Sustainable Rural Development MSc
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What is special about this course?
If you want to progress into a managerial role in rural development, this postgraduate course in Sustainable Rural Development is for you.
You will study social, environmental, economic and professional development, and community engagement issues in the context of managing rural development.
The MSc Sustainable Rural Development can be studied online from anywhere in the world.
- Gain practical experience in understanding current rural development issues and working with communities
- Develop key research and policy skills
- Study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards the PgCert, PgDip or full masters degree
- Study online, full time or part time when and where it suits you, within the UK and internationally
- Honours degree or ordinary degree in a relevant subject
- Postgraduate diploma or professional qualification in a relevant subject
- Other qualifications will be considered if accompanied by a minimum of three years' relevant professional experience
- A bridging module is available to people with substantial professional experience, but no undergraduate degree
*Funding support notice*
A limited number of funded places are available for full-time, Scottish or EU fee status students.
Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scottish domiciled and EU students)
Loans for tuition fees are available from SAAS for eligible Scotland domiciled and EU students, and loans for living costs for eligible Scottish students.
(see fees/funding tab for more information)
Core modules are:
- Local economic development
- Developing communities
- Communities and nature
Option modules, from which you must choose three, include:
- Biodiversity management
- Developing potential through placement
- Environmental and Social issues in mountain areas
- Policy analysis
- Research methods and techniques (strongly recommended if you intend to continue to MSc)
- Sustainable tourism
- Sustainable land use and renewable energy in rural Scotland
- Sustainable development
- An elective may also be taken from any of the university's masters programmes, e.g. other research skills, modules such as qualitative inquiry or quantitative research and data management
To achieve the award of MSc Sustainable Rural Development you must complete a research dissertation.
How will I study my course?
- You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
- Part-time (structured)
- Part-time (unstructured)
- A fully online induction web resource is available to all new students and you are encouraged to refer to this during your first term in particular. An optional two-day induction is also available each September in Inverness, Scotland
How long will my course last?
- Full-time: 2 years @ 40 hours per week
- Part-time (structured): 3-4 years @ 12 hours per week per module
- Part-time (unstructured): 6 years (maximum) @ 6 hours per week per module
The number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in studying the learning resources provided and your own time spent on individual study and research.
Where can I study my course?
- Lews Castle College UHI
Fees payable for this online postgraduate course depend on your assessed fee status:
|2020-21||Scottish (SC) and EU (EU)*||Rest of UK (RUKO ) and EU (EUO**)||International (INTO)**|
|Per module (20 credits)||£560||£650||£980|
|Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits)||£1,680||£1,950||£2,940|
|Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits)||£3,360||£3,900||£5,880|
|Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation)||£5,000||£5,850||£8,820|
|2019-20||Scottish (SC) and EU (EU)*||Rest of UK (RUKO ) and EU (EUO**)||International (INTO)**|
|Per module (20 credits)||£560||£650||£960|
|Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits)||£1,680||£1,950||£2,880|
|Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits)||£3,360||£3,900||£5,760|
|Masters degree (60 modules + dissertation)||£5,000||£5,850||£8,640|
*EU students with a term-time address in Scotland.
** EU or international students studying from their own country.
Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.
This course is not open to international students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK
The university is pleased to offer a limited numbers of places with full tuition fee support for Scottish/EU students, studying full time, on this course starting in September to help talented students join this key growth sector for the Scottish economy. Fees will be funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programmes.
To be eligible for this funding students must meet the criteria for Scottish or EU fee status and be resident in the Highlands and Islands (including Moray) or Perth and Kinross for the duration of their studies. In accordance with funding regulations, tuition fee support will only be available to students who meet the funding eligibility criteria and are self-funding i.e. who are not in receipt of funding for tuition fees from other sources, including employers. Funded places will be allocated and successful applicants notified from March onwards, available places will continue to be allocated throughout the recruitment cycle. There is no separate application process, applicants holding an offer will be considered against the eligibility rules.
Applications are welcome from all suitably qualified applicants. Students who do not meet the eligibility for the tuition fee support, or are not successful in being allocated one of the limited places, will be responsible for paying their own fees. However there are other potential sources of funding support available.
From 2017, eligible Scotland domiciled students studying full time can access loans up to 10,000 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This comprises a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. EU students studying full time can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £5500.
Part-time students undertaking any taught postgraduate course over two years up to Masters level who meet the residency eligibility can apply for a for a tuition fee loan up to £2,750 per year.
Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.
Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company
What can I do on completion of my course?
On successful completion of the course, you will be equipped to take up management positions, both at home and abroad, in:
- The public sector (e.g. local authorities, public utilities etc)
- Non-governmental development organisations
- International development agencies
- Community trusts and community development organisations
- Conservation agencies
- Environmental consultants
- Tourism heritage attractions
- National parks and countryside parks
- Secondary school teaching on completion of a PGDE
- Research and development
Is there more information available online?
You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.
What our students, graduates and staff say
I looked at several courses before deciding to undertake the MSc with the university. The course content has greatly increased my knowledge of sustainable economic development in rural areas. I was partly sponsored by my employer, HIE, and this allowed me to study and continue working at the same time. Gaining the MSc was a huge personal achievement and the structure of the course made it possible. It was hard work but a lot of fun!
Rona Campbell, MSc Sustainable Rural Development graduate, Inverness
For the last 25 years I have been involved with the development of rural communities from the agency and community perspective. Maintaining my involvement with the rural sector means I bring significant real-life experience and knowledge to the course.
Dr Michael Smith SFHEA, FRGS, MSc Sustainable Rural Development course leader
It’s incredible to think that I could access a world class masters programme from my own home, in a rural community, in another country! It really shows the potential that new technologies offer rural dwellers and communities if we are brave enough to utilise them.
The programme brought the practical application of rural development theory to life and I learned a huge amount about the design and implementation of rural development strategies, which I have already put to use within my working environment.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the programme was the opportunity to discuss and debate issues with students from all over the world and to learn about rural development from their country’s perspectives.
Seamus Doran, from County Wexford, Ireland, graduated from the MSc Sustainable Rural Development.
Apply for Sustainable Rural Development MSc
We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.