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Rural Change Master in Science

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  • Academic Title
    Rural Change Master in Science
  • Course description
    The countryside is an area of considerable change in both developing and developed market economies. Rural change is multi-dimensional and this suggests that its study should be inter-disciplinary and holistic. It also requires an understanding of the theoretical, philosophical and methodological debates raised in the wider social science community.

    The course will provide you with an understanding of the main dimensions of rural change - agricultural, economic, social, cultural, environmental and political - and familiarise you with the key philosophical and methodological approaches which underpin their study. Choosing to specialise in either the UK/EU context or that of the developing world, you will develop the research skills necessary to define and evaluate a particular aspect of rural change, including methods of data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. You will also be made aware of the framework of policy and planning as it relates to the different dimensions of rural change.

    Future prospects

    The course has proved invaluable in helping students to continue their research or gain relevant employment. Up to twenty per cent of our graduates have enrolled on programmes of study leading to the award of a PhD. Many students have also been successful in gaining employment with organizations such as DEFRA, UK local authorities, agencies responsible for EU LEADER programmes, and NGOs and Government departments concerned with rural change in the developing world.

    Course content

    As a full-time student, you will be expected to attend the University for two full terms for the Postgraduate Diploma, with a further four-month period for the completion of the MSc dissertation.

    The dissertation will require an in-depth study (15,000 words) of a selected aspect of rural change. If you are studying on a part-time basis for the PgD, you will be expected to attend the University for a minimum of a half-day each week plus approximately twelve hours a week private study for four terms, normally over two years. Part-time students usually take one year to complete the MSc dissertation which, if relevant, can be related to your employment.

    The course consists of a taught PgD phase of 120 credits (equivalent to eight single modules) followed by an MSc phase of 60 credits. A PgC is available for students who obtain at least 48 credits (equivalent to four single modules).

    Modules include:

        * Theories of rural change
        * Research design and methods
        * The changing rural economy
        * Rural societies, cultures and identities
        * Rural society in the developing world
        * Sustainable food systems
        * Conservation and conflict in rural areas
        * Agricultural adjustment
        * Rural policy and planning
        * Organic agriculture
        * Agricultural production systems

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