Graduate Diploma in Agriculture


Royal Agricultural University Campus


1 year (full time) or 2 years (part time)

Academic Year

30 September 2024 to 30 May 2025

This intensive course in agriculture is unique to the Royal Agricultural University and provides an opportunity for graduates or professionals in other disciplines to re-direct their careers towards agricultural and associated rural industries.


Course overview

This is a unique opportunity to create your own bespoke, agriculture focussed, course in a way that will help you realise your ambitions, whether you are a student who has already graduated or a professional with plans to advance your career in the rural industries.

Not only will you gain a detailed understanding of the UK agricultural industry, you will be given practical rural skills training at the RAU’s cutting-edge John Oldacre Rural Innovation Centre.

It is likely that you will have already acquired elsewhere a range of intellectual and transferable skills. However, this programme enables you to:

  • Demonstrate your commitment to the notion of continuing learning
  • Utilise your existing skills in pursuit of new knowledge and understanding
  • Develop new professional skills applicable to agriculture, farming and land management

While many graduates find work as farm managers, farm assurance scheme officers and agricultural consultants, to name a few, others wish to progress onto a Masters course.

Read more about the farms that we learn from.

RAU School of Agriculture, Food and the Environment

Course content

The course may be studied full-time over one academic year, or part-time over two years.

You will complete four compulsory modules, followed by four modules selected from a wide range of undergraduate modules allowing you to tailor the course to meet your career aspirations.

As well as lectures, farm walks and visits, you will work on case studies, assignments, and management projects.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to complete pre-course reading in order to secure a minimum basic knowledge of agriculture and to highlight possible areas of weakness.

The in-person teaching sessions and study tour visit for core modules, for both full time and part time students, are timetabled on a Tuesday each week for the full year (both semesters).  This allows you to fulfil other commitments you may have, such as work, family and interests. 

The modules available for this course are shown below. They may change for your year of study as we regularly review our module offerings to ensure they’re informed by the latest research and teaching methods.


  • 1125 Agriscience: Explore the basic principles of animal and crop anatomy, physiology and nutrition required for product yield and quality
  • 2372 Animal Health and Welfare: Learn how animal health and welfare can be scientifically assessed using frameworks and assessment tools to compare different UK animal agriculture systems 
  • 2373 Agronomy: Discuss the agronomic factors which are involved in the production of crops in regenerative, integrated, conventional and sustainable farming systems
  • 3337 Sustainable Farm Management: Create a farm system in accordance with a specific agricultural approach

Students must then select four further level 6 modules from the selection below:

  • 3090 Forestry and Woodland Management: Explore the significance of forestry in climate mitigation, timber production and farm diversification
  • 3098 Countryside & Environmental Management: Review and evaluate the scale and rates of change in the countryside/land management sector
  • 3223 Ecological Consultancy: Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of an ‘ecological consultant’ in relation to professional and regulatory frameworks and expectations
  • 3238 Advances in Livestock Nutrition: 
  • 3239 Crop Health and Protection: Understand the impact that climate change has on natural resources like water, soil and biodiversity internationally
  • 3323 Food Ethics and Governance: Explore different ethics frameworks and how they inform decision making about food
  • 3329 Climate Change and Natural Resource Challenges: Understand the impact that climate change has on natural resources like water, soil and biodiversity internationally
  • 3330 Technology and Agroecology Innovation: Explore the role of technology, innovation and agroecology in addressing sustainability challenges on farms and throughout the supply chain
  • 3331 Food Supply Systems and Policy: Look at the influence of consumers on food systems and the role of policy
  • 3333 Wildlife Behaviour & Evolution: Understand the basic principles of animal evolution
  • 3338 Agronomy Challenges and Solutions: Discuss opportunities and challenges in the cropping sector through study visits and talks from industry leaders
  • 3339 Livestock System Challenges and Solutions: Review livestock farming systems and their impact on the economy, society and the environment
  • 4278 Organic Systems: Understand the agroecological principles and practices of organic systems

The availability of electives to individual students will be dependent on timetabling considerations and on sufficient students electing to take part.

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

Read More about Course content

Careers and graduate destinations

The rural land industry opens up multiple career prospects for successful graduates, including:
  • Farm managers
  • Agricultural commodity sales/trading
  • Agricultural consultants
  • Agricultural research/trials officer
  • Farm assurance scheme officers
  • Livestock feed analysis
  • Crop agronomy

"We need to change our food and farming systems in the face of climate change. The GDA programme at the RAU is a perfect opportunity to embark on a career in this space. It is a fascinating, intense and immersive experience."

Brad Currin, Student

Read More about Careers and graduate destinations

Entry requirements

View entry requirements here ...

The Graduate Diploma in Agriculture comprises a programme of study that requires graduate (Honours Degree) level entry or its equivalent, and has learning outcomes that match qualifications at Honours degree level. As a result, the programme is affected by the UK Governments’ policy on Equivalent and Lower Qualifications [ELQ] whereby such students are not eligible for funding support through the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Candidates will normally have a first degree from a discipline other than agriculture, awarded at 2:2 or above. Equivalent overseas and other UK qualifications may be accepted at the discretion of the University.

Applicants of 25 years and over may seek admission on the basis of a curriculum vitae, but evidence of ability to study at degree level, such as proven managerial level experience, is essential.

A period of relevant practical work experience within the agricultural industry is recommended as a means of enhancing understanding of the industry and the relevance of specific modules towards future career goals, but is not a prerequisite of joining the programme.

International students will also need to achieve IELTS Academic or equivalent at the appropriate level for your programme of study. English language requirements for international students.

Read More about requirements


View fees content here...

Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing module fees or dissertation extensions). Students may enter practical farming after completing the programme, although it should be noted that proven practical farming abilities may be required by some employers prior to engaging in direct production agriculture. This can be supported by accessing rural skills training at our John Oldacre Rural Innovation Centre.

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are: 

  UK Overseas**
Full-time £9,250 per year £15,300 per year
Part-time £4,625 per year N/A

** Please note: International students can study on a part-time basis only if they are in the UK with a different type of visa (other than Student Visa/Tier 4 General) that allows them to undertake part-time study and their visa does not expire prior to the end date of the proposed course of study.

Please contact before you apply to confirm your eligibility.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.


The University offers a range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the scholarships, awards and bursaries available, please visit the scholarships webpage.

Read More about Fees