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Masters Degrees (Agricultural Entomology)

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The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) is a specialised multidisciplinary research organisation within the University of Greenwich. Read more
The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) is a specialised multidisciplinary research organisation within the University of Greenwich. The Institute received the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research activities on food security in the developing world. Much of NRI's research work is concerned with natural resources, agriculture and social development in developing countries, although it has an expanding portfolio of activities in Europe and other industrialised countries.

NRI provides a thriving environment for MPhil and PhD students working in agricultural and food sciences. Each of NRI's departments has a strong portfolio of research activities, of which students form an important and integral part.

The Agriculture, Health & Environment Department works on the worldwide development of appropriate cost-effective and sustainable approaches to controlling pests, diseases and weeds that affect crop production. Use of biocontrol and control methods involving no (or very low) conventional pesticides are increasing in importance in our work, especially for export crops.

The Department also has researchers who share a common interest in the many species of insects, ticks and rodents that cause injury to their hosts and transmit diseases to both humans and animals. Research is undertaken in the UK, using NRI's state-of-the-art laboratories, insectaries and glasshouses, and also overseas. Particularly strong areas of research include the epidemiology of insect-borne virus diseases, molecular diagnostics, pest and disease modelling, aerobiology and biometeorology, migrant pests, medical and veterinary entomology and integrated pest management.

The Food and Markets Department works on commodity management and food safety of cereals, grains, root crops, perishables and other crops. The Department works with all aspects of the operations of the food industry, including, for example, storage, post-harvest technology, quality analysis and management, compliance with food standards, food processing and value addition, value chains, private and public sector standards and market development. NRI's work provides many opportunities for postgraduates to be involved in multidisciplinary projects.

We offer full-time or part-time attendance, with students based on our campus or in their home countries, or some combination.

Visit the website http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/courses/pg/res/afs

What you'll study

Recent research project topics include:

- The impact of host plants on the efficacy of nucleopolyhedrovirus as a biopesticide

- Reasons for multiple loans in microfinance and their effect on the repayment performance

- Evaluating the impact of climate change on postharvest quality of perishables

- Laboratory based investigation of the sensory cues used by vector mosquitoes to locate host animals

- Dormancy and sprout control in root and tuber crops

- Investigations into the oviposition behaviour of Anopheles gambiae

Fees and finance

Your time at university should be enjoyable and rewarding, and it is important that it is not spoilt by unnecessary financial worries. We recommend that you spend time planning your finances, both before coming to university and while you are here. We can offer advice on living costs and budgeting, as well as on awards, allowances and loans.

Find out more about our fees and the support available to you at our:
- Postgraduate finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/pg)
- International students' finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/international)

Assessment

Students are assessed through their thesis and oral examination.

Career options

Postgraduate research students from NRI have a good record of finding employment within their specific technical discipline or in the field of international development.

Find out how to apply here - http://www2.gre.ac.uk/research/study/apply/application_process

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The Crop Pest and Disease Management course will offer students training in techniques to facilitate crop food production. Read more
The Crop Pest and Disease Management course will offer students training in techniques to facilitate crop food production. The course covers a broad range of topics in applied entomology, plant pathology and nematology and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter either a pest/disease management work environment or a research career in applied entomology, plant pathology or pest management. There is, however, considerable flexibility within the course thus enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.

The course

The continuing production of safe, wholesome food in an environmentally sensitive manner is a major political issue for national governments and internationally within global commodity markets. A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 (Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century) predicts that the global population will rise to 9Bn by 2050 rising from a current estimate of nearly 6.8Bn. This increase in population size will substantially increase the demand for food. The global estimates vary in magnitude, but it is thought approximately 25% of crops are lost to pests and diseases, such as insects, fungi and other plant pathogens (FAO Crop Prospects and Food Situation 2009).

The Crop Pest and Disease Management course will offer students training in techniques to facilitate crop food production. The course covers a broad range of topics in applied entomology, plant pathology and nematology and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter either a pest/disease management work environment or a research career in applied entomology, plant pathology or pest management. There is, however, considerable flexibility within the course thus enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.

Research projects are available in a wide range of subjects covered by the research groups within the Crop and Environment Sciences Department and choices are made in consultation with expert staff. Projects at linked research institutes in the UK and overseas are also available. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of research at Harper Adams and long-standing collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

How will it benefit me?

Having completed the MSc you will be able to identify the underlying causes of major pest and disease problems and recognize economically important insects, plant diseases and weeds.

You will also be able to apply integrated pest control methods and oversee their application. The course will focus on the ecological and management principles of pest control and you will learn to evaluate the consequences of pesticide use and application on the biological target. You will also receive training in the evaluation of the economic and environmental costs of integrated approaches to pest control in relation to biological effectiveness. Ultimately, the course will enable students to produce integrated pest and disease management solutions that pay due regard to agricultural, horticultural, social and environmental requirements.

In addition, there is considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions

The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pest and disease management research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. You will learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing pest and disease management case studies.

The MSc covers a broad range of topics relevant to pest and disease management and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter a vocational work environment or pursue a research career. There is, however, considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions.

Careers

Previous graduates from the course have mainly gone on to work for ADAS or commercial biological control companies, the agro-chemical industry or horticulture sector. Others have joined Research Institutes such as Forest Research, FERA, or Rothamsted Research. Typically 30% of MSc Integrated Pest & Disease Management graduates will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.

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The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. Read more

MSc Organic Agriculture

The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare the students for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level.

Programme summary

This programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level. The programme is unique in its combination of detailed consideration of the underlying principles and processes from a natural science perspective with social and economic studies. Creative thinking is required to design new sustainable farming and marketing systems instead of simply optimising existing systems. The programme has an international character that uses case studies and offers project opportunities in both the developed and developing world. The curriculum has been carefully formulated to provide a balance between fundamental and applied science. Various university groups participate including farming systems ecology, soil quality, animal science, entomology, rural sociology, environmental policy, education and economy, making this a well-rounded and holistic programme.

Specialisations

Agroecology
Due to concerns on conventional farming practices, food safety issues and pollution, consumers increasingly demand wholesome agricultural products that are produced in a sustainable way. In addition to the demand for organic products by consumers in industrialised countries, there is a need for scientific agroecological farming practices in developing countries and countries in economic distress. In these regions, farmers cannot afford external inputs like pesticides, fertilisers or expensive seeds. Courses focus on: the analysis and design of sustainable organic farming systems; studying the relationship between plant and animal production; soil and landscape; analysing factors affecting plant and animal health; organic product quality. Students learn a systems approach to conduct research projects involving integrated agroecological systems.

Consumer and Market
Socio-economic constraints affect the demand for organic products, and are major bottlenecks to expand organic production. Improved understanding of consumer preferences is essential to stimulate sustainable production of healthy food and renewable resources. Production, processing and marketing of organic products is increasingly affected by (inter-) national policy and legislation. Insight into these aspects is crucial to expand organic production systems. Courses focus on: analysis of consumer perception; insight into relations between government policy and consumer behaviour; development of strategies for certification and trademarks for organic products; globalisation of food production and consumption; environmental education; global versus local production. Students acquire skills to analyse complex problems at the intersection of organic agriculture and society.

Double degree in Agroecology
The double degree programme combines the strengths of the two co-operating institutes, adding the specialist knowledge in agroecosystems management of FESIA with the expertise in designing and evaluating organic food production chains in Wageningen. Students get the opportunity to understand structure and function of complex agroecosystems. They learn to apply systems approaches in studying, designing and evaluating agricultural systems and food production chains, and to develop creative solutions for sustainable farming and marketing of organic products. Action learning and action research through cooperation with farmers, food system professionals and consumers will shorten the distance between practice and theory.

Your future career

Graduates have career opportunities in agribusiness, research, non-governmental organisations and public administration. They often hold jobs such as scientist, consultant, policy maker or quality assurance officer.

Alumna Natasja Poot.
“I have chosen the MSc Organic Agriculture because I was looking for a programme in which all aspects of agriculture are discussed. Courses addressed topics on soils, plants, animals and their interactions. I did not want to limit myself to just organic agriculture, but I can apply the knowledge to all conventional integrated farming systems as well. After graduating, I started at BLGG as a product manager Soil Health. BLGG is a laboratory in the agricultural sector that offers innovative analyses and advices that help farmers in their everyday management. In my position, I am focusing on developing tools for soil-borne diseases, nematodes and soil suppressiveness.”

Related programmes:
MSc Food Quality Management
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Animal sciences
MSc Biology
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.

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The Plant Sciences programme has been designed to help meet the worldwide demand for scientific expertise in the development of plant and crop production and farming systems. Read more

MSc Plant Sciences

The Plant Sciences programme has been designed to help meet the worldwide demand for scientific expertise in the development of plant and crop production and farming systems.

Programme summary

Plant Sciences deals with crop production ranging from plant breeding to the development of sustainable systems for the production of food, pharmaceuticals and renewable resources. It is linked with a professional sector that is highly important to the world economy. The programme focuses on the principles of plant breeding, agro-ecology and plant pathology and the integration of these disciplines to provide healthy plants for food and non-food applications. Technological aspects of crop production are combined with environmental, quality, socio-economic and logistic aspects. Students learn to apply their knowledge to develop integrated approaches for sustainable plant production.

Specialisations

Crop Science
Sound knowledge of crop science is essential to develop appropriate cultivation methods for a reliable supply of safe, healthy food; while considering nature conservation and biodiversity. An integrated approach is crucial to studying plant production at various levels (plant, crop, farm, region). This requires a sound understanding of basic physical, chemical, and physiological aspects of crop growth. Modelling and simulation are used to analyse yield constraints and to improve production efficiency.

Greenhouse Horticulture
Greenhouse horticulture is a unique agro-system and a key economic sector in the Netherlands. It is the only system that allows significant control of (a-) biotic factors through protected cultivation. The advances in this field are based on technological innovations. This specialisation combines product quality with quality of production and focuses on production, quality- and chain management of vegetables, cut flowers and potted plants.

Natural Resource Management
The development of sustainable agro-ecosystems requires understanding of the complex relationships between soil health, cultivation practices and nutrient kinetics. Other important aspects include the interactions between agriculture and nature, and competing claims on productive land worldwide. Natural Resource Management provides knowledge and tools to understand the interactions between the biotic and abiotic factors in agro-systems to facilitate diverse agricultural demands: bulk vs. pharmaceutical products, food vs. biofuel, conservation of biodiversity, climate change, and eco-tourism.

Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources
Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources ranges from the molecular to the population level and requires knowledge of the physiology and genetics of cultivated plants. Plant breeding is crucial in the development of varieties that meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality and sustainable production. The use of molecular techniques adds to the rapid identification of genes for natural resistance and is essential for accelerating selection by marker assisted breeding.

Complete Online Master
In September 2015, Wageningen University started the specialisation "Plant Breeding" as the first complete online Master of Science. For more information go to http://www.wageningenuniversity.eu/onlinemaster.


Plant Pathology and Entomology
The investments made in crop production need to be protected from losses caused by biotic stress. Integrated pest management provides protection by integrating genetic resistance, cultivation practices and biological control. This specialisation focuses on the ecology of insects, nematodes and weeds, and the epidemiology of fungi and viruses, including transmission mechanisms. Knowledge of plantinsect, plant-pathogen, and crop-weed relations establishes the basis for studies in integrated pest management and resistance breeding.

Your future career

Graduates in Plant Sciences have excellent career prospects and most of them receive job offers before graduation. They are university-trained professionals who are able to contribute to the sustainable development of plant production at various integration levels based on their knowledge of fundamental and applied plant sciences and their interdisciplinary approach. Graduates with a research focus are employed at universities, research institutes and plant breeding or agribusiness companies. Other job opportunities are in management, policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and (non-) governmental organisations.

Alumnus Maarten Rouwet.
“I was born in Germany and raised in the East of the Netherlands. After high school I applied for the Bèta-gamma bachelor at the University of Amsterdam where I majored in biology. After visiting the master open day at Wageningen University I knew that the master Plant Sciences had something unique to offer. In my master, I specialised in plant breeding, an ever so interesting field of research. I just started my first job as junior biotech breeder of leavy vegetables at Enza Zaden, a breeding company in Enkhuizen. One of my responsibilities is to identify resistances in wild species of lettuce and to implement these in breeding programmes of cultivated lettuce.”

Related programmes:
MSc Biosystems Engineering
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Biology
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Organic Agriculture
MSc Plant Biotechnology.

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