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Rural Development (BSc (Hons))


Programme Description

This web-based course targets people involved in rural development in a professional or voluntary capacity. It provides the knowledge and skills to manage all aspects of local/rural development initiatives.

The BSc degree is an access qualification pathway for mature students active in the development of rural areas. Graduates will learn the skills necessary to initiate and manage local rural development.

Participants can qualify with a diploma after two years of part-time study. After successful completion of the first level of the course, student may continue to earn a degree with a minimum of a further two years of study.

Topics covered include:

  • Rural Development
  • Marketing for Rural Enterprise
  • Setting up a Rural Development Organisation
  • Stimulating Rural Enterprise
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Designing & Managing an Area Development Plan
  • Gender Equality Issues in Rural Development
  • Fieldwork Project
  • SME Development
  • Project Planning & Development
  • Information Technology
  • Public & Social Policy Processes
  • Rural Labour Markets
  • Community Education
  • Socio-Economic Research

See the College Calendar for additional information on the Programme.

Why Choose This Course

This course is an access qualification pathway for mature students, aimed at people who are active in the development of rural areas. It is a web-based distance-learning degree course.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduates of this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of the theory and practice underpinning sustainable rural development;
  • Describe and appraise the current framework for rural development policy, the process for policy formulation and trends within a local, national and European context;
  • Research rural problems, interpret contemporary challenges facing rural communities, and propose and implement appropriate solutions;
  • Apply participative, socially inclusive practices of rural development;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge and skills required to establish and manage a successful rural enterprise;
  • Identify and evaluate issues of equality, social inclusion and poverty in the context of rural development;
  • Understand the economic, environmental and social criteria that may be used to determine sustainability (for agriculture and more generally rural development).
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Communicate and work effectively to a professional standard;
  • Demonstrate analytical and problem solving skills associated with effective practice;
  • Engage in the application of frameworks and techniques in organisational settings;
  • Understand and implement appropriate strategies for sustainable rural development;
  • Be familiar with the organisational structures most appropriate for sustainable rural development.
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Practicalities & Assessment

This is a web-based distance-learning course. Participants can qualify with a diploma after two years of part-time study. After successful completion of the first level of the course, students may continue to earn a degree with a minimum of a further two years of study.

See here for details on assessment for Rural Development modules.

Full module information is detailed in the section below.

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Entry Requirements

Normally, applicants will be required to be at least 23 years old on 1st January of the year of enrolment and have at least two years' experience in either a voluntary or professional capacity in a rural development organisation.

This course is a mature student access qualification pathway for adults active in the development of rural areas. Application forms are available from Mary O’Shaughnessy, Department of Food Business and Development/Centre for Co-operative Studies, UCC. Email:

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

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Application Process

EU Applicants should email

International students should visit the International office .

Non-EU Applications

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

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New Leaving Cert Scale

Revised Common Points Scale for Entry into Higher Education

The revised scale, which has been developed collaboratively by the universities and institutes of technology, builds on the package of reforms announced by the Minister in April, and will apply to students who sit the Leaving Certificate from 2017.

The main features of the new scale are that:

  • it maintains the current alignment between the points awarded for achievement at Higher Level and the points awarded for achievement at Ordinary Level;
  • the difference in the points awarded for each grade varies, reducing the probability that students will achieve the same overall points score. This will help to minimise the allocation of places in higher education by random selection;
  • it will encourage the take-up of Higher Level subjects through the introduction of points for the new H7 grade.
  • it continues to award Bonus Points for Higher Level Maths


For more information on the new grading scale for leaving certificate students at UCC