This course will provide you with an in-depth specialisation in organic farming and food production systems and it is currently the only specialised MSc in organic and ecological farming in England. You will learn and test the latest approaches in the integrated delivery of soil, crop and livestock, and food supply chain management.
Through a combination of lectures, field trips, seminars, practical classes and research projects you will develop advanced knowledge and skills in:
-Managing organic farming and food production units or businesses in different macroclimatic, agronomic and market contexts
-Agronomic approaches used in organic/biological/ecological/sustainable food production systems
-Underlying principles and standards of organic/biological/ecological/sustainable food production, processing and retailing/marketing systems
-Applied and strategic research underpinning the development of organic and other sustainable farming and food production systems
-A wide range of analytical laboratory methods
You will have the opportunity to attend a 10-day field trip as part of the module on Mediterranean perennial crop production systems in Crete, Greece. The trip is organised in collaboration with ecological farming experts from the Greek National Science Foundation (NAGREF).
As part of your studies you will also undertake a major project, similar to one you might experience in the workplace. You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a laboratory project or field-based investigation. You will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner.
This research project and thesis may be undertaken at the University, in industry, in Crete as part of existing Nafferton Ecological Farming Group research and development projects, or in another country.
You will benefit from being taught by lecturers who are industry experienced and research active. Our research in integrated agricultural production focuses on soil science, plant science and ecology, spanning a range of scales from: pot – plot – farm – landscape.
Strategic research embraces work on:
Applied research addresses issues of:
-Climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
-Ecological (organic) farming systems
-Low-input crop systems
Professor Carlo Leifert is the Degree Programme Director for MSc in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems. Carlo is a member of the Food Security Network in the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) and is part of the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG). He currently manages EU and DEFRA funded projects focused on improving resource efficiency, productivity and food quality and safety in organic and 'low input' crop and livestock production systems.
The course is taught in a block format with a six-week block and then two-week teaching blocks.
You will be taught through:
-Practical and field classes
-Small group discussions
You will be expected to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.
You can also study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme (CATS). This allows us to award postgraduate level qualifications using credit-bearing stand-alone modules as 'building blocks' towards a qualification. This means that the credits from modules undertaken within a five-year period can be 'banked' towards the award of a qualification.
Our multi-purpose farms provide demonstration facilities for teaching purposes and land-based research facilities (especially in the area of organic production). They are both viable farming businesses.
Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm facility that includes the Palace Leas Plots hay meadow experiment and a new anaerobic digestion plant that will generate heat, electricity and digestate - an organic fertiliser - from pig and cattle manure.
Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with two main farm units covering conventional and organic farming systems. The two systems are primarily focussed upon dairying and arable cropping.
Both also operate beef production enterprises as a by-product of their dairy enterprises, although the organic system is unique in maintaining a small-scale potato and vegetable production enterprise.
Our modern laboratories provide important teaching and research environments and are equipped with analytical equipment such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLCs), GCs, CNS analyser (Carbon and Nitrogen analysis), centrifuges, spectrophotometers and molecular biology equipment. Our specialist research facilities include:
We operate closely with other schools, institutes and the University's central scientific facilities for access to more specialist analytical services.
For work with human subjects we use a purpose built Clinical Research Facility which is situated in the Royal Victoria Infirmary teaching hospital and is managed jointly by us and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The NU-Food Food and Consumer Research Facility has undergone a £700,000 refurbishment and now boasts a culinary training suite, a sensory laboratory and food handling facility, all supported by multi-functional rooms and a reception.
This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production postgraduate course centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. The programme provides flexible, accessible, postgraduate level training for people employed in the agri-food sector. Training comprises distance learning modules and work-based research projects. These are accessible as CPD or as credit-bearing units, which can be built towards a range of postgraduate qualifications.
Taught by experts at both Aberystwyth University (AU) and Bangor University (BU), the Sustainable and Efficient Food Production course offers you a highly vocational option. In the most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014), the department was placed in the top 10 universities in the UK for research intensity and 78% of our research was world-leading or internationally excellent.
To achieve an MSc students must complete five optional modules (including up to three from BU) plus Research Methods and a Dissertation.
Two to five years to complete a full MSc. 14 weeks for one module by distance learning Three intakes per year (January, May, September). Students will be eligible for a UK Student Loan if the course is completed in 3 years.
Optional modules - Choose any 5 from:
We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each topic comprises a 12-14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the full five years.
There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion.
This scheme aims to facilitate knowledge exchange between academia and industry. Students must complete three taught modules including research methods and a 120 credit work-based dissertation / research thesis (approximately 20,000 words in length).
While the primary academic focus is on the completion of an advanced piece of research, the collaborative route provided by a work-based research project provides an ideal opportunity to embed new knowledge in the work place and ensure that research is relevant to industry. As such, it is crucial that a student’s employer is supportive of both their research aims and the time commitment that the proposed research will involve. Self-employed students should aim to undertake research which will be closely aligned to their business.
Students may build on the MRes to work towards a Professional Doctorate.
An MRes can be completed in 2-5 years but we would expect most students to spend 1 year on their taught modules and 2 years on their work based dissertation. 12 or 14 weeks for one module by distance learning. Three intakes per year (January, May, September).
Students will be eligible for a UK Student loan if their course is completed within 3 years.
MRes Research Project
The MRes comprises three taught modules (including Research Methodologies and Advances in Bioscience) followed by a 120 credit work-based dissertation (20,000 words).
We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each taught module comprises a 12 or 14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the duration of your registration.
There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion. Research is monitored and assessed.