Co-operatives Agri-Food & Sustainable Development

Course Outline
This MSc course will give participants a deeper understanding of co-operatives, sustainable development and the agri-food system. This is a unique course, with a very strong practical emphasis and will equip participants with the organisational and management skills needed to make innovative contributions to the development of local economies, with particular emphasis on co-operatives, social enterprises and food businesses in Ireland and overseas. It is aimed at graduates from a wide range of disciplines who wish to pursue careers in sustainable development and innovative practice leading to positions in the food sector (ranging from local food enterprises to large multi-nationals), local and international rural development, shared and collaborative economy, NGOs, innovative community businesses including co-operatives and social enterprises, local and regional enterprise development, corporate social responsibility, policy formulation and analysis.

The MSc in Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development is delivered over 12 months and includes a placement opportunity.

Placement or Study Abroad Information
Participants can complete their Practice-Based Research Project either in Ireland or abroad, depending on their interests.

Why Choose This Course
This course is the only one year Masters of its kind which fully integrates co-operative approaches into the study of sustainable development and agri-food. It is especially practical, both in work placements and in the skills you learn. It will prepare you to work in organisations that deal with current and future socio-economic and environmental challenges including climate change, collaborative economies, and sustainable rural communities.

Entry requirements

A minimum 2H degree (NFQ Level 8 Honours) or equivalent, in a wide range of disciplines. Consideration may be given to applicants who do not hold a second class honours degree but who have sufficient relevant experience, subject to approval by the Cork University Business School (CUBS).

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available at

International/non-EU applicants
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.

Assessment Info

You will be assessed by continuous assessment and examinations and will complete a practice-based research project.

Subjects taught

Part I
Students take 70 credits as follows:
• FE6305 Contemporary Socio-Economic and Environmental Issues (5 credits)
• FE6304 Co-operative and Collaborative Responses (10 credits)
• FE6303 Sustainable Rural Development (10 credits)
• FE6507 Economics of Agri-Food Markets (5 credits)
• FE6902 Global Food Policy Issues (5 credits)
• FE6305 Marketing for Sustainable Food Production and Consumption (5 credits)
• FE6506 Food Branding and Digital Media (5 credits)
• MG6315 Project Management (5 credits)
• FE6512 Sustainable Food Systems (5 credits)
• FE6508 Food Supply Chain and Value Analysis (5 credits)
• FE6509 Research Methods (5 credits)
• FE6510 Professional Development (5 credits)

Part II
Students take 20 credits as follows:
• FE6306 Practice-Based Research Project (20 credits) –
Students will complete a practice-based research project. This will be completed in collaboration with a relevant partner organisation.

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar
You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.


12 months full-time.

Course Practicalities
The MSc in Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development is a full-time 12 month programme. In Part I, you will need to be available to attend classes and seminars from Monday to Friday (inclusive).

During Part II of the programme, you will complete a Practice-Based Research Project which will include supervision from an academic mentor.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Graduates can expect to work in Co-ops and other third sector organisations (e.g. social enterprises, voluntary organisations, charities); international, non-governmental (NGOs) and business development organisations; Rural development policy and support (e.g. animation); consultancy (in agri-food, rural development, third sector); local economic development/enterprise development staff through local authorities and consultancies; local food marketing and branding; corporate social responsibility roles in food and other industries.

Occupations associated with [MSc Co-Operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development]
Research, Policy advisory roles, Local food marketing, local and international development roles, corporate social responsibility roles, co-operative advisory role as well as management.

What are our graduates doing?
Graduates can expect to work in a wide range of areas such as agri-food businesses (including co-operatives and artisan food enterprises), local government, NGOs (Irish and International), consultancy, research and policy analysis, social enterprise and local development agencies (e.g. LEADER).

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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