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Masters in Real Estate and Planning

Masters in Rural Land and Business Management

At a glance

  • Develop specialist knowledge and skills in planning and development
  • Accredited by RICS and recognised by the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers
  • Gain strategic decision-making skills needed to undertake a career in rural land and business management 
  • Obtain critical awareness of issues and challenges affecting the rural sector
  • Take part in a Rural field trip in the summer term
Subject area(s)
Real Estate & Planning
12 months
Programme Director
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley


The MSc Rural Land and Business Management course will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career in professional practice. This includes advising the owners and occupiers of rural land and property on their assets and businesses. This Masters course will prepare you for membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Through this programme, you’ll have the specialist skills to deal with the challenges facing rural businesses in the current and post-Brexit environment. We blend theory and practice to deliver a challenging programme, relevant to the changing demands of businesses in the sector. You’ll be encouraged to develop a critical awareness and learn to apply an analytical and strategic approach to rural practice.

Many of the UK’s most successful rural land managers began their careers with us. The programme is recognised by the UK’s top employers as an excellent preparation for a career in rural surveying. You will be taught by experts in the field (both academics and current practitioners). You will undertake real-life case studies, and visits to farms, estates and other rural businesses. All while working within the busy, vibrant society of one of the UK’s leading universities.

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 have 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. We offer a comprehensive range of courses, all of which are accredited by the  Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The MSc Rural Land and Business Management programme has an excellent employment record – 100% for the last four years. We have long-standing links with the major firms in the sector who regularly recruit from the University.

Core Modules

Compulsory modules Credits

This module covers the economic principles underlying land and property markets, as well as the economics of land markets.

Academic authors
WU Yi 75nkuq051
Dr Yi Wu
10 [5 ECTS credits]

The aim of this module is to develop the students’ understanding of core business and professional values and to illustrate the relevance of such value sets to professional practice in the real estate sector.

Academic authors
Eamonn D Arcy 75e5pfioc
Professor Eamonn D'Arcy
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
Academic authors
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Offering strategic advisory services is a key role for those aspiring to key roles in rural property consultancies. This module will explore both practical and strategic aspects of rural asset management, covering the breadth of property types and the range of different property owners – private, institutional, public and third sector – with differing strategic objectives. It will introduce students to the diverse challenges rural businesses may face, and the strategies that may be used to tackle them. Students will need to use a range of management concepts and tools to come up with creative and innovative solutions to complex problems. The second part of the module will consider the influence of taxation on rural asset management and planning.

Academic authors
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module will provide an introduction to the significant rural land uses in the UK: agriculture and other land-based industries, e.g. forestry, sporting, leisure and recreation, mineral extraction and waste management, and renewable energy. Students will consider the economic contribution these industries can provide to farming and estate businesses and the wider rural economy, and will be introduced to the concept of ecosystem services – the social and environmental benefits that can result from sustainable land management.

20 [10 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
Academic authors
Gavin Parker 75e5pfioc
Professor Gavin Parker
10 [5 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
Academic authors
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The Rural Field Trip module gives students an insight into a diverse range of rural land-based businesses located in either a different part of Britain, or abroad. Students will be expected to integrate and apply core estate management skills and understanding developed in the taught element of the programme, evaluate land and property issues in their wider economic, social, political and legal context, and develop field-based skills of observation, analysis and evaluation.

Academic authors
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley
10 [5 ECTS credits]

The Real Estate and Planning Dissertation module provides a vehicle for an in-depth understanding of a chosen area of planning, real estate, and rural land and business management practice. Depending on the student's interest, this independent study requires students to select a relevant topic or issue in their programme area for further research and analysis. They will also be specifically required to display academic rigour in carrying out an agreed research programme, in presenting findings, and in producing a high quality, fully referenced dissertation that is supported by appropriate statistical, qualitative and/or illustrative data.

Academic authors
Richard Nunes 75e5pfiod
Dr Richard Nunes
40 [20 ECTS credits]

Elective modules

Plus elective modules from a range offered by the School of Agriculture and Henley Business School, which may include:

Optional modules Credits

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 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]

Learn how to manage effectively a farm business by increasing the efficient use of the four factors of production (human capital, financial capital, physical capital, entrepreneurship). Gain an in depth understanding of the use of financial tools for decision making, and learn how to use the production function to efficiently allocate resources in order to maximise revenue, by examining the relationship between factor-factor, factor-product, and product-product relationship. In addition, through practical examples and in class exercises and tutorials, review a series of tools used for farm planning and control, investment appraisal and risk analysis.

20 [10 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]

Develop the skill set needed to analyse environmental problems. Learn about environmental policy making. In the computer lab, apply key techniques used by environmental economists such as environmental valuation. In this module, based on microeconomic foundations, we will consider, for example, conditions under which tradable permits, taxes, or subsidies might be most effective at controlling pollution; and how to deal with international environmental problems.

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
Academic authors
Angela Cropley 75j1cv3xd
Angela Cropley
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module focuses on the development of a conceptual understanding of sustainability and its applications in real estate. The focus is on the adoption of sustainability in the property industry throughout real estate life cycles, including how the concept is relevant and manifests itself at various life cycle stages, i.e. development, design, construction, operation, refurbishment and retrofitting. The module also focuses on drivers and barriers for the adoption of sustainable practices in the property industry, which includes the business case for sustainability.

Academic authors
Jorn van de Wetering 75e5pfioc
Dr Jorn van de Wetering
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module explores both practical and strategic aspects of real estate management primarily for commercial property, and examines innovation and change in this area. The subject is considered from the perspective of the various stakeholders (owners, tenants and owner/occupiers). Underpinning the module is the application of key management and business concepts to real estate advice and real estate management.

Academic authors
Dr Catherine Hughes 75j1cuzl7
Dr Catherine Hughes
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Historic buildings and sites are a major part of the built environment. Many will be hundreds of years old, but there are also more modern buildings considered as heritage. The construction industry’s work is evenly split between new-build and work to existing buildings, some of which will have some statutory protection, such as being listed.

This module introduces students to concepts and practices in conservation of the historic environment, both in the UK and internationally, and explains the roles of the actors involved. The underlying philosophies of conservation, their history and how heritage is managed through legal frameworks and policy form an important component. The module also considers matters relating to real estate processes and the shaping of both urban and rural environments. In so doing it covers aspects of architectural and landscape history, and practical building conservation. Examples and case studies are used throughout.

Academic authors
Henry Russell002 75edwqcke
Henry Russell
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change.

Our Real Estate & Planning postgraduate 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 programmes adhere to the highest academic and professional standards, with lectures given by academic members of staff and visiting speakers from senior positions in relevant professions. They are well supported by leading industry organisations who provide our students with valuable professional insight and feedback.

All our Masters programmes feature a mix of core and optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree towards your individual interests and career ambitions. Teaching methods will vary depending on your chosen programme; they include lectures, workshops, tutorials, individual and group assignments, case studies and site visits. All our full-time postgraduate programmes include a residential study tour.

Our research is internationally renowned as academically rigorous and policy relevant. It has a major influence on our programmes and is fully integrated into our teaching. As a postgraduate student you will have access to this cutting-edge research, a vital resource that will keep you at the forefront of the latest thinking.

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.

How can Henley Careers and Professional Development work with you?

We have an award-winning careers team that will support you through your postgraduate studies and four years after graduation.

Here is how Henley Careers and Professional Development can help you:

  • Careers Consultant appointments: Our Careers Consultant are here to help and support you with any careers related concern that you might have. Whether it’s CV advice, practicing for an interview, providing feedback if applications aren't successful or support planning your career goals. We are here to help empower you to progress in your career.
  • Events: Henley Careers and Professional Development organise numerous events aimed to help you build your confidence, develop the skills employers are looking for. Additionally, network with employers and expand your industry knowledge.
  • Alumni support: You can continue to book one-to-one appointments with your Careers Consultant and use our online resources. For up to four years after graduating we’re here to help and support in your career.
  • Career Smart: Get a head start in securing a graduate job by taking part in our online course, Career Smart. You can expect to learn about the graduate recruitment cycle in the UK. As well as where to look and how to start applying to jobs, and the different roles available to you.

For more information  please see our Careers page.

Continuing your career

We have long-standing links with the major firms in the sector who regularly recruit from the University. Recent graduates have gone on to work for multi-disciplinary rural consultancy firms. This includes Bidwells, Carter Jonas, CKD Galbraith, Fisher German, Knight Frank, Savills and Strutt & Parker. Plus specialist firms such as Dalcour Maclaren, as well as for regional firms throughout the country. They have also taken jobs with rural estate owners as trainee land agents, and organisations such as the National Trust and RSPB.

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. Others find this higher degree pathway an ideal entry qualification into wider management careers.

Most graduates complete the two years’ professional training and experience 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 process, including identifying work placements, internships and permanent career opportunities.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

This Masters programme will prepare you for membership of the RICS and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Our students and alumni are always keen to share their Henley experience. Whether you are a prospective applicant or already applied to a Masters programme at Henley Business School. You can ask questions to a current student by clicking the “Chat to our students” button below.

When contacting one of our students, please introduce yourself and the Masters programme you have applied for.

Speak to a current student

Contact us

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

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I have had a very eventful career, being a dentist turned technology enthusiast. There could not have been a better validator to my passion than my Masters and my professors. The entire experience, I feel, has done complete justice!

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I love the world of property because it impacts everyone’s daily life, from where you live, to where you work, shop, exercise and socialise. A personal highlight of the course is meeting and networking with other young professionals.

Jamie Parkes Masters in Real Estate
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