BSc Rural Development
Diploma in Rural Development

Course overview

The Certificate, Diploma and BSc in Rural Development reflect a creative distance-learning multi-university approach to studying changing economic, social and environmental issues in rural areas. The programme will provide students with a sound theoretical and applied knowledge of all aspects of Rural Development. The course modules are complemented by online teaching and weekend workshops at the participating universities. In addition, the programme provides the option for continuing professional development on a module by module basis. 

Who is the course intended for?


The course is targeted towards mature learners seeking a third level qualification with an interest in rural affairs and community development as well as Rural Enterprise managers and entrepreneurs, Enterprise support and Local authority staff and Rural and Community Development activists seeking continuing professional development opportunities. 

Key facts

Entry requirements

Applicants should meet the University’s requirements for mature students, that is anyone over 23 years of age for the purposes of full-time study and 21 years for students interested in taking a course on a part-time basis.

Duration: 1 year for Certificate, 2 years, part-time for the part-time Diploma or 1 year full-time Diploma and further 2 years for the BSc

Next start date: Please contact the programme coordinator

ECTS weighting: Continuing Professional Development - 10 ECTS, Certificate - 30 ECTS, Diploma - 60 ECTS (30 per annum); Degree – 180 ECTS

Average intake: 40

Closing date: Please contact the programme coordinator

NFQ level: 8

Mode of study: Blended learning

Course outline

Level 1 Diploma (Part-time or Full-time)

Introduction to Rural Development, Rural Organisation, Rural Economy, Rural Environment, Rural Society, Communications for Rural Development

*Options: Community Education OR Social Farming OR Food Business


Level 2 Degree - Full-time

Year 1

Rural Research Methods, Integrated Rural Development Policy, Rural Enterprise, Integrated Rural Community Planning, Professional Placement.

*Options: Rural Tourism OR Renewable Energy OR Social Economy

Year 2

Marketing & Business Skills for Rural Enterprise, Financial Management, Project Planning and Development, Research Project/Minor Thesis

*Options: Marine and Natural Resources OR ICT and Rural Development OR Conservation & Management of the Rural Landscape OR Eco-politics of food and nutrition


*Not offered in all years and subject to min. enrolment


Applications and selections

Apply here for BR3 - Certificate in Rural Development

Apply here for BR4 - Bachelor of Science (Rural Development) modular


Dr. Nadine Jeserich, Programme Coordinator
School of Business and Economics
NUI Galway
T: + 353
91 492177 

Requirements and assessment

Students are required to attend the 5-6 weekend workshops at the participating universities between September and April, engage with the online learning system (Blackboard) and carry out regular assignments. All modules are individually assessed. Typically this assessement consists of assignments and end-of-year/end-of-semester written tests.

Find out more

Dr Hugh Kelley, Director
Dr. Nadine Jeserich, Programme Coordinator
School of Business and Economics 
NUI Galway 

T: + 353 91 492177 

Fees for this course

Current students

Pat Talty

Rural Development

"... Following the untimely death of my father in 1979 I was unable to continue formal education and took over the running of the family dairy farm at the age of 18. However, I always maintained an interest and involvement in rural affairs and was an active member in IFA.   The BSc in Rural Development, delivered through distance learning and monthly workshops, enabled me to return to education and obtain a degree in 2006. The course has equipped me with the knowledge, skills, confidence and understanding of rural issues and I now combine my dairy enterprise with a supervisory post with Clare Local Development Company ..."