Visit here for information on how to apply, entry requirements and assessment.

Find out about Programme Content and Module Descriptions

Rural Sustainability

Programme Overview

This Masters Programme comes when there is increasing attention being placed upon the role and function of rural economies and societies. The development agenda for rural areas within a rapidly-changing context for agriculture and the broader countryside sees pressures to achieve economic competitiveness and efficiency balanced with concerns relating to food security, environmental protection and climate change, and where questions of equality, social inclusion, quality of life and the public good are central. Reflecting particularly the globalizing nature of agriculture and rural development processes, the MA in Rural Sustainability addresses the nature of rural and agricultural change not only across a range of dimensions (economic, social, political, cultural), but also scales (local, national, global), locations (Europe and beyond), and interfaces (e.g. human and non-human).  As such, it situates itself within the context of leading contemporary and emerging thinking and research on the rural, drawing on concepts and theories, as well as methodologies and practices that critically engage with these varied dimensions of the rural.

Rural Community Service Learning

Rural community Service Learning is a key element of the MA in Rural Sustainability that links our students with relevant community-based organisations, collaborating with them to deliver an agreed rural sustainability project within the time frame of the module.  Pedagogically, students draw from completed class-based learning on rural sustainability, and apply this in community based problem solving contexts, progressing to evaluate and synthesis knowledge in real-life settings.    

Service Learning 2013-2014 – Claregalway Historical and Cultural Society


The MA students, 2013-2014 worked closely with the Claregalway Historical and Cultural Society to carry out a collection of interviews, which revealed just some of the ways in which Claregalway facilitates what Edward Relph described as an ‘extended’ sense of place – one that promotes inclusionary attitudes towards place and welcomes diversity.  

International Field Based Learning

Field Learning 01  Field Learning 02

Over the past two years, the MA students have completed a week-long field-based learning programme in the Czech Republic, which has exposed them to examples of rural development, sustainability and globalisation that occur in specific locations and under particular sets of processes and conditions.  The experience has developed the students’ critical, independent thinking on rural sustainability, and their capacity to apply conceptual/theoretical learning through immersion in an international context.