MSc(Agr) Rural Environmental Conservation & Management
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)
The Masters in Rural Environmental Conservation & Management enables students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the rural landscape, the environmental challenges facing it and to develop the necessary skill set to respond to these challenges. This is facilitated through an integrated assessment of the complex relationships between land management practices (particularly agricultural practices), environmental conditions (climatic, geological etc), national and international policy, and the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within the rural landscape.
• The emphasis placed on understanding the implications (positive and negative) of agricultural management on natural and cultural resources, makes this a unique programme in the area of rural conservation and management.
• Students have the opportunity to undertake field trips, will acquire practical field skills such as plant identification, and have an opportunity to implement these skills within projects.
• Students will receive contributions from a range of experts relevant to rural conservation management.
Vision and Values Statement
This flexible programme (both full and part-time) is designed for postgraduate students who wish to undertake further studies in pursuit of a career in the agricultural and environmental sciences. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of a comprehensive understanding of the complex relationships between land management practices and the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within the rural landscape and thus the underpinning objectives and practical implementation of agri-environmental policy at farm and landscape scales. The programme fosters in its graduates the qualities of self-motivation and critical thinking. For those with an inquiring mind, a deeper understanding of scientific principles relevant in solving agri-environmental and food security concerns is provided, which in combination with understanding of effective policy-making, leads to sustainable management practice. The programme structure is supportive of guided self-learning and provides the opportunity to develop key management skills across the agri-environmental sciences. Core elements of the programme include: literature review & knowledge assimilation; core lab, field & IT skills (including use of GIS and remote sensing software); experimental/survey design & quantitative data analysis; written and verbal communication skills. Use is made of individual and group work assignments designed to develop individual, teamwork and leadership skills. A major research project of choice completed in latter stages of the programme allows students to put these skills into practice.
• Understand and interpret environmental issues and challenges of food production and security, and appreciate the objectives of national, EU and international policy.
• Appreciate the functional benefits of biological diversity and natural ecological processes within managed rural ecosystems
• Demonstrate competency in the use of core lab, field and IT (GIS) skills in scientific study and evaluation.
• Devise and interpret agri-environmental studies/evaluations involving the collection, appropriate analysis and reporting of resulting observations.
• Interpret the historic and complex relationships between farm management practice and the nature and ecological status of rural ecosystems.
• Implement the aims of national, EU and international environmental policy legislation relevant to farming.
• Demonstrate practical skills in floral, faunal and habitat identification and inventory.
• Demonstrate practical skills in the identification and management of archeological field monuments and heritage sites.
• Demonstrate advanced theoretical and practical knowledge of key challenges associated with the conservation and sustainable management of natural and cultural resources within rural ecosystems.
• Critically evaluate scientific literature, identify knowledge gaps and develop and implement appropriate methodologies to address these.
• Competently apply appropriate statistical analyses and confidently interpret the findings of these analyses.