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28 May 2024  

NUI launches Evaluation report on the collaborative BSc and Diploma in Rural Development (1996-2015)


NUI is pleased to launch the Independent Evaluation of the Diploma and Degree in Rural Development across National University of Ireland universities. Given the innovative nature of this inter-university collaboration, and in view of the launch by Government in March 2021 of Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-25, NUI commissioned an independent review of the collaborative partnership and programmes.

The review was undertaken by Drs Kathy Walsh and Breandán Ó Caoimh, and provides an evaluation of the programme and captures some key learnings.

A copy of the report can be downloaded below.


pdfIndependent evaluation of the
Diploma and Degree in Rural Development
across National University of Ireland

To download the report pdf to your computer (right click the link and save)


The Diploma/BSc Degree in Rural Development, which operated between 1996 and 2015, was an innovation in higher education in Ireland. All four NUI member universities - Maynooth University (NUI Maynooth), University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD) and NUI Galway - developed the programmes collaboratively, drawing on respective teaching and research strengths in areas such as rural development policy and society, rural business development, food business, economic geography, marketing and financial management and adult and community development.

The courses were targeted at mature learners seeking third level qualifications in the area of rural and community development and offered professional development opportunities for rural enterprise managers and entrepreneurs, enterprise support and local authority staff and others involved in rural and community development sectors.

Students were part-time learners and were financially supported to participate through the EU LEADER programme. The universities provided jointly-developed undergraduate curricula and learners benefitted from regular lectures and tutorials that were delivered online as well as on-campus and in community-based facilities. Students from all four universities met regularly for weekend workshops, sharing knowledge and practice and building relationships. While blended learning approaches are now more commonplace in our universities and colleges, the Rural Development programme leaders were ahead of their time in offering this blended learning approach in the late '90s and early 2000s.


Further information from:

Dr Attracta Halpin
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2, D02 V583
Ph: 01 4392424
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq
Facebook: National University of Ireland