MSc Rural Land and Business Management

Course overview

Our highly regarded postgraduate course provides students with a fast track to a fascinating, challenging career in rural land management, an area where employers acknowledge an enduring demand for qualified graduate trainees.

We aim to equip you with a detailed knowledge of business management, law, finance, tax and valuation, as well as the strategic decision-making ability you will need to build a successful career as a rural land or estate manager. Our course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.  

We will help you to develop an analytical, strategic approach to managing and advising on rural land and estates. We underpin this by developing your understanding of the legal, social, ecological and economic aspects that affect and govern the rural environment and also offer a selection of optional modules to enable you to personalise your degree.

Management case studies on local farms and rural estates allow you to apply knowledge and skills to real life problems. The programme culminates with either a project or dissertation, which is designed to consolidate your learning.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

How we teach you

Our programmes are designed and delivered by internationally-renowned experts, with a wealth of academic and professional experience. All of our programmes are regularly updated to maintain their relevance in a rapidly changing industry.

Our teaching received an excellent score in the most recent independent Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA), highlighting our commitment to maintaining a world-class learning environment. You will enjoy access to our cutting-edge research, ensuring that you remain at the forefront of the field.

We believe that our students should have access to good quality resources and, in addition to the facilities offered by the University, we fund a professionally staffed Resource Centre.

We aim to create a stimulating academic environment; you will be encouraged to develop individual interests and general skills as a basis for a career in the property industry, a related field or for further study.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

How to apply

Apply for 2017 entry now

There are two different application processes: apply online and apply by post.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Postgraduate study at Henley Business School, at the University of Reading is through the University’s online application service.

This allows you to complete your application information, attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information and also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references directly to us.

Apply online

Apply online now using the University of Reading's online application system.

Apply by post

If you are unable to apply online you can request a paper application form by telephoning +44(0) 118 378 5289 or writing to the Admissions Office, University of Reading, Miller Building, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK.

When to apply

We operate a rolling admissions system and it is recommended that you apply early to secure your place. There is no specific deadline and applications will be considered until the programme is full. However, to allow time for us to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates for admission in October:

  • UK/EU applicants: by 1 August
  • International applicants: by 1 June

After you apply

You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your application form. Your application is then reviewed by a member of staff.  Successful applicants will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry cri­teria you will need to meet and you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

A (non refundable) deposit of between £500 and £1,000 (depending on the programme you have applied for) is payable upon acceptance of an offer of a place. International applicants requiring a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a visa will be sent the CAS details by email once all conditions of the offer have been met, and the relevant deposit has been paid.

Throughout the admissions process we will keep you updated with key information via email.   We also provide opportunities to interact with faculty and staff online.

You can find us on Facebook and keep up-to-date with news and events in the School or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student; our students and alumni are always happy to share their Henley experience.

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If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Meet us

If you are unable to attend a postgraduate event please get in touch with our team.  We will be happy to speak to you by telephone, on Skype or through our Live Chat system (during UK office hours: 9 - 5 pm).

Our contact details are: or telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Please see our full list of world fairs where you can meet a Henley representative. 




Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Contact image

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Why Henley?

Many of the UK’s most successful rural land managers began their careers at the University of Reading. The MSc Rural Land and Business Management is recognised by employers as an excellent preparation for a career in rural surveying.  Like previous students, you can benefit from a course that encourages you to develop the ability to make the kind of complex decisions you will come across in practice by fostering originality, initiative, and sound judgement, and develops a critical awareness of current problems and new insights at the forefront of the discipline.

Real Estate & Planning:
Our School is the largest in the UK for teaching and research in real estate and planning. Established in 1968 at the University of Reading, we are the only major UK real estate and planning centre to be located within a business school.  Being part of the Henley Business School reflects our close and longstanding collaborative relationship with industry.
We enjoy a worldwide reputation for excellence in both teaching and research and we are consistently highly ranked in all major league tables. We undertake internationally recognised, leading edge research into real estate, planning and land and we offer a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, all of which are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Our planning courses are also fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute. Our programmes are held in high regard by leading employers, many of whom come to us each year to recruit our graduates. We are proud of our outstanding employment record, with more than 95% of our students entering graduate level jobs within 6 months of leaving us.

Henley Business School:

Consistently maintain highest standards: Henley is in top 1% of business schools worldwide to hold accreditation from all three bodies in the UK, Europe and US

Excellent networking potential : 70,000 Henley alumni in 150 countries

High calibre students: always oversubscribed, 1,000 ambitious new Masters students join Henley each year

Award winning campus: beautiful, green, 134 hectares, with state of the art facilities

World-leading faculty: widely published, frequently asked for expert comment by media and to speak at events

Part of world top 1% ranked university: Reading has a global reputation for its learning experience and employability potential.

Course modules

Module descriptions are correct for modules taught in the academic year 2016/17. Optional module listings are indicative, and may be subject to change.

Module Name Credits


Compulsory Modules:

This module aims to enable students to develop an understanding of the environment in which rural property operates. During the course, students will be introduced to the legal and planning frameworks surrounding the ownership of UK property, as well as some of the basic skills and knowledge areas that contribute to other surveying pathway modules.

  • Introduction to the English legal system
  • Introduction to UK property law, including land law, landlord and tenant law
  • Introduction to the town and country planning system operating in the UK
  • Introduction to basic investment appraisal techniques as appropriate to property analysis
  • Introduction to basic financial planning tools for business

10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the legal principles governing the occupation of freehold land and the financial, technical and market context of the appraisal of agricultural land value. It aims to set these in their practical and commercial context. Students will be able to recognise the determinants of land value and distinguish between different valuation techniques, depending upon the role of the appraisal, and understand the limitations of different techniques.

  • Agricultural landlord and tenant law
  • Joint venture arrangements
  • Short-term arrangements and licences
  • Business tenancies and rural property
  • Residential tenancies
  • The agricultural land market
  • Application of appraisal techniques to agricultural property
  • Consideration of valuations for specific purpose
  • Valuations for rent reviews – Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 and Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995
  • Statutory valuations – compulsory purchase
  • Valuation of improvements and dilapidations

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to assist students to develop the application of management concepts to real life business situations. The module develops the student’s ability to utilize the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in other modules and to integrate this knowledge through projects based on applied property and business examples.

  • Four industry-led case studies
  • Site visits for each case study to rural estates  and farms
  • Individual and group work
  • Written reports and presentations
  • Prizes awarded by industry sponsors
  • Diverse topics and skills assessed

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of taxation as it affects rural property and business. The module provides a solid foundation, particularly in the area of capital taxation, enabling students to understand how tax may impact on the ownership and transfer of rural property and the role of the rural agent and valuer in mitigating those impacts.

  • Inheritance tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • Stamp duty land tax and taxes on high-value dwellings
  • VAT (value-added tax)
  • Income tax and corporation tax
  • Valuations for taxation
  • Tax planning

10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to examine current countryside issues and policies, with an emphasis on planning in England and Wales. The context for the module is the changing economic and social drivers in the countryside. The module links with other modules in enabling students to understand the UK planning system but placing standard institutional arrangements and structures in a rural context.

  • Agricultural Policy
  • Rural Land Use - problems, conflicts and policy impacts
  • The Rural Economy
  • Housing
  • Transport and services
  • Conservation, biodiversity and recreation
  • Planning for sustainable rural communities 

10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide an insight into the diverse range of rural land-based businesses located in either a different part of Britain, or abroad.  It allows students to integrate and apply a range of core estate management skills and disciplines.  It encourages students to evaluate critically land and property issues in their wider economic, social, political and legal context, and develop field-based skills of observation, analysis and evaluation.

  • Residential field trip of  5-7 days
  • Wide range of visits to landed estates and rural businesses
  • Development of field based skills and evaluation capability
  • Assessment based on site visits
  • Diverse enterprises, including leisure, tourism, renewable energy, game and conservation management
  • Landscape management issues and ecosystem services

20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module has the following broad aims:
- To develop understanding of the control function of farm management
- To develop understanding of the fundamental role that planning plays in managing a farm business
This encompasses the following objectives:
- To review and interpret farm business data, particularly for measuring and analysing the performance of a business in financial terms
- To apply planning methods and techniques to facilitate managerial decisions making and resource planning


20 [10 ECTS credits]

and one of either:

This module aims to develop students' research and analytical skills and to apply them to a substantive research project of a student’s (guided) choice. This module will enhance the students' ability to utilise the knowledge, understanding and skills developed previously across the whole programme, integrating this in the context of the particular study undertaken.

  • Independent research project , supervised by tutor
  • Topic selected by student, with guidance
  • Data collection designed to fit the topic
  • Written into a dissertation of c.12,0000 words

40 [20 ECTS credits]

This module aims to enable the student to apply their understanding of rural land and business management in a specific setting. The project therefore strengthens both their conceptual development and their capacity to apply their learning in an organisational setting.

  • Opportunity to pursue a business plan or feasibility study on a subject relevant to rural land and businesses
  • Independent business project  providing an alternative to the research dissertation
  • Subject provided by the student on a specific case study and site
  • Format of the report ( c.12,0000 words) designed to fit the subject
  • Supervised by tutor

40 [20 ECTS credits]

Optional Modules:

The aim of this module is for you to understand the role of marketing in the business environment and to make you familiar with the marketing decisions that need to be taken by a company and how a company might approach these decisions.


10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide an understanding of human resource management, its main components, and their relevance to small and medium sized businesses.


10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to aims provide students with the necessary skills and understanding to be able to take strategic decisions over future business direction at both the estate and enterprise level, and to recognise the opportunities for diversifying the commercial base of a rural business.

  • Diversification opportunities
  • Whole Estate and Farm Planning
  • Financial planning, budgets, marketing, resource evaluation
  • Legal ownership & regulatory environments
  • Building conversions
  • Renewable energy
  • Leisure, tourism and retail enterprises

10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of UK woodland management and timber production, primarily in the context of lowland farms and estates, but with reference also to upland forestry. It provides an overview of the timber industry and of prevailing national and international policy and market issues.

  • Forestry policy, grants and regulations
  • Lowland silvicultural practices
  • Timber marketing and valuation
  • Pests and diseases
  • Woodland ecology and biodiversity

10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module aims to enable students to: * Appreciate the role of project appraisal in making informed decisions on the allocation of resources for agricultural and rural development. * Understand the distinction between financial, economic and social dimensions of project appraisal. * Understand the need for integrating environmental assessment in project appraisal. * Understand how macroeconomic, policy and management issues affect the outcome of agricultural and rural development projects.


10 [5 ECTS credits]

To encourage and enable students to:
~ understand how business and organisations address environmental issues, measure their impacts and respond to drivers such as policy and regulation and pressure from consumers and the wider public 
~ examine and critically appraise the relationships between the principles of environmental management and its practice in a number of case studies
~ place their own understanding and experience (professional and/or educational) in a broader multidisciplinary perspective of issues relating to environmental land management.
~ develop further their skills in researching cross-cutting issues relating to environmental land management, including skills of critical reasoning, analysing, evaluating and synthesising
~ develop further their communication skills and team working abilities.


10 [5 ECTS credits]

To provide the students with the basic tools necessary to understand the importance of the environment in human welfare.


10 [5 ECTS credits]

To encourage and enable students to:
~ understand the role of Earth’s ecosystems in underpinning human society
~ develop an understanding of the hidden subsidies and feedbacks which currently are often not considered and consequently not valued
~ evaluate the contribution of ecosystem services to human economy and its stability
~ think beyond the immediately obvious and uncover relationships and feedback between the natural environment and human society
~ further develop reasoning and communication skills in moderated discussions and question sessions during lectures and external visits 


10 [5 ECTS credits]

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Fees and funding

Fees 2016-17
Home (UK/EU) International (non EU) 
£9,250 £15,750
Fees 2017-18
Home (UK/EU) International (non EU) 
£9,250 £15,750
Please note that a non-refundable deposit is payable when confirming your acceptance of an offer of a place. This is part of your tuition fee and will be deducted from the total amount upon enrolment.

We are very pleased to announce that in addition to the funding opportunities offered below the School of Real Estate & Planning has a Scholarship Fund for the 2016 Postgraduate entry of £170,000.

Information on Scholarships for Real Estate & Planning Postgraduate students

Alumni of the University of Reading who undertake their next level of study at Henley Business School will receive a tuition fee discount of £1000.

UK/European Union Postgraduate Loans

Loans of up to £10,000 are available to eligible students studying for postgraduate masters courses from the 2016-2017 Academic year. In general, students need to be domiciled in England.  EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

You can apply for a loan through the UK Government website.  You can read more about the scheme on the Student Loans Company website or on these two UK Government sites: Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.


(UK applicants only)

Applicants who normally live in the UK (for a minimum of three years) can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan to borrow between £300 and £10,000. This is a bank loan, with interest charged at a commercial fixed rate.

How to apply for a Career Development Loan

See Professional and Career Development Loans.

The University provides opportunities to students from a wide range of backgrounds, who have the desire and ability to succeed. There are a range of scholarships and bursaries on offer for postgraduate students. For further information see: Money matters, costs and budgets for postgraduate students.





  • Are you one of the brightest and best in the world of business?
  • Then simply apply for a Masters Fund Scholarship at the internationally-renowned Henley Business School.
  • Chance to study at a top 1% internationally-recognised business school
  • 100 Scholarships available – up to full value of a Master’s Programme
  • Our highest prize: the Prestigious Dean’s Scholarship: 100% fees paid Meet and dine with Henley’s senior management team.




Closing date

Closing date

Entry requirements

Rural Land and Business Management

UK students must possess a good first degree, either in a cognate subject (such as Agriculture, Agricultural Business Management, Agricultural Economics, Rural Resource Management, Environmental Management, Geography), or a non-cognate degree and some evidence of relevant work experience and interest. EU and international applicants must demonstrate an upper quartile performance from an internationally recognised University.

Students whose first language is not English are required to provide evidence of proficiency:

  • IELTS (British Council International English Language Test): Score of 7.0 overall with no component less than 6.0
  • Internet Based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):  Score of at least 100 with a minimum of 20 in Listening, Writing and Reading and 21 in Speaking..


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Careers and accreditations

Students taking this degree programme usually find employment as trainee chartered surveyors with firms having a rural specialism or undertaking substantive rural work. Real Estate and Planning has long-standing links with a number of larger firms that regularly recruit from the University.

Our graduates tell us the content of the course is highly relevant to the profession, training them to be analytical thinkers and leaders. They have frequently progressed to become directors of landed estates or surveying firms. Some have secured posts in environmental organisations, government agencies, planning consultancies, or in academia. Some find this higher degree pathway an ideal entry qualification into wider management careers.

Most graduates complete the two years’ professional training required to become members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and many also become members of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers. 

Our alumni association, the Reading Real Estate Foundation, organises career development and recruitment events for students throughout the year. These include an evening lectures series with key industry speakers, an annual Careers Fair and a highly successful mentoring programme – unique in the sector – which pairs individual students with industry professionals. We also have a professional Careers Development Advisor who helps our students with every aspect of the career development process, including identifying work placements, internships and permanent career opportunities.

The course prepares students for entry to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

What our students say

After two days of starting my Graduate Rural Surveying post with Bidwells in Cambridge I am already finding myself using the skills I acquired during my year at Reading. There is no doubt I learned an incredible breadth of knowledge through the variety of modules taught as part of the MSc in Rural Land and Business Management. I also strongly believe that I wouldn't have secured my role at Bidwells without the amazing support from the Henley Business School careers representative. Furthermore, the smaller more personal intake on the rural course means that you can interact more closely with the lecturers and your other classmates; which is probably why I am now living with two fellow students I met at Reading.

Daniella Kilsby-Steele, Graduate Rural Surveyor, Bidwells Cambridge