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Rural Sustainability, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
University rank #259 (QS) ,
This Rural Sustainability MA Programme at National University of Ireland, Galway 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. 


Rural issues have moved to the top of the international agenda in terms of delivering sustainability on key resources and supporting populations. This MA in Rural Sustainability 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.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate at National University of Ireland, Galway, 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.

Programme Structure

Courses include
  • Research Methodologies - Practising Rural Geography
  •  Rural Development & Communication for Rural Innovation
  •  International Field Course - Globalizing Rural
  •  Dissertation (Research Paper)
  •  The Multifunctional Countryside
  •  Geographic Studies Abroad
  •  Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad
  •  Conceptualising the Rural - Policy, Strategy & Governance
  •  Tourism, Networks and Clusters for Rural Development
  •  Essential Trainer Skills
  •  Food and Rural Sustainability From Farm to Fork
  •  Rural Community Service Learning Project

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Credits
    90 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: Upper Second Class

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to Upper Second Class on the UK Honour scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on the UK Honour scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Geography or a related subject. 

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General 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.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    15550 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15550 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    6400 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6400 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Galway

  • 800 - 1100 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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