part Time
EU          Year 1 - € 3095
EU          Year 2 - € 3095 aa
nonEU    Year 1 - € 8535
nonEU    Year 2 - € 8535

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2020 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2019/20
***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 a minimum of a second class honours degree, or international equivalent, in a range of subject areas including life sciences, humanities, arts and business.
  • 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.

  • Graduate Profile - Mary Maina

    I was working as a fertilizer market analyst at International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) Nairobi, Kenya and felt the MSc (Agr) Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development at UCD offered me an opportunity to acquire the skills needed to assist farmers in

    Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to address the challenges facing them in sustainably achieving food security.

    The MSARD programme offers a unique opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to develop their social skills, to understand sustainability along the agricultural value chain and the immense potential of rural areas beyond agricultural production. The programme is well delivered by experienced lecturers with up-to-date reading materials and well-planned field visits. It allows room for constructive criticism, is very informative and passionately delivered.

    My career objective is to enable smallholder farmers to sustainably achieve food security, improve their livelihoods and cope with shocks. This programme has provided me with the initial foundation required to drive my career in my desired direction.

    Graduate Profile - Niamh Flannely

    After completing my undergrad degree at UCD in Horticulture, Landscape and Sportsturf Management, I successfully secured a place in the MSc (Agr) Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development programme. I had developed a keen interest in food production in the final year of my undergrad. With pressing issues around climate change and food security, the SARD programme gave me the skills and knowledge needed to work within the food production industry.

    What I enjoyed most about the programme was the wide range of backgrounds of the students which brought many ideas and experiences from all corners of the world. The quality of modules and lectures were excellent along with topical material, field trips and guest speakers. The modules are valuable in developing your skill sets before you undertake your dissertation where you can focus on your own research interests.

    The following entry routes are available:

    Grad Dip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development FT (X449)
    Duration
    1 Years
    Attendance
    Full Time
    Deadline
    Rolling *
    Grad Dip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development PT (X450)
    Duration
    2 Years
    Attendance
    Part Time
    Deadline
    Rolling *

    * Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised