Course Overview There is a growing demand for agricultural specialists with an understanding of both the business and technical aspects of the industry, and the skills to interact professionally with their clients. The Agricultural Professional Practice (APP) programme contains a core group of modules focusing on topics such as skills needed for consultancy, management and leadership, finance and agricultural policy. A number of elective modules in business, crop or livestock production develop the student’s own area of expertise. The APP programme is targeted at those who are interested in pursuing a career within the land-based industries in a professional capacity such as consultant, farm manager/owner, agronomist and animal nutritionist. The programme offers the opportunity to study for professional qualifications needed to give advice to clients, including FACTS (Fertiliser), BASIS (Crop Protection) or AMTRA (Veterinary Medicine). These courses are done alongside the programme modules and course work makes use of the teaching in these courses*. In addition, the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM) accepts MSc, along with sufficient appropriate experience, for ‘Professional Agriculturalist’ membership status. The programme of study comprises eight taught modules over two years for a Postgraduate Diploma qualification, with an additional third-year research project to achieve the award of MSc. Assessment Methods Modules are assessed using a range of methods including: written reports, presentations, design of a social media strategy, planning, organising and delivery of a KT event, case studies and data handling . *FACTS, BASIS and AMTRA are independently assessed. Modules The MSc programme comprises 8 core modules and an MSc project. Years 1 and 2, equating to awards of Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma respectively, are each split into two semesters of two modules, giving four modules in each year. The programme consists of five core module and three electives. Electives can be chosen from a suite of nine APP elective modules. There is also an option to take a “Free Choice Elective” which can be any module that is available via an MSc distance learning programme offered at SRUC, subject to timing/assessment requirements/study period attendance. Core Modules: Professional Leadership and Management Food and Agricultural Policy Business Planning and Decision Making Project Management and Analysis for Agricultural Professionals Topical Issues in Modern Agriculture Elective Modules: Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine Arable Crop Protection Part 1* Arable Crop Protection Part 2* Grassland and Fodder Crop Protection Part 1* Grassland and Fodder Crop Protection Part 2* Innovation and Entrepreneurship *Parts 1 & 2 required for professional qualification The programme format is online delivery with some campus attendance. This is usually in the format of two study weekends per year for Years 1 and 2, and two weekday study sessions for Year 3, based at SRUC’s Craibstone campus at Aberdeen. Additional costs are therefore associated with travel and accommodation for these study sessions. Please note that under current Covid-19 restrictions, study sessions are being held as online events and there is no campus attendance. This is subject to change as Covid regulations change. *Students wishing to study FACTS, BASIS or AMTRA alongside the APP programme will be required to pay an additional fee for these qualifications.
The programme is a mix of technical production, management, and skills development modules. The MSc consists of eight taught modules, followed by a period of dissertation project work. Five modules are compulsory: Professional Leadership and Management - This module will develop key skills required for professional practice in Agriculture eg. communication skills, facilitating meetings, networking, customer relations, presentation skills and dealing with the media. It will also focus on professionalism, leadership and management skills and will include the setting of personal goals for career progression and identifying relevant CPD opportunities. Participants will be encouraged to identify and display appropriate attitudes, behaviors and values for their own situation. Food and Agricultural Policy - This module will develop an understanding of the local, national and international policies that impact on the whole food chain from agricultural production, through business development to the consumer. Business Planning and Decision Making - Business planning, analysis and decision making are essential components of successful rural business management. The applied nature of this course allows students to choose a business with which they are familiar thus making the experience relevant to their own work environment. This module will assist in the process of formulating a business plan to a professional standard, suitable for submission to a potential lender. The process of planning and control, and assessing the financial consequences of that plan will also be covered in the module. Project Management for Agricultural Professionals - A key role of any agricultural consultancy is management of projects for clients. Underpinning this work is the role of project management. Firstly, this module will consider how to plan a project, manage resources and monitor progress. Secondly, this module will consider how to design an investigation and then analyse and interpret data from this work. The assignments will apply this information in work related projects. Topical Issues in Modern Agriculture - The purpose of this module is to allow students to integrate the knowledge they possess and, by constructing a reasoned argument, develop broader understanding of their professional area and its relevance to related industries and the wider society. It is designed to develop the critical analysis and evaluation skills of students whilst dealing with complex issues and making informed judgements. The module will typically consist of a series of structured online debates on selected topics of contemporary relevance. Students will engage in constructive discussion of the topics giving critical analyses of the issues. Students will also research an issue that is relevant to their profession and then present it to the class, for peer review. A further three modules are chosen from a range of options, including:
- Integrated Agricultural Management
- Sustainable Nutrient Management
- Animal Health and Veterinary Medicine
- Arable Crop Protection
- Grassland and Fodder Crop Protection
Assessed 100% by coursework (no examinations)
A degree in a science or technology relevant to the sector. However, acceptance onto the programme is essentially based on an assessment of candidates’ ability to benefit from the studies. While an adequate indication of ability to carry out academic study is essential, no absolute academic prerequisites are laid down. Applications from mature candidates with extensive work experience are particularly welcome. The course is taught in English and students for whom it is not their first language must have achieved a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent recognised English language qualification.
English language requirements
Achieving at least 5.5 in each component
For information on SRUC's English Language requirements
Fees and funding
|Northern Ireland||£3200*||Year 1|
|Channel Islands||£3200*||Year 1|
|Republic of Ireland||£3200*||Year 1|
*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.
Additional fee information
SRUC Scotland's Rural College
West Mains Road
Course contact detailsVisit our course page
0800 269 453
General Course Enquiries
0800 269 453