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D452 - Rural Studies

Rural Studies

BSc Honours

  • UCAS code: D452
  • Full time
  • 3 years
  • Next start date: September 2020

This degree is ideal if you're interested in studying the social, economic and political systems we use to manage the countryside and support rural businesses and communities.

Fees (per year)

  • UK/EU: £9250
  • International: £18600

Entry requirements

  • A Level: ABB-BBB
  • IB: 32 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21
Work placement opportunity Study abroad opportunity

Course overview

You focus on rural development and resource management, studying diverse topics from landscape management to social geographics, and from crop and livestock production to marketing. 

You'll visit various rural enterprises and sites throughout the course. These introduce you to a range of countryside professions and equip you with insight into the challenges faced by today's rural businesses. 

You can boost your employability and professional skills with an optional placement year in industry or the commercial sector. You also benefit from:

  • access to our two University farms for hands-on experience
  • training in key business skills to enhance your employability
  • expertise at our Centre for Rural Economy, recipient of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2014
Green countryside with a shallow river in the foreground.

Quality and ranking

Top 5 in the UK – the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 (Agriculture, Forestry and Food category).

Modules and learning


The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research, and course content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, student feedback, or numbers of students interested in an optional module.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

We introduce you to rural studies through topics such as economics, rural development, environment and land use, marketing and business management.

You will visit rural enterprises and be introduced to professionals who provide an insight into the issues facing the industry. It is possible to transfer to our Countryside Management degree at the end of Stage 1.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Introduction to Marketing and Consumer Behaviour 20
Introductory Business Economics 10
Environment and Land Resources 10
Academic and Professional Skills 20
Investigating Agri-food Systems from Farm to Folk 20
Investigating Rural Landscapes 20
Introduction to Agri-Food Business Management 20

You study land law, research methods, accounting and finance, and landscape management. You also have a choice of optional topics covering areas such as marketing strategy, crop and livestock production, social geographies, human resource management and agricultural marketing.

You can take a career development module to explore enterprise, entrepreneurship and employability.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Introduction to Non-Specialist Accounting and Finance 20
Landscape, Culture and Heritage 20
Environmental Management Skills 20
Academic and Professional Skills 2 20
Law and Land Use 10
Optional Modules Credits
Marketing Strategy: Concepts and Applications 20
Agricultural Economics and Policy 10
Agricultural Markets 10
Arable Crops 10
Introduction to Farm Management 10
Sustainable animal production systems 20
Human Resource Management 20
Social Geographies 20
Career Development for second year students 20
Developing Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Employability 20

An independent research project accounts for a quarter of your time and may be linked to a vacation project or work placement.

You study topics in countryside management; environmental valuation; and rural planning, politics and society, along with a variety of options including enterprise and entrepreneurship, farm management and marketing and public policy.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Countryside Management 20
Rural Planning, Politics and Society 20
Special Study 30
Sustainable Development and Environmental Valuation 10
Optional Modules Credits
Globalisation: Patterns, Processes & Challenges 20
Farm Management 20
Marketing and Public Policy 10
Communication and Behaviour Change 10
Enterprise and Entrepreneurship with Lean Innovation 20
Environmental Law 20
Career Development for final year students 20
Advanced Career Development module 20
Community and Conflict in the Countryside 20
Creativity and Market Research in Science and Engineering 10

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

In stages 1 and 2, just over half of your teaching time will be spent in classroom-based lectures or seminars. The remainder will be made up of field classes, computer classes, and practical lab work. In your final year, greater emphasis is placed on project work, culminating in a final-year project based on a topic of your choice.

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Group work

  • Practical sessions

  • Presentations

Skills and experience

Practical skills

Field trips form an important part of your degree, these give you an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a practical setting.

With easy access to nearby countryside from our location in North East England, you'll benefit from visits to Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria to experience their varied landscapes and habitats.

Research skills

Independent research and project work is an integral part of your degree so you can explore subject areas that interest you in greater detail. Previous projects have investigated:

  • wind farms in rural development
  • the future of market towns
  • biofuel production

You will have access to the expertise of our award-winning staff from across a range of specialties through the Newcastle University-based Centre for Rural Economy, which specialises in interdisciplinary social science and applied policy research. 


Study abroad

Experience life in another country by choosing to study abroad as part of your degree. You’ll be encouraged to embrace fun and challenging experiences, make connections with new communities and graduate as a globally aware professional, ready for your future.

You can choose to spend up to a year studying at a partner institution overseas.

If you choose to study abroad, it will extend your degree by a year. 

Find out more about study abroad

Work placement

Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements

Facilities and environment


You'll be based in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at our city-centre campus and have access to two commercial farms near to Newcastle.

You'll have access to an experimental station, providing field laboratories for evaluation and testing of pesticides and biocontrol agents. 

Our University farms, Cockle Park Farm and Nafferton Farm, will give you an insight into how real-world farms operate, so you're prepared for your future. Our farms are used for research, teaching and demonstration.


As a new student, you'll receive a tablet so you can download online learning resources, helping to make our campus more sustainable.

You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have when starting university.

There's also a staff-student committee, to give you an opportunity to have a say in how your degree works.

Your future

Many of our graduates have found employment in a range of organisations, including:

  • national park authorities
  • the European Parliament
  • Met Office
  • National Trust
  • UK wildlife organisations

Our Countryside Management and Rural Studies graduates most commonly end up in land-based and environmental careers such as chartered surveying, as a rights of way officer or part of a local conservation team working for charities and pressure groups.

Additionally, government organisations and private firms provide openings for agricultural or environmental advisers.

Graduates with an environmental science background find employment with conservation bodies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, water companies, local government environmental health departments and other environmental protection agencies, undertaking roles as varied as environmental consultancy and environmental engineering.

Employability at Newcastle

96% of Newcastle University graduates progressed to employment or further study within six months of graduating, with 85.5% in graduate-level employment or further study.

Take a look at the most recent data available for our graduates. See what they have gone on to achieve and be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Statistics are based on what graduates were doing on a specific date, approximately six months after graduation (Destinations of (undergraduate and postgraduate UK domiciled) Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17).

Make a difference

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Careers support

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ inititiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.

A Level


International Baccalaureate

32 points

Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements


Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria. 

Find out more about PARTNERS

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)

UK Students


International Students


The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.

As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).

The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.

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How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

Get in touch

By Phone

Contact us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333. We're open 9.00 to 17.00 every week day except Wednesday (10.00 to 17.00).


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