Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development

GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 60)

This Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) programme at UCD responds to the new agenda for agriculture and rural area development. It represents a return to core values in the development of rural areas which are rooted in agricultural change as well as responding to new societal demands such as safe and ethically produced food, a healthier environment and sustainable and affordable energy. These issues are relevant in both Ireland, industrialised countries and in the developing world.

This programme prepares graduates for roles of leadership, advocacy and influence in local, national and international development settings. This is achieved by strengthening capabilities in the relevant analytical, communications and entrepreneurship skills, underpinned by the provision of an enhanced understanding of the theory, policy and practice of rural development.

The learning environment fosters individual and group-based activities, which develop students’ skills of inquiry, critical thinking, self-directed and collaborative learning. A variety of teaching and learning approaches are used including group project work, student presentations, individual assignments, field trips and case study work.

Graduates are awarded a 60-credit Graduate Diploma, NFQ Level 9.

The modules in this course comprise part of a more extensive graduate programme in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. Students who complete the Graduate Diploma course can build on this course in future years to obtain a Masters Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Core
Policies & Strategies for Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development RDEV40150
Theory & Practice of Rural Enterprises RDEV40300
Research Methods Part I RDEV40450
Research Methods Part II RDEV40460
Strategic Communications RDEV40480
Sustainable Agriculture RDEV40490

Stage 1 - Option
Organic Agriculture CPSC30050
Economics and Sociology in Rural Development RDEV40050
Planning for Development RDEV40470
Agricultural Extension & Innov RDEV40560
Understanding the Family Farm Business RDEV40730
Green Care Policy and Practice RDEV40740

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a minimum of a second class honours degree, or international equivalent, in a range of subject areas.

Applications are welcome from people from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds including humanities, sciences and business who are interested in pursuing careers in the broad arena of rural and community development.

Exceptions may be made for applicants who do not hold the minimum educational requirement if they can demonstrate substantial relevant professional or voluntary experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Application dates

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:
Grad Dip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development FT (X449)
1 Years
Full Time

Grad Dip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development PT (X450)
2 Years
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.




1 year full-time (X449), 2 years part-time (X450). Mode of Delivery: Face-to-Face.


GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development (X449) Full Time
EU fee per year - €5,600
non EU fee per year - €16,535

GradDip Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development (X450) Part Time
EU Year 1 - €3,000
EU Year 2 - €3,000 aa
non EU Year 1 - €8,265
non EU Year 2 - €8,070

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2019 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2018/19
***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2024/2025 September.

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
Graduates from this programme will be equipped with the required skills and knowledge base to develop careers in the broad arena of sustainable agriculture and rural development in Ireland or Internationally in both the public and private sector.

Graduates typically find employment in government, agricultural and rural development agencies, local development agencies, NGOs involved in rural development, as well as donor agencies and international development organisations.

Graduate Roles:
• Development Managers
• Advisors
• Consultants
• Public servants
• Researchers

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time

  • Apply to

    Course provider