An opportunity has become available for those working the agricultural sector to study a part-time masters degree – at a subsidised rate.

University College Dublin (UCD) has once again linked up with Macra Agricultural Skillnet to offer its Masters in Agricultural Extension and Innovation programme.

The two-year part-time programme is a distance learning taught masters – part funded by Macra Agricultural Skillnet – which is suitable for students working full-time jobs in the Irish agri sector, according to UCD.

It “equips graduates with the skills and knowledge to become more effective at supporting farmers in developing their farm business, changing behaviour and incorporating innovation at farm level”, UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science says.

The programme is usually delivered through a blended format of online and classroom based learning.

Aimed at allowing students to “build their skills for working autonomously, for independent research and in-depth analysis of information”, students of the masters undertake a course comprising 90 academic credits and a minor thesis on a topic that is relevant to their current role.

The programme modules includes:

  • Agricultural Extension and Innovation;
  • The Reflective Agricultural Consultant;
  • Agricultural Education;
  • Project Management in Agricultural Extension;
  • Client/Customer Relationships in Agricultural Work;
  • Group Approaches in Agriculture;
  • Understanding the Family Farm Business;
  • Research Methods I and II;
  • Design Thinking for Agricultural Innovation;
  • Thesis.

Assignments will be based on real-life case studies relating to the students’ professional work environment, reflecting the norms of practice in agricultural consultancy, support, sales and education services.

Students will also complete an independent research project as it relates to their current role or area of interest. Assignments will be both online group work and individual-based.

Entry requirements include: a Level 8 honours degree; a minimum grade of 2.2 or relevant experience; must be working directly with farmers and/or farm families; and identify a mentor within their organisation (though a UCD mentor will be assigned to those who are self-employed).

The closing date for applications is 12:00a.m on Friday, June 25, 2021. Shortlisting may be required and candidates will be called to interview in mid June, UCD says.

More details on the programme and how to apply can be found here or by contacting: [email protected].