Present edition: 1st part: 26 September 2016 – 9 June 2017 / 2nd part: September 2017 – June 2018 ··
Next edition: 1st part: September 2018 – June 2019 / 2nd part: September 2019 – June 2020
Interest of this Master
The use of rural space and the management of natural resources in Mediterranean countries cannot be carried out by merely extrapolating the options developed in other ecological systems. The proposals and solutions adopted in each situation ought to be based on an individualized analysis of the natural, economic and social components at stake and should contemplate the dynamic functioning of the system adopted. This means that professionals must be able to take a global and integrating approach to resources and furthermore, be aware of the basics, the possibilities and the limits that modern resource assessment techniques and information management offer to the decision maker.
This Master programme is designed to train professionals in the area of planning for the development of rural areas and environmental management through the analysis and integration of natural, economic and social components conforming rural systems, and the application of modern techniques for resource evaluation and information management as tools for decision making in rural space planning. The specialization profile of this degree enables students to undertake technical responsibilities in this domain as well as to perform high-level scientific research.
This Master learning objectives are to provide:
- The bases and principles governing the behaviour of rural systems and their underlying physical, socioeconomic, legal and institutional subsystems, and the methods and techniques applicable to the different steps of a rural planning project.
- Criteria to distinguish and integrate the different components and subsystems of a rural system and to value the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of strategies and methodologies that enable a better management of the rural environment and that thus may contribute to enhancing the development of rural systems.
- Skills to design, develop and assess integrated planning projects in different rural environments and situations that consider different land use alternatives, estimating their viability and appropriateness given the initial situation, the objectives of the project and the environmental and socioeconomic constraints.
- Experience in planning and carrying out a work of initiation to research in integrated planning in rural areas whose results may be potentially publishable, working under the supervision of a tutor but in a manner that must be largely autonomous.
- Mastering of the scientific and technical information underpinning the research conducted, command of the techniques and methodologies relevant to such research, and capacity to objectively evaluate the significance of its results and conclusions.
- Skills to communicate the reasoning and conclusions of tutored works carried out in a group o autonomously, to prepare informative and synthetic documents, and to prepare and present oral communications to be delivered and defended before an audience.
- Aptitudes and attitudes for multidisciplinary and intercultural teamwork.
The working activity of this Master graduates focuses on the administration’s environmental, planning and development departments; on technical consulting companies; on environmental management enterprises; on the environmental area of the main industrial corporations; on research and education.
Information on the students
The students of this Master proceed mainly from CIHEAM member countries (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey), although they may come from other parts of the world, in particular, Europe and Latin America.
In the last 10 editions of the Master, 243 students from 31 countries have participated:
- Mediterranean countries, members of CIHEAM: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey
- Other Mediterranean countries: Palestine, Syria
- Other European countries: Germany, United Kingdom
- Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
- Other countries: Mauritania, Rumania
Characteristics and organization
This Master is an official Master of the Spanish university system within the framework of the European Space for Higher Education. This Master has a clear international character and it has been on offer since 1976, its contents being updated and revised for each new edition.
Duration, mode and study regime
The Master has a duration of two years (120 ECTS) and is delivered on a face-to-face mode, full time basis. The Master begins every second year, so candidates may only register every two years.
The credit system follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), where one credit equals 25 workload hours (including lectures, practical work, tutorials, preparing and sitting examinations, and personal and group work). The total workload hours per academic year is 1500.
In order to access the second part of the Master, it is necessary to have passed the first one and submit the required protocols for the tutored training activities constituting the second part (Practicum and Master’s final work) duly endorsed by the tutors. The period between registration to the first part of the Master and the Master of Science awarding date may not exceed four years. In exceptional, and duly justified cases, special exemptions may be granted.
Scientific direction and academic co-ordination
The Master scientific direction is performed by Guy Engelen (Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Belgium), Juan F. Bellot (University of Alicante, Spain) and Rosario Fanlo (Master Co-ordinator in the University of Lleida, Spain).
The Master programme avails of a technical coordinator (María Teresa Aguinaco) belonging to the IAMZ staff, who is in charge of supervising all those aspects related to the Master development and daily follow-up of the programme. The coordinator deals with the students’ suggestions and claims, acting as liaison between them, the scientific directors, the lecturers, the IAMZ administration and the UdL/IAMZ-CIHEAM Studies Commission of the Master.
Lecturers are assigned a time devoted to tutorials and clarification of doubts during their lecturing period. In the case of guest lecturers, IAMZ facilitates anytime the contact between them and the students throughout the programme, even when they are no longer present physically.
For the development of the integrated planning projects, the students are assigned tutors who supervise the development of the projects, advise them in the definition of the work plan, as well as in the choice and implementation of methods and techniques, support them to contact sources of information and experts, and guide them in the preparation of presentations for each stage of the project. Various lecturers also provide them with specific training on data sources, group dynamics and diagnosis methodology, and with advice on the direct application to the study area of the criteria, methods and techniques dealt with during the lectures.
Students, if they request so, are assessed by the scientific directors of the Master, the technical co-ordinator and the UdL/IAMZ-CIHEAM Studies Commission of the Master on the election of the Practicum and the research work to be carried out during the second part of the Master, as well as on the election of the Practicum tutor, the research project director and the most adequate institutions for these activities. The Master’s organizing institutions also propose topics related to their research activities or other topics of interest previously arranged with a collaborating institution.
While carrying out the Practicum and the research work, each student has the guidance and advice of the Practicum tutor and the research project director, who must be a doctor of acknowledged prestige in the topic chosen.
Competences of this Degree
- GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
- GC2 Performing scientific and/or technical information searches and processing them selectively.
- GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
- GC4 Making decisions and generating new ideas and knowledge in complex systems.
- GC5 Learning and working autonomously, responding to unforeseen situations and re-aiming a strategy if necessary.
- GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.
- GC7 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.
- GC8 Writing presentations and synthesis, preparing and presenting oral communications, and defending them in public.
- SC1 Understanding the complexity of the factors characterizing rural areas and determining their evolution and sustainable development.
- SC2 Identifying the physical, landscape and biological diversity of an area, understanding the production processes, both of the natural systems and the agricultural production, and estimating their sustainability.
- SC3 Considering the social and economic processes in an area, and assessing the implications of different legislations, policies, actions and activities on its development.
- SC4 Characterizing and assessing the different sub-systems (physical, economic and social) and elements interacting in rural areas, and diagnosing their potentials and limitations.
- SC5 Applying principles, methods and techniques for the spatial and socio-economic analysis of a territory, and foreseeing the most probable changes throughout time.
- SC6 Planning options for the conservation and management of the physical environment, the improvement of agricultural production and the socio-economic dynamization of rural areas, which guarantee their system’s sustainability.
- SC7 Understanding and valuing the usefulness of applying different methodologies and tools to the design of environmental and development policies, to the improvement of the management and to the integrated planning of a territory.
- SC8 Acknowledging the importance of society’s participation in planning projects for the development of rural areas, and applying methodologies and techniques to promote this participation.
- SC9 Allocating land uses and assessing their possible impact on the territory.
- SC10 Proposing management and development alternatives which may provide solutions to the problems of rural areas, as well as social, environmental and/or economic benefits, considering the viability of their implementation.
- SC11 Planning research projects, determining their objectives and the various stages to accomplish.
- SC12 Assessing the suitability of methods and techniques potentially applicable to a research project previously determined within the scope of integrated planning, and knowing how to use the most relevant techniques.
- SC13 Designing and implementing the necessary experiments for research in integrated planning, obtaining and analyzing the results and drawing conclusions assessing their significance.
- TC IAMZ-CIHEAM Engaging in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment.
- TC1UdL Achieving correction both in oral and written communication.
- TC2UdL Mastering a foreign language.
- TC3UdL Mastering information and communication technologies.
- TC4UdL Respecting the fundamental rights of equality between men and women, the promotion of Human Rights and the values of a culture of peace and democratic principles.
The programme of the Master is structured in two parts. The first part (60 ECTS) is professionally oriented and comprises lectures, practicals, personal and group work and study, and technical visits. This part is delivered by UdL lecturers and guest lecturers of acknowledged experience from international institutions and universities, research centres, administration services and companies from different countries. The second part (60 ECTS) focuses on initiation to research, applying discerningly the knowledge, skills and competences acquired in the first part of the Master to the tackling of real issues related to planning and environmental management of rural areas. This part of the Master is carried out at UdL or other prestigious universities, research centres or companies, generally in Spain or the student’s country of origin, under the supervision of a Practicum tutor and a research project director, who must be a PhD with experience and reputation in the research topic.
To see each Unit programme in detail, please refer to the section Syllabus and Study guide.
First part of the programme
Unit 1. Planning for sustainable rural development (4 ECTS)
Introduces the student to the understanding of rural areas, their complexity and the factors determining and driving their development, and to their integrated planning at different spatial and temporal scales. System analysis is presented as the most appropriate framework for integrated planning, and the main methodologies used to carry out planning are outlined, highlighting in particular those used for the development of the planning project in Unit 8.
Unit 2. Natural resources (5 ECTS)
Presents the characterization of the natural environment elements: water, soil, climate and vegetation, as well as their functions and interrelationships in the system at different scales, including examples which analyze interactions and provide elements for the management of these resources.
Unit 3. Natural and agricultural production systems (7 ECTS)
This Unit consists of three parts. The first one discusses the causes and consequences of territory heterogeneity and the interaction between spatial patterns and ecological processes, introducing quantitative methods used in the analysis of rural landscape dynamics. The second part focuses on the components and processes of natural systems and agricultural production, highlighting the different management systems and the analysis of their sustainability. The third part studies biodiversity and the conservation of species and areas providing guidelines for the selection of protected areas, for the allocation of land uses and for management.
Unit 4. Environmental economics and policies (6 ECTS)
Provides the knowledge, criteria and methodologies that allow the economic analysis of a territory both from a market perspective and through the valuation of goods and services, underlining how to manage properly the system’s renewable and non-renewable resources and implement effective environmental policies
Unit 5. Socioeconomics of rural areas and development policies (5 ECTS)
Presents the methodologies for rural areas characterization and socio-economic analysis, considering the rural and agrarian transformation within the context of globalization and analyzing development processes both in developed and developing countries. The importance of social participation in development plans and processes is stressed, and the role of agricultural and development policies in the revitalization of rural areas and the propitiation of establishing viable development alternatives, such as rural tourism, is discussed.
Unit 6. Spatial and socioeconomic analysis (9 ECTS)
Provides knowledge about the main tools used in socio-economic and spatial analysis of a territory: cartographic analysis, geographic information systems and digital database management, remote sensing and its application to natural resource management, and the analysis of socio-economic statistical data. This Unit has an essentially practical approach based on the use of techniques, knowledge of its advantages and limitations, and the interpretation of the results obtained.
Unit 7. Land use allocation and modelling (9 ECTS)
Presents the methodologies used in planning projects for the understanding of complex systems and the forecasting of their evolution over time. Likewise, the methodologies used for the election of land use alternatives and their impact assessment are discussed. The usefulness of some of these methodologies is also examined, especially modelling as a tool for the design of spatial planning policies and as a support in the definition of management strategies.
Unit 8. Integrated planning project (15 ECTS)
This project represents the application of the knowledge, criteria and techniques acquired in the previous Units to the integrated planning of a real area. Students work in groups under the guidance of a tutor and gain practical experience in the design and development of projects. This Unit comprises 3 subjects: Inventory (4 ECTS), Diagnosis of the physical, social and economic environment (4 ECTS), and Generation and evaluation of alternatives and plan of action (7 ECTS).
Second part of the programme
Unit 9. Introduction to research (30 ECTS)
This Unit is divided into two subjects. The first one, "Basic tools for the elaboration of scientific and technical documents and publications" (6 ECTS) provides skills in writing, composition and review of technical and scientific texts, and for the establishment and use of bibliographic reference databases. The second subject "Practicum on Rural Planning" provides the background knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for the planning and realization of research or professional projects in a given topic within the Master speciality. The Practicum topic is chosen according to the educational and professional interest of the student, and can take place in various universities, research centres and companies collaborating in this part of the programme. It is a practical professional stage in which the student, under the supervision of a tutor, works and learns autonomously and benefits from being included in a working team. Training focuses on understanding the scientific-technical objectives of the research or work carried out by the host team on the topic chosen for the Practicum, on the handling of the instrumentation and equipment used by such team, on the identification of sources of knowledge relevant to the topic and on the effective planning of work.
Unit 10. Master’s final work (Master Thesis) (30 ECTS)
Represents the application of the training received to the production of an original research project on a specific topic, within the scope in which the student has performed the Unit "Introduction to research", and whose results are potentially publishable. The student is provided with training and supervision to master the application of techniques and methods selected for the research and for becoming able to objectively assess the significance of the results and conclusions obtained. Likewise, the student is endowed with the necessary training in order to produce a written document on the project carried out, and submit and orally defend the research results before a jury.
First part of the Master (first academic year)
It usually starts at the beginning of October and finishes at the beginning of June. This part takes place during morning and afternoon, with two periods of vacation: Christmas (3 weeks) and Easter (2 weeks). The exact dates are determined each year according to the annual planning of the academic year and are announced in advance.
Units 1 to 5 are developed sequentially, although some basic subjects of Units 4 and 5 are brought forward in the programme to allow the rational implementation of the planning project stages of Unit 8. Unit 6, which supports the completion the early stages of Unit 8, takes place during the first half of the academic year. Unit 8, the application of the training received on the different Units of the first academic year, takes place over the two semesters. To see the specific timetable for each Unit, please refer to the section Syllabus and Study guide.
Second part of the Master (second academic year)
The subject "Basic tools for the development of scientific and technical documents and publications" takes place in two weeks at the end of the first part of the Master. The Practicum on Rural Planning and the Master’s final work (Master Thesis) are developed during the third and fourth semesters, amounting in total a maximum duration of 10 months. The Practicum usually begins in early September, although, depending on the Protocol established or the convenience of the tutor and the host institution, the starting date may be delayed or slightly brought forward, prior acceptance of the UdL/IAMZ-CIHEAM Studies Commission of the Master. Since this part of the programme [Practicum and Master’s final work (Master Thesis)] occurs in the collaborating institutions (universities, research centres or companies), the working schedule and holiday calendar is adapted to the specific requirements of such institutions.
Before the beginning of the first part of the Master, during the months from July to September, an intensive Spanish language course is organized for those students who need it (for more details, please refer to the epigraph "Spanish language course", under the section Practical information for the students). To see the language knowledge specific requisites, please refer to the section Access, admission and scholarships.
In the first part of the programme, the lectures of Units 1 to 7 are delivered in Spanish or English. In the latter case, simultaneous interpretation is provided into Spanish. The handouts provided by the lecturers may also be written in Spanish or in English. The exams can be taken either in Spanish, French or English. In Unit 8, the students write in team the project documents in Spanish. The oral presentations and defence of the Unit may be performed either in Spanish, French or English.
In the second part of the programme, within Unit 9’s Practicum, the tutored training is usually performed in Spanish, although by agreement between the students and the tutors and their working teams, this may be done in another language, especially when the training takes place abroad. The periodical reports may be sent in Spanish, French or English. The oral exam before the Jury may also be performed in Spanish, English or French. In Unit 10, the students may write the Thesis document and carry out the oral presentation and defence in any of the three languages: Spanish, English or French.
Lecturers of the first part of the Master
The quality of the lecturers guarantees high-level training and constant updating of topics. The diversity of their origin, both geographical and institutional, contributes to the dynamism of the courses and enables the students to contrast different theories, methods and results.
In the Master’s last edition, 55 lecturers from 7 different countries have participated, coming from:
Universities:Canada: University of Victoria; Spain: Universidad de Alicante, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad de Córdoba, Universitat de Lleida, Universidad de Zaragoza, Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Universitat Politècnica de València, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos; Ireland: University College Cork; Portugal: Universidade do Algarve, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa; Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico; The netherlands: Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology.
Research Centers: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), European Topic Centre/Univ. Málaga (Spain), Flemish Institute for Technological Research NV (VITO) (Belgium).
Spanish Public Administrations: Instituto Aragonés de Estadística (IAE-GA).
Enterprises and other private bodies: Centro de Desarrollo del Somontano (CEDER Somontano) (Spain), DENDROS S.L. (Spain), ECAS (Spain), ESTEYCO (Spain), Grupo TYPSA (Spain), Koan Consulting S.L. (Spain), PANTOPICON (The Netherlands), PCRASTER (The Netherlands), Prímula Asesores (Spain), QUASAR S.A. (Spain), Sociedad Aragonesa de Gestión Medioambiental (SARGA) (Spain).
To see in detail who are the lecturers providing training in every Unit, please refer to the section Syllabus and Study guide.
Master’s final work (Master Thesis)
Choice of topic for the Master Thesis
The choice of topic corresponds to the students themselves, according to their interest of training. If students so require, they receive advice on the choice of the most appropriate director and institution to carry out the desired project. Likewise the organizing institutions propose topics related to the activities of cooperative research co-ordinated by them or other topics of interest previously agreed with collaborating institution. The topic for the Thesis will belong to the area within which the student has developed the Practicum for the Unit "Introduction to research".
Centres where Theses are carried out
The work is carried out in renowned institutions (universities, research centres or companies) generally in Spain or in the student's country of origin, under the scientific supervision of a doctor of renowned prestige. The student, with the support of the director, should inform the UdL/IAMZ-CIHEAM Studies Commission of the Master periodically on the development and progress of the work.
The collaboration established with numerous prestigious institutions in the different specialities of the Master for carrying out the Thesis is critical in the success of the programme. The students develop their training within a framework of team research, counting on excellent resources and expert advice. The experience gained during this period is not simply an acquisition of knowledge and practical skills, but also fully introduces the students into professional reality.
In order to develop this Unit (as in the case of Unit 9) the student must have passed the first part of the Master and submit a research protocol supported by a director. The Protocol should be examined by an evaluation committee formed by the UdL/IAMZ-CIHEAM Studies Commission and lecturers of the Master, who will consider:
- The characteristics of the research to be performed: (i) coherence and viability of the project; and (ii) concordance between the chosen theme and the candidate’s previous training, the foreseeable professional insertion and the training or productive demands in the student’s country of origin
- The scientific guarantees and the suitability of the director and the institution where the project is to be carried out
In the course of the second semester of the first academic year, IAMZ publishes the basis for the presentation of protocols and scholarship applications for the second part of the programme.
Topics for the Master Thesis
The topic choice for the Master Thesis is very wide. Some of the topics chosen most frequently are the following:
- Application of different methods and techniques to rural planning and environmental management
- Proposals for partial or integrated planning of natural or rural areas
- Agricultural production and its interaction with the natural or social environment in rural areas
- Study of the physical environment, the interrelationship between its components and their effect on certain aspects such as water management or the processes of desertification
- Forestry studies such as impact of fires or regeneration of affected areas
- Socio-economic studies on the use of natural resources, or the impact of certain activities on the sustainability of production and rural development
Some examples of Master Thesis
Some of the theses carried out in recent years can be found below, as an indication of the variety of themes, directors and institutions involved in this training activity:
Title: Capital social y desarrollo territorial: redes sociales, liderazgo y estructuras de poder en las nuevas dinámicas rurales. Análisis de casos en los grupos LEADER PRODESE (Cuenca) y PORTMADER (Castellón) [Social capital and territorial development: social networks, leadership and empowerment in the new rural dynamics. Case analysis of PRODESE (Cuenca) and PORTMADER (Castellón) LEADER groups] (2014)
Author: Cristina Herráiz, Geographer, Spain
Place of realization: Departamento de Geografía, Universidad de Valencia, Spain
Thesis director: Javier Esparcía
Title: Transboundary water management under climate change: the Tagus River Basin (Spain/Portugal) (2014)
Author: Nadine Sahouri, Environmental Engineer, Palestine
Place of realization: Departamento de Ingeniería Civil: Hidráulica y Energética, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid; and Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Bilbao, Spain
Thesis directors: Luis Garrote and Marc Neumann
Title: Food sovereignty indicators in Mediterranean Basin countries and comparative analysis with other indicators of development and sustainability (2012)
Author: Nesat Comak, Economist, Turkey
Place of realization: Centro de Investigación en Economía y Desarrollo (CREDA-UPC-IRTA), Barcelona, Spain
Thesis director: Marta Guadalupe Rivera
Title: Aplicación de los SIG al estudio integral de las energías renovables en la comarca de la Sierra de Alcaraz y el Campo de Montiel (Albacete) [Application of GIS to the comprehensive study of renewable energies in the region of the Sierra de Alcaraz and Campo de Montiel (Albacete)] (2012)
Author: Stefan Georg Fritz, Environmental Scientist, Germany
Place of realization: Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Madrid, Spain
Thesis director: Javier Domínguez
Title: Patrones espacio-temporales de desertificación en las zonas esteparias del centro del Valle del Ebro: identificación mediante imágenes Landsat (1984-2009) [Spatial-temporal desertification patterns in steppe zones of the centre of the Ebro valley: identification through Landsat images (1984-2009)] (2010)
Author: Zouber Ben Mohamed Aidel, Agronomist, Algeria
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain
Thesis directors: Vicente Serrano, Sergio Martín and Teodoro Lasanta
Title: Dinámicas territoriales en municipios rurales de la región de Chaouia-Ouardigha, Marruecos [Territorial dynamics in rural municipalities of the Chaouia-Ouardigha region (Morocco)] (2010)
Author: Abdelali Dahhani, Economist, Morocco
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Departamento de Economía, Sociología y Política Agraria, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain
Thesis directors: Felisa Ceña and Eduardo Ramos
Title: Relationships between primary and secondary growth in a Mediterranean ring-porous oak (Quercus faginea) along a climatic gradient (2009)
Author: Arben Alla, Forest engineer, Albania
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain
Thesis directors: Jesús J. Camarero and Gabriel Montserrat
Title: Funcionamiento hidrogeológico y aplicación de indicadores de sostenibilidad en el sistema acuífero de Alfamén (Zaragoza) [Hydro-geological functioning and application of sustainability indicators in the aquifer system of Alfamén (Zaragoza)] (2008)
Author: Doulo Traore, Geographer, Mauritania
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Oficina de Proyectos de Zaragoza, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, Zaragoza, Spain
Thesis director: Luis J. Lambán
Title: Series temporales de cobertura y uso del suelo. Índices de cambio, relación cambio-estructura paisajística y consistencia de la serie [Time series of soil cover and use. Indexes of change, change-landscape structure relationship and series coherence] (2007)
Author: Rachid Hamaina, Topographer, Morocco
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Almería, Spain
Thesis director: Gabriel del Barrio
Title: A methodological approach to evaluate agricultural vulnerability to drought. A comparative study in Morocco and Spain (2005)
Author: Marta Moneo, Environmental Science Graduate, Spain
Centre where Thesis was carried out: Departamento de Economía y Ciencias Sociales Agrarias, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Thesis director: Ana Iglesias