The four National University of Ireland Universities have offered a diploma in rural development to adults experienced in, or concerned about rural development since 1996. The diploma initiative arose from a government report on the needs for education and training for the development of rural areas. The universities acted upon the Creedon Report (1993) and offered a 60 credit two-year distance learning diploma in 11 separate themed modules. Over 400 people have completed this diploma since 1996 and have gone on to impact on their local communities, develop careers, develop enterprises, and impact on rural development policy.
By 2004 the universities were able to launch a follow on degree. This degree completed by distance learning in two years, (following the diploma), has graduated almost 80 people in the last four years.
This paper draws on research completed by two graduates of this degree. These graduates, with support from a summer research programme within NUI Maynooth, soug...