UCC Postgraduate courses

Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development

  • Code


  • College

    Business and Law

  • Duration

    12 Months

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees


  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022

  • Start Date

    12 September 2022

Course Outline

This MSc programme in Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development is offered by the Cork University Business School (CUBS) at University College Cork. In this programme we aim to provide you with a deeper understanding of co-operatives, sustainable development, and the agri-food system.

This is a unique course, with a very strong practical emphasis and will equip participants with the organisational and management skills needed to make innovative contributions to the development of local economies, with particular emphasis on co-operatives, social enterprises, and food businesses in Ireland and overseas. It is aimed at graduates from a wide range of disciplines who wish to pursue careers in sustainable development and innovative practice leading to positions in the food sector (ranging from local food enterprises to large multi-nationals), local and international rural development, shared and collaborative economy, NGOs, innovative community businesses including co-operatives and social enterprises, local and regional enterprise development, corporate social responsibility, policy formulation and analysis.

The MSc in Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development is delivered over 12 months and includes a placement opportunity. 


Students take 55 credits of core modules and 5 credits of elective modules as follows: 

  • FE6303 Sustainable Rural Development (10 credits)
  • FE6304 Co-operative and Collaborative Responses (10 credits)
  • FE6305 Contemporary Socio-Economic and Environmental Issues (5 credits)
  • FE6306 Marketing and Communications for Sustainable Food Production and Consumption (5 credits)
  • FE6507 Economics of Agri-Food Markets and Value Chain Analysis (5 credits)
  • FE6512 Sustainable Food Systems (5 credits)
  • FE6515 The Sharing Economy (5 credits)
  • FE6902 Global Food Policy Issues (5 credits)
  • MG6315 Project Management (5 credits)

Electives (choose 5 credits)  

  • FE6506 Food Branding and Digital Media Marketing (5 credits) 
  • AG3002 Soil Science and Soil/Land Management (5 Credits)   
  • NE3003 Sustainable Energy (5 Credits)  


Students take 30 credits as follows:

  • FE6308 Practice-Based Research Project (30 credits): Students complete a practice-based research project in collaboration with a relevant partner organisation.

Please see the Postgraduate Academic Calendar (MSc Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development) for more information on this programme.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Course Practicalities

The MSc (Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development) is a full-time 12-month programme.

In Part I, you will need to be available to attend classes and seminars from Monday to Friday (inclusive). During Part II of the programme, you will complete a Practice-Based Research Project which will include supervision from an academic mentor.


You will be assessed by continuous assessment and examinations and will complete a practice-based research project.

Who Teaches this course

The programme is taught by academic staff from the Department of Food Business and Development and the Department of Management and Marketing. In addition, invited guest lecturers and experts with a broad range of national and international experience also contribute to this unique programme.

Why Choose This Course

I chose the MSc in Cooperatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development as it casts a solution focussed lens over some of the social and environmental challenges that we all face...

Ciara Egan, MSc Graduate, Change by Degrees

Find Out More
What I love about my job is the joy that the project brings to people. It generates confidence, boosts self-esteem, and provides so many mental health benefits...

Sheila Kelleher, MSc Graduate, IRD Duhallow

Find Out More
...I’m working on farms, which is something that I have always wanted to do, on community-driven projects, and on conservation and restoration schemes...

Michael O’Connor, MSc Graduate, Agricultural Ecologist

Find Out More
I wanted to be in a position where I could return to India with ideas that lead to practical solutions...

Komal Kansagra, MSc Graduate, Environmental Research Institute

Find Out More

This Co-operatives, Agri-Food & Sustainable Development course is the only one-year Masters of its kind which fully integrates cooperative approaches into the study of sustainable development and agri-food. It is especially practical, both in work placements and in the skills you learn. It will prepare you to work in organisations that deal with current and future socio-economic and environmental challenges including climate change, collaborative economies, and sustainable rural communities.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Participants can complete their Practice-Based Research Project either in Ireland or abroad, depending on their interests.

Skills and Careers Information

Graduates of this programme can expect to work in a variety of areas: our graduates are employed in co-operatives and other third sector organisations (e.g. social enterprises, voluntary organisations, charities); international, non-governmental (NGOs) and business development organisations; Rural development policy and support; consultancy (in agri-food, rural development, third sector); local economic development/enterprise development staff through local authorities and consultancies; local food marketing and branding; corporate social responsibility roles in food and other industries such as local development agencies (e.g. LEADER).


A minimum Second Class Honours in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent, in a wide range of disciplines. Consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may be given to applicants who do not hold a second class honours degree but who have sufficient relevant experience, subject to approval by the Cork University Business School (CUBS).

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €10,630.

The Non-EU fee for this course is €18,500.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment

International Students can pay in two equal instalments once they have paid the appropriate deposit. The initial payment is due on registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay?

You can pay by Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie.

Scholarships and Funding 

For details of available Scholarships and Funding opportunities relating to this programme, please visit our College of Business and Law scholarships page including the FDC Group Scholarship page and the Carbery Group Scholarship page.

The MSc in Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development has been included by Irish Aid in their directory of eligible courses for Irish Aid Fellowships. Please visit the Irish Fellows Programme page for more information.

How Do I Apply

1. Apply online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online via the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. The majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

2. Gather supporting documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course.

3. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

4. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.
  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Please upload your CV.
  • Please enter the names and email addresses of two referees.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Closed for applications for 2022/2023. Applications for 2023/2024 open 17 October 2022

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact