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Masters Degrees (Crop Improvement)

We have 11 Masters Degrees (Crop Improvement)

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This course examines crop improvement through advances in resource use efficiency, crop protection and modern crop improvement and breeding techniques. Read more
This course examines crop improvement through advances in resource use efficiency, crop protection and modern crop improvement and breeding techniques. Focusing upon the understanding of plant to crop systems, and with an emphasis on research training, the course is ideally suited to those wishing to pursue careers in research institutes, plant breeding, agro-industry and advance to higher research degree (PhD) study.

The course consists of a number of taught modules and a major research project.

Specialist facilities for plant work include modern glasshouses and controlled environment growth rooms in which plants and tissue cultures can be raised. The laboratories contain a wide range of modern equipment including ultracentrifuges, apparatus for radioisotope studies, gas liquid chromatography and spectrophotometry. A number of experimental plots containing arable and horticultural crops are available for use by students, particularly in relation to their projects. Crop Science fieldwork is carried out as part of the normal arable rotation on the farm, which is within easy reach of the laboratories.

The School also has a Tropical Crops Research Unit - computer controlled glasshouses are available for research on a range of tropical species.

Links with industry further enhance the course by providing valuable industry knowledge and experience and relating the subject to commercial practice

Scholarships may be available -please see our web-site.
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This MSc takes advantage of our unique expertise in Plant Genetics to provide expert, cutting-edge training in a highly prized discipline. Read more
This MSc takes advantage of our unique expertise in Plant Genetics to provide expert, cutting-edge training in a highly prized discipline. The degree provides an ideal grounding for PhD research or a career in plant breeding and crop improvement with modules including Genetics, Plant Genomics, Plant Molecular Genetics and Statistics for Plant Science.

Your taught modules will be complemented by a six-month laboratory-based research project, giving you the opportunity to work closely with world-leading scientists from the John Innes Centre and our School of Biological Sciences.

The John Innes Centre – based on Norwich Research Park alongside UEA – is one of the world’s leading research institutes in plant genetics and crop improvement, so there are few places in the world where you’ll find a better opportunity to work with such leading authorities and world-class facilities.

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Significant increases in the global human population, increasing climatic instability and a concurrent reduction in fossil fuel availability, impacting upon agricultural production and policy. Read more
Significant increases in the global human population, increasing climatic instability and a concurrent reduction in fossil fuel availability, impacting upon agricultural production and policy. Food production must increase without a simultaneous increase in resource use.

Improvements in crop yield and production efficiency often come through the utilisation of individual elements of new research. Integrated Crop Management (ICM) however utilises multiple facets of research simultaneously to bring about larger, more sustainable results. This course focuses on incorporating the latest research to develop students’ critical and analytical thinking in subjects such as pest dynamics, genetic improvement, crop technology, sustainable practice and soil management.

This MSc, delivered at Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire will integrate these topics alongside a broader critical evaluation of crop sciences enabling you to design bespoke ICM programmes for given situations.
It is aimed at graduates in biological sciences who are looking to find employment as agronomists, farm advisors, agro-technical specialists particularly in allied agricultural industries. Successful completion of this MSc degree will also facilitate progression to PhD level research in food production science.

COURSE CONTENT:

Year 1

Integrated approaches in high-input cropping systems

High-input crop production systems typically focus on achieving both high yields and profitability. This module explores the science and agronomic principles of a range of crops under such management regimes as well as their associated problems and limitations. Consideration will be given to integrated management approaches currently being adopted by industry as well as the major drivers of these changing practices. These include legislation, resistance to agrochemicals and public acceptance.

Invertebrate Dynamics in Crop Production

Approximately 10-15% of global crop production is lost to invertebrate pests. Conversely, invertebrates constitute a significant ecosystem service through pest predation and pollination. In any integrated production system, the management of invertebrates is therefore fundamental to effective crop production. This module will focus on critical evaluation of current research on invertebrate ecology and dynamics and applying this to their potential impacts on conventional cropping systems. Concepts of pest population dynamics, herbivory and species life histories will be considered in relation to their effects on the crop. Alongside this, their ‘value’ as pollinators, predators, vectors and the effects of lethal and sub-lethal pesticide doses will be evaluated.

Contemporary agronomic research and development

Research into agronomy, technology and management is of critical importance if the industry is to continue to adapt to modern pressures and challenges worldwide. This module will explore the research path including laboratory to field trials and, ultimately, application into practice. Case studies will be explored where research and development has made or could make a significant impact to management practice.

Year 2

Integrated approaches in low-input cropping systems

Low-input cropping systems seek to optimise crop yields whilst using fewer inputs when compared to conventional crop production systems. In parts of the world this is due to a lack of financial and physical resources whilst in others this is due to perceived environmental benefits. This module explores the science of the integrated management of crops under such systems, including enhanced soil management and factors influencing nutrition and disease control. Limitations will also be considered as will approaches that conventional crop production could learn from low-input management systems.

Global Drivers for Agricultural Change

This module examines the global drivers behind the need to refocus agricultural production to meet the needs of the increasing world population and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It will focus on concepts such as the effects of globalisation; the economic issues with pesticide development; the globalisation and privatisation of agricultural technology and the use of targeted pest control techniques. Furthermore, the module will assess the impacts of corporate responsibility and the necessity of having sustainable global supply chains.

Research Methodology and Design

This module provides students with the essential personal, organisational, management, theoretical and statistical skills needed to work at Postgraduate Level. It will explore research philosophies, research process and design and the process of questionnaire development and design. The module will develop skills in advanced data organisation, presentation, dissemination and problem solving.

Year 3

Masters Dissertation

The dissertation is a triple module and allows students to design and conduct a substantial piece of independent, supervised research related to the field of study. The dissertation is an independent piece of academic work which allows the student to identify and work in an area of interest to them and manage the research process to agreed deadlines.

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In this century, food security and the need to develop sustainable agriculture will become dominant issues affecting the whole world. Read more

In this century, food security and the need to develop sustainable agriculture will become dominant issues affecting the whole world. The global population is projected to increase dramatically from 7 to 9 billion in the next 30 years, causing an unprecedented demand for food and increased pressure on land. The aim of this Food Security Degree is to provide you with knowledge and skills relating to the broad topic of food security, incorporating socio-economic, animal and crop aspects. 

Why this programme

  • This exciting Food Security MSc is taught through collaboration between academics with world class expertise in diverse aspects of food security.
  • It discusses the demographic, social and economic issues, the challenges of achieving sustainable agriculture and presents the factors affecting food production from crops and animal sources.
  • The programme will include guest lectures on a range of topics and site visits.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of technology transfer and commercialisation.
  • Students will gain practical laboratory skills in molecular biology and in genetic modification.
  • Students will undertake a project that will develop their investigative skills and their ability to critically appraise and integrate information from different sources. 
  • A key feature of this Food Security degree is that it provides a very broad perspective on Food Security. 

Programme structure

We welcome students from diverse educational backgrounds and we anticipate that many will be unfamiliar with all the topics in this programme. We have therefore designed the programme so that it provides you with both a broad understanding of the major issues in food security and the opportunity to selectively focus on aspects of particular interest.

The programme is made up of courses totalling 180 credits. The programme starts with three compulsory courses (totalling 60 credits) that introduce fundamental issues in food security. You then choose from a range of optional courses (usually 10-credit) that expand on key topics, including production of food from animal sources and crop improvement. Some courses provide practical skills and there is an opportunity to learn about commercial issues relating to food production. Finally, you will undertake a 60-credit investigative project, which will allow you to focus on a selected topic.

The programme comprises the following courses:

Compulsory courses (totalling 60 credits)

  • Introduction to Food Security
  • Food Security Fundamentals: Food of Animal Origin
  • Food Security Fundamentals: Crops

Optional courses (totalling 60 credits*) selected from

  • Role of Insects in Food Security
  • Global Animal Production
  • Hygienic Production of Food
  • Animal Ethics
  • Policies for Sustainability and Development
  • Technology Transfer and Commercialisation
  • Plant Genetic Engineering
  • Crop Biotechnology Applications
  • Molecular Lab Skills
  • Omic Technologies
  • Production of Food from Animals
  • Quantitative Methods

*Most of the optional courses are 10 credit courses

Food security project (60 credits)

Teaching methods

Most courses are taught through lectures and tutorials, in which there will be discussion of key concepts, and training in the critical appraisal of published information. In addition, some courses include guest lectures and site visits. The course on Technology Transfer and Commercialisation of Bioscience Research will include workshop sessions. Two courses provide training in laboratory skills: Molecular Lab Skills and Plant Genetic Engineering. The project will involve an independent investigation of a selected topic in food security under supervision from an expert in the field.

Career prospects

Food security is a major challenge of this century and hence there will be opportunities to develop careers in several areas. Career prospects include working in Agri-industry, research institutes, government advisory, international advisory, media and research positions.

The breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills you will acquire in this Masters programme will help you obtain employment or undertake research in the food security sector.



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STUDY MOLECULES TO SOLVE BIG ISSUES. The Master in. Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences. Read more

STUDY MOLECULES TO SOLVE BIG ISSUES

The Master in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences (MCLS) is research oriented and takes a multidisciplinary approach to study related to health and disease in cells and organisms. By the end of the programme you will gain sufficient fundamental knowledge to start working on applications in the field of medical and biotechnological issues. These applications may include the development of new medicines and vaccines, new strategies for crop improvement, or the development of enzymes to be used in industry. 

MCLS is the ideal Master’s programme if you are interested in molecules as the basis of life and disease and if you want to know how chemistry, biology, biomedical sciences, and physics contribute to our understanding of how these molecules work. The interplay of molecules in cells and organisms is the central focus of the programme. 

The Dutch Master's Selection Guide (Keuzegids Masters 2017) ranked this programme as the best in the field of Chemistry in the Netherlands.

PROGRAMME OBJECTIVE 

You will develop extensive knowledge about cellular processes such as cellular signaling, membrane biogenesis and intracellular transport. You will also learn skills and methods to study the molecules involved in these processes by using biochemistry, structural biology, cell biology, biophysics, computational biology, proteomics and genomics. The programme offers you the flexibility to choose any specialisation within the field of molecular and cellular life sciences.

Tracks

Within this Master’s programme you can choose one of four tracks:

  • Genes to Organisms
  • Molecules and Cells
  • Biophysics and Molecular imaging
  • Computational Biology


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Life and plant science undergraduates, and professionals in commercial horticulture and agriculture looking to develop their career, from the UK and overseas, will benefit from a broad, research-led syllabus. Read more
Life and plant science undergraduates, and professionals in commercial horticulture and agriculture looking to develop their career, from the UK and overseas, will benefit from a broad, research-led syllabus. Taught content will equip the graduate with the expertise needed to work independently in a range of areas of current commercial plant science, at supervisory or management level, or in applied research. As well as ensuring a thorough grounding in basic science and horticultural technology, the modern molecular biology content is particularly relevant, since new technologies are rapidly entering the commercial arena. The independent research project will be set in a research institution or appropriate local industry, and will be designed around the student's interests and expertise.

The MSc focuses on methods used in the evaluation and improvement of conventional crops that feed the growing world population, but also alternative protected crops and ornamentals along with postharvest management, business and environmental concerns, and plant stress and disease in a changing climate.

Experts in this increasingly important area are needed in businesses nationally and internationally, in research and innovation, and at government and agency level where the ability to understand and follow current developments is required to guide and direct global sustainable solutions to population change.

The aims of the programme are:
• To provide knowledge of the science of plant biology and its application in the commercial and research arena
• To introduce the practicalities of horticulture and agriculture technologies including consideration of sustainability
• To examine the commercial aspects of this business area, including the planning, execution and evaluation of trials to exploit and develop novel approaches, practices, and crops
• To allow the student to synthesise, evaluate and critically judge which technologies and research findings are of value and appropriate to their current or future employment environment in a UK or international setting.

Visit the website http://www.gre.ac.uk/pg/engsci/aps

Food and Agricultural Sciences

The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) has an internationally-recognised academic reputation and provides taught postgraduate courses in a wonderful environment for students.

NRI provide research, consultancy, training and advisory services to underpin sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction. The majority of our activities focus on the harnessing of natural and human capital for the benefit of developing countries, though much of our expertise has proved to be of growing relevance to industrialised nations.

What you'll study

• Molecular and plant biology principles for plant improvement
• Research methods in plant science
• Independent research project
• Plant growth and cropping technology

Options:
• Agroforestry
• Agronomy and crop physiology
• Applications and aspects of commercial crop science
• Food and markets
• Planning for personal and professional development
• Plant disease management

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

Examinations, coursework, research project dissertation.

Specialist equipment/facilities

Molecular biology laboratories, horticultural and agricultural facilities

Career options

Production managers - management of plant/crop production (protected and non-protected crops) and postharvest facilities.

Development specialists - selection, development and evaluation of existing and novel plants and crops.

Retailing produce - food and crop technologists, retailing food and non-food derived crops and products, including fresh produce and postharvest technologists.

Institutes, NGOs and governmental bodies - governance and policy linked to application of horticultural/agricultural technologies.

Applied research scientist - application of plant science into practice.

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

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There has never been a more urgent need to train scientists in the area of food security, equipped with skills in agronomy; plant pathology, plant disease and plant genetics; and knowledge of modern agricultural systems and agricultural policy. Read more

Food security: a global concern

There has never been a more urgent need to train scientists in the area of food security, equipped with skills in agronomy; plant pathology, plant disease and plant genetics; and knowledge of modern agricultural systems and agricultural policy. The Royal Society report Reaping the Benefits: science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture published in October 2009, provided the clearest evidence of the challenge of ensuring global food security during the next 50 years. Crop yields need to rise significantly, but in a manner that requires much lower dependency on chemical intervention and fertilisers.

Meeting the challenge of sustainable agriculture

This programme was developed in collaboration with the agricultural industry, government agencies including Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), and farmers and food manufacturers, to provide a multi-disciplinary training in sustainable agriculture and global food security. Research-led teaching in molecular plant pathology, plant sciences and microbiology is strongly supplemented by Rothamsted Research, North Wyke expertise in grassland management, soil science and sustainable farming systems. Leading social scientists also provide valuable input in rural land use and the rural economy. The combination of expertise in both arable and pastureland systems ensures a truly rounded learning experience.

The curriculum takes account of the key skills shortages in the UK to train highly skilled individuals who can enter government agencies, agriculture and food industries and fulfil very valuable roles in scientific research, advice, evaluation, policy development and implementation tackling the challenges of food security. The programme provides opportunities to gain industrial and practical experiences including field trips.

Expert teaching

Teaching is enriched by expert contributions from a broad cross-section of the industry. Scientific staff from Fera provide specialist lectures as part of the Crop Security module, members of the Plant Health Inspectorate cover field aspects of plant pathology, and a LEAF1 farmer addresses agricultural systems and the realities of food production using integrated farm management. In addition, teaching staff from the University and BBSRC Rothamsted-North Wyke will draw on material and experiences from their academic research and scientific links with industry.

Industrial and practical experience

All students will have opportunities to gain industrial and practical experiences. Teaching visits will be made to the Plant Health Inspectorate in Cornwall to see quarantine management of Phytophthora, and to a local LEAF farm to review the challenges and approaches to food production in integrated farm management systems. You will gain specialised experience in practical science or policy making through a dissertation or project placement with external agencies. Defra and Fera, for example, are offering five dissertation and/or project placements annually.

Programme structure

The programme is made up of modules. The list of modules may include the following; Professional Skills; Research Project; Sustainable Land Use in Grassland Agriculture; Crop Security; Sustainable Livestock and Fisheries; Political Economy of Food and Agriculture and Research and Knowledge Transfer for Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

The modules listed here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand. Please see the website for an up to date list (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/biosciences/foodsecurity/#Programme-structure)

Addressing a skills shortage to tackle global food security

The MSc Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture curriculum has been designed in collaboration with the agricultural industry to tackle the skills shortage that exists in this vital interdisciplinary area. This programme will provide the highly skilled individuals required in government agencies, agriculture and food industries for critical roles in scientific research, advice, evaluation, policy development and implementation tackling the challenges of food security.

Global horizons

With food security and sustainable agriculture a global concern, opportunities for specialists in the areas of agronomy, plant pathology, plant disease and plant improvement will be worldwide. By combining expertise across the natural, social and political sciences, this programme provides valuable interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in both arable and pastureland systems. Graduates will be prepared to take on the global challenges of food security and sustainable agriculture, being able to adapt to farming systems across the world and identify cross-disciplinary solutions to local agricultural problems.

Learning enhanced by industry

The programme is enriched by expert contributions from a broad cross-section of the industry, with specialist lectures, teaching visits to observe the practical application of techniques, and industrial placement opportunities for project work or dissertations in practical science or policy making.

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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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