RE3RD-Rural Diversification

Module Provider: Real Estate and Planning
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Mrs Angela Cropley

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Diversification is seen by policy makers and many rural practitioners as a key mechanism for improving the income streams and resilience of farms and rural estates in the light of proposed changes to agricultural support and other issues affecting the business environment in which farms and estates operate. 

This module aims to provide students with the necessary skills and understanding to be able to take strategic decisions about diversification at the estate, farm and enterprise level. 

This module is delivered at the University of Reading only.


The aims of the module are: 

  • To introduce students to the range of diversification opportunities possible on farms and rural estates including innovative and novel activities. 

  • To examine the issues to be considered before a diversification project is undertaken. 

  • To develop an appreciation of the key factors in successfully establishing and managing diversified ventures. 

  • To explore concepts of value in the context of rural diversification.


Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to: 

  • Discuss the key factors that lead a land/estate manager to consider diversification. 

  • Identify and appraise the diversification opportunities for particular sites, through the application of analytical frameworks. 

  • Explain issues of policy, planning, law and valuation as affecting diversification. 

  • Apply the essential princip les of marketing to new and existing diversified businesses. 

  • Use relevant methods to consider the potential value of diversified businesses.

Additional outcomes:

The module will provide opportunities for students to develop their analytical skills and apply innovative approaches to assessing rural businesses.

Outline content:

  • The role of diversification in rural business development. 

  • The reasons why farmers and estate owners/managers consider diversification.

  • Different rural diversification enterprises, both traditional and innovative. 

  • Business appraisal.

  • Business plans: strategic planning, marketing/market research, resource evaluation, budgets and costs. 

  • Planning context to rural diversificati on. 

  • Business development: monitoring, performance. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will comprise taught lecture sessions and seminars, including external speakers from across the sector, It may include site visits. There will be a revision session in the summer term. Students are expected to augment the class material with significant reading from the reading list, at advice from the teaching team.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18 2
Seminars 4
External visits 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 68
Total hours by term 0 98 2
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One two-hour written examination. 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

The pass mark for the module is 40% 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be by the same method as for the module’s original assessment requirements, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 8 April 2021


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