Find a Degree Postgraduate Taught Programmes Land Economy (Rural Surveying, RICS accredited)
This is the only programme of its kind in Scotland accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and allows graduates to proceed to the Assessment of Professional Competence and full professional membership of the RICS.

Key Facts

Study Modes
Full-time (12 months)
Part-time (27 months)
Entry Date
Learning Mode
Not Specified

Programme Details

A Taught Postgraduate Programme fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in Rural Surveying/Rural Property Management. The programme is a fast track course for graduates seeking entry into the Rural Professional Group of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It is the only programme of its kind in Scotland accredited by the RICS, allowing graduates to proceed to the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence and full professional membership of the RICS. It is also however a course which gives students a thorough grounding in all aspects of the countryside and land management, planning, environmental and rural policy issues. 

Each year, a large percentage of our students have secured employment in the industry by January. We are successful in exposing our students to industry and connecting them with employers. Due to the nature of our programme, our students are very much in demand. 

Why Study this Programme?

  • The only RICS accredited programme of its kind in Scotland, providing assurance of quality and relevance in the industry.
  • In the past 2 years over 75% of our students are offered a job contract less than 6 months into the programme. These include employment with all the main national rural surveying firms.
  • Teaching staff come from a range of backgrounds, from professional Rural Practitioners to individuals with experience of rural planning and property, agriculture, rural tourism, valuation, planning, environmental projects and diversification.
  • The programme includes visits to a wide range of highland and lowland estates for field visits and practical work. It includes a 6 day residential visit to the Scottish Highlands and a 3 day residential visit to estates and farms in central Scotland. Employers want graduates with the right practical skills and knowledge and we believe taking your learning out into the field, literally, is one of the best ways to achieve this.
  • The teaching team and student cohort each year form a very strong and positive working relationship. You will be studying with like-minded people who have a passion for sustainability and rural management.
  • Part time study is available to suit the needs of those already working.There are very close links with the Rural and Environmental Professional Groups within RICS.


Land Economy (Rural Surveying/Rural Property Management) is concerned with the management of land and its resources, rural businesses and their associated activities and interests.

The programme provides a range of knowledge and skills e.g. land management, public policy, law, planning, economics, and valuation, integrated to meet the future challenges facing landowners and land managers. Understanding of traditional land management (agriculture, forestry, sporting) and emerging and topical issues  (environmental and conservation activities, tourism projects, planning issues, countryside access, diversification projects,  steading conversions  and renewable energy initiatives) is combined with an understanding of the business skills necessary for successful decision-making and rural business management. As a rural land and business manager the student/graduate is concerned not only with practical land management but also with the financial, legal, planning, and policy contexts within which decisions are made and business interests managed.

Contact Information

For further information about the programme or to discuss your application, please contact the Graduate School Admissions Unit.



Land and Environmental Economics

Students will learn how to apply economic principles to topical issues relating to land management. These pertain to landscape, nature conservation and the environment and often come to the fore where an individual's actions affect other people such as through a development proposal. Regulation of such externalities or spillovers are examined together with valuation of environmental amenities such as clean air or outdoor recreation. The course studies the major methods used by economists to assign a value to such natural assets and conservation resources.

Forestry and Game Management

In relation to Forestry, which takes up the major part of this course, students study the planning and caring of trees and the management of woods for conservation purposes, commercial exploitation and recreational use.  There are several field visits. Overview of the British forestry sector and examines classification of woodlands, tree identification, silvicultural systems and estate policy. Game management examines upland and lowland estates in terms of deer and grouse management together with salmon fishing and other related game interests.

Agricultural Principles and Practice

Students will gain a valuable introduction to all aspects of agricultural production systems and management.  This includes land use for agriculture (crop production and animal husbandry), the management of the countryside, its economic significance, geographical spread and social significance. Visits to farms include projects on farm types and different systems, the importance of mixed farming and sustainable agriculture. Also covered is sustainable agri practices and grant schemes, CAP support system and annual cycle of operations.

Planning, Land and Environmental Law

Provides a background to the role of the law in regulating the management and use of the countryside. As such there is an emphasis on planning law and the role of the planning system at national and local levels in terms of developmnet management and development plans.  It also covers landscape and nature conservation, access legislation, community right to buy, EIA, tenancy agreements, agricultural holdings legislation, rent reviews and CPO powers.

Valuation for Rural Surveyors

Introduces students to the concepts of land and property valuation as defined by the RICS and develops a specialised knowledge of rural land and property valuation. This covers the principles and practices of agricultural valuation along with sporting estates and rural housing. Students will be able to produce rural land valuations in a professional context. There will be a focus on the formal processes and procedures adopted in the UK in the approach to the valuation of property and an awareness of the various purposes for which valuations are required.

Rural Business Management

Students learn about the inputs and outputs in both physical and financial terms for the main landed activities on rural estates, including setting and preparing management objectives and plans. Field visits examine the financial interactions of rural estate enterprises and the development of specific areas of an estate: eg diversification. Preparation and analysis of financial accounts and forward financial planning together with basic taxation and the granting of wayleaves and servitudes are examined.

Rural Policy in Practice

The course examines rural policy, land use and socio-economic issues associated with the countryside at local and national scales.  Issues include land management, tourism, diversification, planning, conservation etc. 

The substantive element is a field trip to the Highlands or Lake District where projects will be studied with visits to various estates and key stakeholder agencies. Students identify research topics and undertake research on policy topics in groups and individually.  Formal teaching includes lecture and seminars.

Research Methods

Students are introduced to relevant research methods for the analysis of rural, land, property, and environmental resources. The course is the fundamental building block for the substantive dissertation that students undertake over the summer. Topics studies in detail include strategy formulation  for effective literature review, various methodological approaches, the selection of  appropriate methods for carrying out specified research exercises and the production of feasible research proposals and programmes of work.

Dissertation (Masters students only)

Previous dissertation project examples include:

  • Tourism diversification in lowland farms
  • The effects of Land Reform and the Review of Agricultural Holdings Legislations on Succession/Business Planning
  • Land owners perception of land reform in Scotland
  • Red deer management in Scotland
  • Assessing the publically perceived value of peat bogs.


Case Study (PgDip students only)

Learning Methods

Field Trip, Group Projects, Individual Projects, Lectures, Research


Courses are assessed via coursework and formal examinations. There are two diets of examinations: December and May, normally four courses examined at each diet. As you progress greater emphasis is placed on the application of knowledge and skills, project work increases and examinations are fewer. Projects focus on local estates, rural businesses, and farms and are designed to incorporate the types of task expected in the workplace.


Highly qualified and motivated staff will teach you, including those with considerable practical experience. A variety of teaching and assessment methods are used. All courses involve lectures, seminars and project work although the relative balance varies as you progress through the programme. Courses typically involve two or three hours of lectures. There are half-day, whole day, and four day field visits (for example, to Highland estates) for general experience and in relation to specific assessments. These regularly involve leading practitioners in the field.

Project-work includes a mix of individual and group exercises. Residential field visits include a  group project based visit to a national park in England or Scotland.


The programme is designed for graduates from any discipline. It is the only programme of its kind in Scotland accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Graduates therefore have the option of entering a career in chartered surveying (Rural or Environmental Professional Groups) having already made progress towards their APC. Career options include such areas as land agency, estate management, countryside management, and rural policy and development. Diploma and Masters graduates in Rural Surveying are particularly highly sought-after by the leading land agency firms throughout the UK: Smiths-Gore, Strutt and Parker, Bidwells and Savills to name but a few. Many of these firms visit the Department as part of their annual recruitment strategy. Other graduates have secured employment with landed estates (Buccleuch Estates, Moray Estates, Strathmore Estates, Dunecht Estates), conservation bodies (SNH, RSPB) and public authorities (National Parks, Local Authorities).

Each year, a large percentage of our students have secured employment in the industry by January. We are successful in exposing our students to industry and connecting them with employers. Due to the nature of our programme, our students are very much in demand. 

Gervase Topp "A real centre for excellence in my opinion. Aberdeen has a friendly small town feeling but is large enough to have everything you need in a city. Great nightlife and the amazing Scottish countryside is just a few miles from your doorstep." [More]
Gervase Topp "The degree that I obtained from Aberdeen has been a great stepping stone towards my chosen career path and without coming to Aberdeen I would never have got the job I am in." [More]
Gervase Topp "The MLE course is a well-respected and renowned course and the only one available in Scotland." [More]

Our minimum entry requirement for this programme is a UK Honours degree (or an honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth) at a 2:2 (lower second) class or above.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirement but who have appropriate professional experience will also be considered. 

It is important when submitting an application that you ensure you have completed all the necessary sections and enclosed all the relevant documentation to ensure that your application can be processed as quickly as possible.

We have one intake of students each year in September. Late applications may be asked to wait until the next intake should the programme coordinator feel there is insufficient time to consider the application. Prospective students who require a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early in the year as possible to secure a place. Applications received after 30th June from students who need to apply for a visa to study in the UK will not be processed for entry in September of that year but may be considered for entry the following year as appropriate.

It is important to note that the programmes of postgraduate study at the University of Aberdeen are very competitive and the entry requirements stated are a guide to the minimum requirements, but do not guarantee entry.

English Requirements

Even if you have been educated in the medium of English you must meet our English Language requirements. These are located at This programme requires that you meet the 'Postgraduate Standard' level of English proficiency. If you are in doubt about your proficiency in English, contact the British Council office or its equivalent in your country. If your first language is not English, it is important that your proficiency in English is good in order for you to study successfully at the University of Aberdeen . Without this ability you will find great difficulty in understanding lectures, producing written work and sitting examinations.


2016/17 Fees

UK/EU Students - £7,100

International - £15,400

Information on tuition fees, can be found on the University Registry website.

PLEASE NOTE: Students will also be expected to cover the costs of travel to residential field work destinations. 


Funding opportunities can be found in our searchable Funding Database. You are advised to search the database as a broad range of funding exists much of which you may be eligible for.

A list of funding opportunities is also maintained on the College of Physical Sciences Funding Page.

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated (or about to graduate) with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. More Information


Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576

Social Media