Course Overview

Rural issues have moved to the top of the international agenda in terms of delivering sustainability on key resources and supporting populations. This MA is a full-time graduate course delivered over three semesters, directed primarily at graduates from the social sciences interested in furthering their knowledge and ability to impact on rural processes, policy and practice. It addresses the continued importance of agriculture and farming as a key sector.

The role and functionality of rural space continues to alter and evolve in response to global processes and trends linked to economic activity in particular. While some areas expand and prosper, others face serious questions about their future sustainability in social and economic terms. To this end, debates continue around the ability of rural areas to realise and reinforce their viability, along with critical questions on what is meant by viability in a rural context. The ongoing importance of agriculture and farming as a key sector must be acknowledged. In recent times, a focus on multifunctionality as the way to ensure rural sustainability has had to be balanced by concerns around subsidisation, resource exploitation and environmental degradation. Other critical issues are also central to this sustainability debate. In a globalizing era, rural localities represent sites through which flows of capital, goods, services, knowledge, people and skills present new challenges and opportunities in equal measure with tensions and conflicts. From this perspective, change and development linked to globalising forces is highly context-specific, a dynamic process of reimagining and remaking rural place that can be negotiated and manipulated. This leads to related questions around the ability (as opposed to the frequently-stated desirability) of rural areas and rural populations to shape their own development trajectories, the nature of required development interventions, and the appropriate scales at which these ought to be delivered.

This MA Programme, theoretically informed and with a strong field-based and applied focus, is offered in direct response to these newly emerging discourses on the sustainability agenda for rural areas. It seeks to challenge and facilitate students to engage with but go beyond established conceptual and theoretical perspectives, engage new ways of understanding and dealing with contemporary rural complexities, and develop critical insights that can support policy and practice in sustaining the rural environment.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre(PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr Maura Farrell
  • Dr John McDonagh
  • Dr Marie Mahon
  • Staff from the Discipline of Geography 

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree, Second Class Honours, or equivalent, with a 2:1 in Geography or a related subject. Selection is based on a candidate’s academic record at undergraduate level, statement of intent and academic letters of recommendation.

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

12

Closing Date

Please view offer rounds website

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

MA

CAO

PAC code

GYA95

Course Outline

CourseSemesterECTS

Conceptualizing the Rural—Policy, Strategy and Governance

1 10
The Multifunctional Countryside 1 10
Research Methodologies; Practising Rural Geography 1 10
Rural Development and Communication for Rural Innovation 10
Rural Community and Field-based Learning 2 20
Dissertation (Research Paper)

2 (May–August)

30

Modules for 2017-18

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required TI507: Research Methodologies: Practising Rural Geography


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI507: "Research Methodologies: Practising Rural Geography" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI505: Rural Development & Communication for Rural Innovation


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module will explore the idea that sustainable rural development has become a key dimension of EU, national, regional, and local discourse in recent years. Recognized as a multi-dimensional and complex process, this module will address the complexity of rural development by investigating different understandings of what rural development entails; different processes and practices of rural development and, at a more conceptual level, the theory and ideas that inform understandings and perceptions of rural development. As a second entity of the module the concept of communications for rural development will be explored. This model of facilitating knowledge transfer evolves from the work of the traditional extension adviser to the individual whose work focuses on the deliberate use of communication to stimulate change.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify and discuss the principal theoretical approaches applied in rural development
  2. Evaluate the narrative of rural development in a European context and the politics of rural sustainability
  3. Discuss and evaluate rural governance – community development and Leader
  4. Deconstruct the evolving conceptions of extension
  5. Explore and analyse the relations between human practice, knowledge and communication
  6. Examine Innovation as a process of network building, social learning and negotiation
  7. Identify and illustrate the potential of basic media, methods and process management for rural innovation
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI505: "Rural Development & Communication for Rural Innovation" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6111: International Field Course - Globalizing Rural


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6111: "International Field Course - Globalizing Rural" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI502: Dissertation (Research Paper)


Trimester 3 | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI502: "Dissertation (Research Paper)" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI506: The Multifunctional Countryside


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This modules evolves from the appreciation that one of the most compelling theoretical models to emerge in recent years has been the productivist/post productivist/multifunctionality model, which delineates the transition of agricultural regimes from productivism or intensive agriculture to post-productivism or extensive agriculture and in turn to a multifunctional agriculture regime. The module will consist of a series of elements which include; an exploration of how farm families operate in a complex and ever-changing market and policy environment and an exploration of a variety of dimensions of multifunctionality, such as; forestry, agritourism, environmental quality, off-farm activity and artisanal food production.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Apply critical thinking to the theoretical conceptualizations of agricultural change
  2. Explore and analyse the challenges and opportunities facing the farm community
  3. Identify the significance of the concept of multifunctionality within the European countryside
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI506: "The Multifunctional Countryside" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6121: Geographic Studies Abroad


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

As part of their participation in an international exchange programme, students involved in a Master’s programme in Geography are invited to participate in module-based activities at a third level institution abroad. The module based activities relate to three key strands of research in the fields of: Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes; and Rural Sustainability. These activities will be supervised jointly by academic staff at the host institution and at NUI Galway.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Examine interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and engage with geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context; including international planning practices and instruments
  3. Critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments in an non-Irish context and apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral region
  4. Relate academic and policy material to developments in the fields of Environment, Society and Development ; Marine and Coastal Processes; or Rural Sustainability
  5. Effectively communicate information and arguments in a variety of forms
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6121: "Geographic Studies Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6120: Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad


Semester 2 | Credits: 30

Students enrolled in a Master’s programme within Geography at NUI Galway can conduct the research towards their Master’s dissertation as part of an international exchange programme. Such activities will be jointly supervised by staff in the host institution and at NUI Galway. This module guides students through an extended period of research and towards the writing of a major independent project. As such, it is an integral part of a student’s university education in that it teaches organisational and research skills, as well as skills critical for any career path. The module is specifically for students who would like to undertake independent research in the fields of Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes or Rural Sustainability.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conduct supervised research on key identified interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and evaluate geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context
  3. Demonstrate independent thinking and critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments
  4. Apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral, coastal region and research key processes that shape such regions
  5. Explore, synthesise, and critique academic material while relating it to advancements in the fields of Environment, Society and Development, Marine and Coastal processes or Rural Sustainability
  6. Analyse data and communicate their findings in an effective manner to a range of audiences
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6120: "Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI503: Conceptualising the Rural - Policy, Strategy & Governance


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI503: "Conceptualising the Rural - Policy, Strategy & Governance" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6122: Tourism, Networks and Clusters for Rural Development


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Tourism is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing industries today. The magnitude of the tourism industry inevitably produces economic, political, social, cultural and ecological consequences, each of which must be understood if they are to be dealt with and managed sustainably. Significant reductions in the cost of international travel and increased leisure time, particularly in contemporary western societies, have contributed to an increase in the flows of tourists internationally. World Tourism Organisation figures show that tourism is one of the fastest growing service sectors internationally and its influence extends well beyond the economic realm. Society, culture, the built and natural environments are also impacted to varying degrees. This course will engage with the relationships between tourism and rural areas. Particular attention will be given to the role of networks and clusters in sustainable rural tourism planning and development. Various types of rural tourism will also be discussed in terms of their role in rural development.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the key features of contemporary tourism
  2. Demonstrate an advanced level of understanding of the spatial processes at work
  3. Consider critically the role of networks and clusters in tourism and their contribution towards rural development
  4. Support individual study and research by providing a knowledge base and understanding of the role of theory and concepts in the context of the geography of tourism
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Geography of Tourism and Recreation" by Hall, D. and Page, M.
    Publisher: Routledge
  2. "Critical Issues in Tourism: a Geographical Perspective" by Shaw, G. and Williams, A.M.
    Publisher: Blackwell
The above information outlines module TI6122: "Tourism, Networks and Clusters for Rural Development " and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional FD1600: Essential Trainer Skills


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

In this module you will learn how to identify training needs and how to plan and design training courses. You will learn how to create positive learning environments, deliver effective training, use different delivery methods and evaluate the overall effectiveness of your training.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate broad, up-to-date, general knowledge and specialised knowledge of adult learning theories, adult learning styles, pedagogical approaches, the systematic training cycle and how they are applied in professional practice.
  2. Evaluate the implications for teaching and learning roles, learning theories, learning contexts and their application to teaching and learning for diverse adult learners in the further education sector.
  3. Select and apply advanced skills to analyse and respond to learning needs that are underpinned by evidence-based conclusions and that take due account of social, disciplinary and ethical insights.
  4. Apply a systematic approach to identifying training needs, designing constructively aligned course content, selecting delivery methods and evaluating and assessing learning outcomes;
  5. Exercise autonomy and judgement in applying knowledge and skills in a wide range of contexts including diverse training environments.
  6. Take professional responsibility for managing the complexities of diverse training environments, foster a motivational and collaborative learning environment and communicate information effectively in the planned and purposeful delivery of training interventions, taking into account the different types of learners
  7. Reflectively appraise the knowledge and skills that contribute to successful professional development, and use this knowledge and skill to strengthen individual ability to engage in relevant learning activities that will enhance pedagogical practices, communication skills and implementation techniques.
  8. Express professional commitment to the all stakeholders to ensure quality training interventions exist which meet relevant standard including those of awarding bodies.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module FD1600: " Essential Trainer Skills " and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6123: Food and Rural Sustainability From Farm to Fork


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Food sustainability in the rural context, from the producer to consumer end of the food system, is examined in this module. The concept of sustainable agriculture is explored. It has been described as having an important role in making agricultural production both more productive and ecological. That said, debates exist around the definition of sustainable agriculture and its practical application. In addition to this, for true food sustainability it can also be argued that what happens to food beyond the farm gate must also be considered. The role of alternative food initiatives (AFIs) in contributing to rural sustainability will be examined. AFIs attempt to shift power back to producers and consumers and work to change how the food system operates, re-introducing practices that centre around more traditional, local and sustainable practices. These initiatives are often based on short food supply chains, aiming to bring producers and consumers of food closer together. Concepts and debates around sustainable food consumption will also be explored. Different approaches will be critiqued, such as the idea that the individual consumer and their consumption choices can drive change, as well as assessing the role of collective action. The food and rural sustainability policy context will also be examined looking at good practice in Ireland and internationally.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the global agri-food system and its implications in the context of rural sustainability.
  2. Discuss and evaluate the concept of sustainable agriculture comparing theory and practice.
  3. Critically evaluate methods of agricultural production considered to be more sustainable, as well as food sustainability certification schemes.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of sustainable consumption in the rural context.
  5. Critically evaluate the role of different forms of alternative food initiatives in rural sustainability, exploring ideal theorisations and real practice.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the EU food and rural sustainability policy context, as well as good practice internationally.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Environment and Food" by Sage, C.
    Publisher: Routledge
  2. "Food Transgressions: Making Sense of Contemporary Food Politics." by Goodman, M, K., and Sage, C.
    Publisher: Routledge
  3. "Alternative Food Geographies: Representation and Practice." by Maye, D., Holloway, L. and Kneafsey, M.,
    Publisher: Elsevier.
  4. "Traditional Food Production and Rural Sustainable Development" by De Noronha Vaz T, Nijkamp, P., and Rastoin, J. L
    Publisher: Routledge
  5. "Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Consumption." by Jackson, T.
    Publisher: Earthscan
  6. "Agri-culture, Reconnecting People, Land and Nature" by Pretty, J.,
    Publisher: Earthscan
  7. "Alternative Food Networks: Knowledge, Practice and Politics." by Goodman, D., DuPuis, M, Goodman, M, K
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module TI6123: "Food and Rural Sustainability From Farm to Fork" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6110: Rural Community Service Learning Project


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6110: "Rural Community Service Learning Project" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

As a graduate, you will be equipped to work in a variety of contexts requiring the ability to conceptualise rural-related issues and apply this knowledge to policy, management and consultancy scenarios. Potential employers include national and international organisations with a rural development remit, groups and consultancies related to government programmes, and government departments. This MA programme can also become a stepping stone to PhD research.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

 

Find out More

Dr Maura Farrell
E: maura.farrell@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 494 118

Dr John McDonagh
E: john.mcdonagh@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 569

Dr Marie Mahon
E: marie.mahon@nuigalway.ie
T: + 353 91 492 376