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Masters Degrees (Farming)

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The Organic food and farming sector within Europe is continuing to develp in response to governmental Action Plans and CAP policy development. Read more
The Organic food and farming sector within Europe is continuing to develp in response to governmental Action Plans and CAP policy development. The organic sector requires highly trained individuals to work as certification officers, advisers, agronomists, farmers, farm managers and livestock specialists. SRUC offers this programme to enable students with a variety of academic and working experiences to gain a fast-track understanding of the key technical production, marketing and management aspects of organic farming and food.

This enables students to build on their existing expertise and aspirations, and to give them enhanced career opportunities as practitioners, promoters and facilitators within the sector.

The organic farming courses are offered on a part-time distance learning basis to allow those in continuing employment or with family commitments to be able to participate. Course participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, including farmers, growers, vets and other agricultural and food sector workers who wish to develop their career and businesses in the organic food and farming sector, as well as those from unrelated backgrounds wishing to increase their knowledge and understanding of organic systems.

Specific course objectives are to provide graduates with:
- An ability to critically appraise organic farming as an agricultural system
- A good understanding of the organic sector
- A sound knowledge of the science underpinning organic farming
- An understanding of the marketing, business & quality assurance requirements for organic produce
- Work placement experience
- Research skills (MSc only)

The course is accessible through its delivery by part-time on-line distance learning.

Course Content

The course modules comprise of a mix of technical production, marketing and management, and skill development modules.

Organic Forage and Livestock Production

This module will provide an understanding of the role of forage legumes in organic systems and describe grassland management systems that maximise the contribution of legumes. Students will also be given an understanding of the organic approach to livestock production, particularly in terms of animal welfare, preventative health management and nutrition.

Soils and Nutrient Cycling

This module will aim to provide the students with the tools for optimal management of their soils. Ultimately, they should be able to describe soil properties, evaluate soil fertility and assess management requirements in the context of organic farming. The module provides an understanding of the chemical, physical and biological features of soil fertility and nutrient cycling and develops practical skills in soil assessment and whole farm nutrient budgeting.

Organic Crop Production

This module will provide an understanding of methods of crop production for arable and vegetable field crops, with particular reference to organic farming in the UK. The module will develop an understanding of breeding, establishment, nutrition, protection, harvesting and storage in the context of organic crop production of field crops.

Organic Farming Case Study

This module will improve the student's ability to undertake whole farm analysis and in particular organic conversion planning. Whole farm analysis involves a range of skills and examination of a wide range of issues: technical, financial, marketing and environmental. The module will require the student to integrate the knowledge gained in other modules, to provide an evaluation and plan for the conversion to organic production of an actual farm example.

Organic Farming Profession

This module will provide an overview of the philosophy, principles, history and development of the organic farming industry. The organic standards will be introduced and the ways in which they are used to regulate the organic food and farming industry at UK, European and world levels will be covered. The roles of the main UK organisations that influence the development of the organic sector will also be explored.

Organic Farming Work Placement

This module will allow students to become familiar with an organisation or business in the organic food and farming sector during a 6-week (or equivalent) work placement. The student will gather relevant and unique material to enable them to carry out a technical and business analysis and make recommendations for future development of the organisation or business in question. The material will also be used in class discussion and to contribute to group learning.

Issues in Organic Farming

This module explores the public goods delivered by organic farming. It develops an understanding of food quality and the role and application of Quality Assurance (QA) Schemes in the organic food sector to meet the needs of relevant legislation and consumer concerns. The module also provides an overview of the principles of environmental management in the context of organic agriculture, helping students gain an appreciation of the potential impacts of agricultural enterprises on the environment, measures for minimising such impacts, and opportunities for incorporating positive environmental management measures into farm business plans.

Marketing and Business Management in the Organic Farming Sector

This module will provide an understanding of the concepts, principles and techniques involved in marketing management and how they are applied in the context of the organic farming sector. Financial accounts are one source of information regarding an organic business, and aid the process of planning and control. This module will provide an understanding of accounts to assist in the process of setting goals within a business and assessing the financial consequences of alternatives.

Course Format

This course is studied part time through on-line distance learning. This allows those in continuing employment or with family commitments to participate. With the exception of several weekend schools and a short study tour, the learning is carried out in the student's home or work place.

The MSc Project (taken following successful completion of taught modules)
Provides an opportunity for in-depth individual research on a topic related to organic farming.

Postgraduate Diploma

The PgDip is a high level learning course taught at university post-graduate level for students who opt not to progress to the Masters. Students are required to complete all taught modules detailed above. Typically a student will study 4 modules per year and complete the PgDip in two years. This would normally take an average of 12 to 15 hours study time a week.

Study Tour

The study tour is used to visit a range of organic and conventional farms as well as businesses operating in the organic food supply and distribution chain. In the taught modules an element of student choice is often built in through the use of essay and other course work topics that cover areas of potential interest. There is also a Work Placement module. Students following the distance learning course may gain exemption from the practical element of the placement but will require to complete a report of their work experience.

The study weekends and short study tour are an integral part of teaching delivery and students are strongly recommended to attend these if they are to succeed in this course.

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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. Read more

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.

Our staff

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:

-Soil quality

-Rhizosphere function

-Plant-soil feedback

-Soil-carbon dynamics

-Nutrient cycling

Applied research addresses issues of:

-Climate change mitigation (including biofuels)

-Ecological (organic) farming systems

-Low-input crop systems

-Agriculture-environment interactions

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.

Delivery

The course is taught in a block format with a six-week block and then two-week teaching blocks.

You will be taught through:

-Lectures

-Seminars

-Practical and field classes

-Tutorials

-Case studies

-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.

Facilities

Farms

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

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

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.

Laboratories

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:

  • tissue culture laboratory
  • plant growth rooms
  • class II laboratory for safe handling of human biological samples
  • taste panel facilities and test kitchen
  • thin section facility for soils analysis

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.

nu-food Food and Consumer Research Facility

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.



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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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Areas of research include, but are not limited to. evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites. Read more
Areas of research include, but are not limited to: evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites.

■Choice of one year (MRes), two year (MPhil) or three year (PhD) research degrees
■Excellent completion rates for higher degrees
■Good job prospects for PhD candidates in industry, government organisations and academia
■Accessible academic staff
■Rural location and collegiate atmosphere
■Unique facilities
■Fortnightly research seminar programme

PhD and MPhil research at the University has been developed over the last 20 years to its current position of national and international recognition in a number of areas. There are strong links with agri-business which give postgraduates the chance to develop close contacts with industry and this has led to more than 90 per cent of our PhD graduates getting jobs in their areas of interest.

The MRes is a new, shorter research degree, developed in response to increasing demand.

All MPhil/PhD research students have their own office space and a dedicated personal computer. You will be encouraged to participate in seminars and conferences appropriate to your research.

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Areas of research include, but are not limited to. evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites. Read more
Areas of research include, but are not limited to: evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites.

■Choice of one year (MRes), two year (MPhil) or three year (PhD) research degrees
■Excellent completion rates for higher degrees
■Good job prospects for PhD candidates in industry, government organisations and academia
■Accessible academic staff
■Rural location and collegiate atmosphere
■Unique facilities
■Fortnightly research seminar programme

PhD and MPhil research at the University has been developed over the last 20 years to its current position of national and international recognition in a number of areas. There are strong links with agri-business which give postgraduates the chance to develop close contacts with industry and this has led to more than 90 per cent of our PhD graduates getting jobs in their areas of interest.

The MRes is a new, shorter research degree, developed in response to increasing demand.

All MPhil/PhD research students have their own office space and a dedicated personal computer. You will be encouraged to participate in seminars and conferences appropriate to your research.

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This course is designed to enable prospective farmers, farm managers and farm management consultants to work at the strategic level of management and leadership in the commercial environment of modern farming and agribusiness. Read more
This course is designed to enable prospective farmers, farm managers and farm management consultants to work at the strategic level of management and leadership in the commercial environment of modern farming and agribusiness. A mix of core business modules with specialist modules on the agricultural industry provide you with the relevant tools, and capabilities to succeed in this profession.

It is as much about management and the business of farming as it is about problem solving and opportunity finding within the agricultural industry. Our graduates are highly adaptable with the knowledge and skills to operate farm-based businesses with an entrepreneurial flair. Many have gone on to become Farm Managers, Consultants, Brand Managers, and Business Directors.

This course is for those from farming backgrounds who are taking on leadership roles within their family business.The course sets out the background, issues and challenges facing the national and global farming industry and helps you understand the value chain from ‘farm to fork’.

This MBA provides a unique opportunity for transatlantic study to put the management theories, concepts and strategies learnt into a European or USA context. You will have the chance to study the first term at the Utah State University or the Royal Agricultural University, with the remaining study periods undertaken at the RAU.

Key benefits

The MBA in Advanced Farm Management is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. Upon successful completion of the degree, you will be awarded CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership and will therefore become a Member of the Chartered Management Institute (MCMI). You can then apply to the CMI for full Chartered Manager status if you wish.

Structure

The MBA may be studied full-time over 12 months or part-time over two or three years.

You will study eight modules; six business modules in the autumn term, two applied modules in the spring term, plus two elective modules to focus your studies to specific areas of interest. The Applied Research Project is carried out over the summer to be submitted in September. It will be presented as a review paper and as a research paper.

You will take part in lectures, seminars and discussions, farm management activities, and group and individual case study work in a real-world context. Visiting industry experts give students a valuable insight in to the sector in which they are involved.

Modules are assessed through a range of coursework.

Modules

• 4012 Farm Business Management
• 4023 Operations Management
• 4076 Financial Management
• 4214 Sustainable Business Strategy
• 4215 Agricultural Economics
• 4216 Leadership and Change
• 4217 International Marketing Management
• 4219 Sustainable Agricultural Business Principles
• 4220 Applied Research Challenge

Plus further elective modules from:

• 3041 Corporate Finance
• 3211 Practical E-Business and E-Commerce
• 4001 Agricultural Management
• 4078 International Business
• 4080 Development Project Management
• 4203 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
• 4205 Critical Issues in Ethical Leadership
• 4223 Economics of the Environment
• 4228 New Product Development in the Agri-Food Industry
• 4229 Adaptive Management in a Complex World

Study abroad opportunity

Applicants who wish to undertake their Term One modules at Utah State University (USU) will need to ensure that they have indicated this in their application by replying the specific question.

Applicants can participate in the US study only if they have paid the required fees (Home/EU: 1/3 of tuition fees, Overseas: 50% of tuition fees) and identified that they want to participate in the US study programme the latest by 30th June.

Please note that the term for the US study in Utah (USU) starts in the first week of August. Late applications for participation in the US term cannot be considered.

Career prospects

Previous graduates have gone on to develop successful careers as:

• Farm Manager
• Farm Consultant
• Global Brand Manager

Many of our graduates have returned home and are driving the family farming business forward.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.rau.ac.uk/STUDY/POSTGRADUATE/HOW-APPLY

Funding

For information on funding, please view the following page: https://www.rau.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees-and-funding/funding

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The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of the sustainability issues associated with Northern European agriculture, and is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams. Read more
The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of the sustainability issues associated with Northern European agriculture, and is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams.

Having completed the MSc you will be able to identify farming systems and determine their key characteristics, and critically evaluate the environmental impacts of conventional, integrated and organic farming systems. You will also learn to assess and exploit the latest developments in technology, and produce integrated farm management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social and environmental requirements.

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 9 billion 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)

In a 2009 response to the emerging issues centred on global food security, the UK BBRSC launched a consultation exercise entitled Future Directions in Research Relating to Food Security. In seeking responses as to the direction of future research BBSRC identified a number of key themes. These included the:
■ Translation of research into commercial practice and the creation of effective partnerships to enable exchange of knowledge and development of skills in the uptake of new scientific findings
■ Establishment of require long-term programmes in research and training, underpinned by investment in the agricultural research infrastructure
■ Focus on applying the latest science to increasing crop and animal productivity globally while minimising negative environmental impact (including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the efficient use of water, energy and other inputs, conserving biodiversity and landscapes), reducing losses from pests and diseases, enhancing food safety and quality for improved nutrition, and reducing waste throughout the food supply chain.

This course is intended to provide students with a key understanding of the issues involved in the sustainable production of food in accordance with the themes outlined above and is underpinned by an extensive programme of associated research at Harper Adams.

How will it benefit me?

The course provides an overview of the key issues involved in sustainable agricultural production within a global context. Since there is a focus on the underlying scientific principles, the course is suited to students of all nationalities in addition to those from the UK. Initially, you will learn to identify global farming systems and determine their key characteristics, before undertaking more complex evaluations of conventional and integrated or organic farming systems. You will undertake training in the use of the latest resources and use these to produce global integrated farm management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social, economic and environmental requirements. You will also have the option of undertaking a case study module where you will be able to focus exclusively on farming system of relevance to your background or intended career destination. The research project will provide training in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of appropriate experiments or surveys to address research questions or problems relevant to sustainable agriculture.

Careers

Students have typically entered a wide variety of professions. Some have worked for government departments and agencies such as Natural England or the Environment Agency. Others have joined agrochemical companies or found positions within agricultural or environmental consultancies.

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The Graduate Diploma in Agriculture is particularly appropriate for students who are re-directing their careers towards agriculture. Read more
The Graduate Diploma in Agriculture is particularly appropriate for students who are re-directing their careers towards agriculture. In addition to developing the pure agriculturist, the course provides students with a detailed knowledge of the UK agricultural industry.

Students are able to handpick their modules from a broad range of subject areas, to create a bespoke course, tailor made to meet their individual requirements. The ability to customise course content makes this the ideal opportunity for graduates, and professionals from other disciplines, looking to re-direct their career towards agricultural and associated rural industries.

A summer study tour, and £250 worth of rural skills training, are included in the cost of the course.

Structure

The course may be studied full-time over one academic year, or part-time over two, three or four years.

You will complete three compulsory modules, followed by four modules selected from a wide range of undergraduate modules allowing you to tailor the course to meet your career aspirations. You can undertake practical skills training courses at the Rural Innovation Centre to further enhance their employability.

You will participate in lectures, farm walks and visits, case studies, assignments, and management projects to develop your knowledge across curricular themes. You will also take part in a summer study tour, which exposes you to a variety of agricultural enterprises.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to complete pre-course reading in order to secure a minimum basic knowledge of agriculture and to highlight possible areas of weakness.

Modules

• 2256 Applied Agricultural Science
• 3100 Farm Business Management
• 3227 Agricultural Management

Plus choice of FOUR elective modules from:

• 1008 Agricultural Mechanisation and Buildings
• 1046 Human Nutrition, Health and Society
• 1054 Introduction to Food Production
• 2086 Red Meat Chains
• 2087 White Meat Chains
• 2232 Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneurship and Enterprise Development
• 3006 Emerging Agricultural Issues
• 3008 Advanced Livestock Production
• 3009 Agricultural & Equine Journalism
• 3010 Game & Deer Management
• 3011 Rural Business Diversification
• 3020 Advanced Crop Production
• 3067 Farm Machinery Management
• 3084 Entrepreneurship
• 3087 Advanced Dairy Food Chains
• 3090 Forestry and Woodland Management
• 3093 Farmland Ecology
• 3096 Wine Industry
• 3097 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
• 3104 Food and Agri-business Strategies
• 3205 Management Information Systems for Farming Businesses
• 3207 Farming and Integrated Environment Local Delivery
• 3210 Applied Agricultural Finance
• 3218 Sustainable Business and Agrifood Supply Chains
• 3228 Integrated Organic Systems

Career prospects

Many graduates enter practical farming or take up commercial or administrative posts in the related land-based industries. Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers as:

• Farm Managers
• Farm Workers
• Senior Planners
• Project Managers
• Livestock Skills Instructors

Graduates may qualify for progression on to a Masters course.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.rau.ac.uk/STUDY/POSTGRADUATE/HOW-APPLY

Funding

For information on funding, please view the following page: https://www.rau.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees-and-funding/funding

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The Research Masters (ResM) is a Masters level degree awarded by Plymouth University through the Duchy College node - a research node of Plymouth University’s Centre for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS). Read more
The Research Masters (ResM) is a Masters level degree awarded by Plymouth University through the Duchy College node - a research node of Plymouth University’s Centre for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS).

All ResM students are supervised by college staff based in Cornwall on the Stoke Climsland or Newquay campuses and co-supervised by Plymouth University staff. The ResM culminates in the examination of a thesis based on a period of extended research, preceded by two taught modules that equip the student for research.

The ResM programme at Duchy is tailored to individual needs and commonly involves working with an industry partner. There are full-time and part-time routes.

Full and partial fees bursaries may be available, please contact Dr Peter McGregor for more information and eligibility criteria.

Indicative project titles for Agriculture & Food:
• Agricultural change and its social, economic and environmental implications
• Farm family wellbeing
• Succession and retirement in farming
• Impact of organic farming on the rural economy
• Sustainable farming and food
• The food and farming economy of Devon and Cornwall

Proposed project titles:
• Generating virus free tulips: A collaborative project with the Botanic Garden Cambridge. You will be based in the nationally renowned micro-propagation laboratory at Duchy College Rosewarne (moving to Eden Project by Sept 2016) and undertake a series of experiments to generate virus free tissue and help preserve a rare and valuable tulip accession of the Botanic Garden Cambridge. Techniques will include tissue culture and molecular viral detection.

Student case study: “Study is flexible and fits in alongside my employment plus the tutors are experts in their field. When I finish I hope to use my knowledge and research to enhance the training offered to farmers in the South West” (Polly Gilbert, ResM Agriculture & Food).

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This course, offered by a leading research institute in grass-microbe-animal interactions in relation to sustainable efficient farming, is aimed at professionals working within the agri-food sector. Read more

Course Starts September, January or May

Course Description

This course, offered by a leading research institute in grass-microbe-animal interactions in relation to sustainable efficient farming, is aimed at professionals working within the agri-food sector. It provides students with an in-depth understanding of the components of ruminant production and mixed farming systems, focussing on the latest research into how these systems can be made more sustainable and efficient.

The aim of this Professional Doctorate programme is to produce a qualification which, whilst being equivalent in status and challenge to a PhD, is more appropriate for those pursuing professional rather than academic careers. Our DAg programme comprises taught modules and two work-based research projects, carried out through two-day workshops, distance learning and a mixture of live and virtual supervisory meetings. 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.

Modules

The ATP DAg is delivered in two parts:

Part I is undertaken for a minimum of two years and comprises two taught modules from the ATP menu*, a taught ‘Research Methodologies’ module; and a portfolio of work or a research thesis (approximately 20,000 words in length). Each taught module is worth 20 credits and takes 12-14 weeks to complete. The short Part 1 thesis should involve analysing existing data from the candidate’s workplace. For example: Reviewing historical mineral deficiency data by species and region; analysing and interpreting the findings. Students may exit here with an MRes.

Part II is undertaken for a minimum of three years and comprises a longer portfolio of work or a research thesis (up to 60,000 words). It will involve experimentation and must embody the methodology and results of original research. It should, ideally, be built upon the Part 1 thesis. Thus, from the example above, could be something like: Changing practices and introducing innovation to combat mineral deficiencies.

* Optional taught modules - some of which are delivered by Bangor University (BU) - may be chosen from:

• Genetics and Genomics
• Grassland Systems
• Home-Grown Feeds
• Organic and Low Input Ruminant Production
• Ruminant Gut Microbiology
• Ruminant Health & Welfare
• Ruminant Nutrition
• Global Ruminant Production
• Silage Science
• Farm Business Management
• Plant Breeding
• Agro Ecosystems Services (BU)
• Carbon Footprinting & Life Cycle Assessment (BU)
• Resource Efficient Farming (BU)
• Soil Management (BU)
• Upland Farming (BU)

Each module is worth 20 credits and takes 12-14 weeks to complete.

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The aquaculture programme reflects the expansion of a modern industry that now supplies nearly 50 per cent of our annual world sea food production and is valued at $110US Billion per annum globally. Read more
The aquaculture programme reflects the expansion of a modern industry that now supplies nearly 50 per cent of our annual world sea food production and is valued at $110US Billion per annum globally. The production of fin-fish and shrimp and bivalves is now recognised as one of the fastest growing sectors of agri-business and contributes greatly to our food security agenda. Among the most important fish species are salmon and trout in temperate regions as well as numerous warm water species such as tilapia and catfish. Carp and other freshwater fish still make up the bulk of fish production with Asia and China dominating in this respect. Marine fish farming of sea bass, sea bream and exotic species such as barramundi and grouper are also at the fore- front of aquaculture development. The programme will cover the major fish species produced globally and different type of systems in use.

Aquaculture relies on high quality feeds, good nutrition and various management strategies that promote optimum health and welfare of fish. Consequently a full understanding of nutritional requirements, feed formulation and feed technology is paramount to its success. It also relies on knowledge of genetic improvements of fish stock, disease recognition, diagnostics and treatment. Good governance and compliance with legislation and standards in food safety and production is critical to the producer, retailer and consumer alike. These are all at the core of a sound and sustainable fish farming industry and central to the ethos of this course.

The programme will serve to offer a portfolio of multidisciplinary topics within a selection of specialised integrative modules to advance students’ understanding of the relevant biosciences underpinning fish farming. This will be presented within a theme of mono-gastric animal production where there are many similarities of principle and scientific approaches.

In summary the course:

Recognises the global context within which food production now operates.
Provides UK students with new insights into the global agri-food system
Covers the major fish species produced globally and different type of systems in use.
Will advance students’ understanding of the relevant biosciences underpinning fish farming.

How will it benefit me?
The course will:

Prepare students for a career in Aquaculture.
Offer vocational training in the area of applied aquaculture.
Prepare students for PhD studies.

Each modules is usually delivered as an intensive short course, taught over a one week block, with a maximum of 5 days per 15 credit module providing in the region of 35 hours of contact time.
Teaching may consist of formal lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical exercises, laboratory sessions, study visits or the use of guest speakers.
The PgC, PgD and MSc are offered full-time and part-time to allow those in work to study towards an award at a pace that suits their needs and time available.

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NEW PROGRAMME. The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) is excited to announce the launch of a new programme entitled. Read more

NEW PROGRAMME

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) is excited to announce the launch of a new programme entitled MSc Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty (title subject to validation), which will commence in September 2018. The programme will encompass enhanced knowledge from our now larger team of experts and will be informed by recent research. This will replace the MSc in Agroecology and Food Security which will run for the last time in the September 2017-18 academic year. Please check our website for details which will be published very soon.

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Food security is of critical concern globally, and the development of food systems that provide food of high quality and quantity in a sustainable way, is now a research and policy priority.

The MSc in Agroecology and Food Security is designed to equip professionals and graduates with the knowledge to critically analyse and assess the relationships between agroecological food production and management, farming systems, climate change economics and the environment.

WHY CHOOSE THIS COURSE?

Run by Coventry University's Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) whose mission is to create resilient food systems worldwide, the course:

-Draws on the outstanding range of academic and practical expertise of CAWR staff plus world-renowned guest lecturers

-Is designed for students from a variety of different academic and professional backgrounds and from the natural and social sciences (e.g. previous experience of agriculture not necessary)

-Provides unique content in terms of its cutting edge focus on transforming the food system through alternative paradigms, concepts, and methodologies to enable real and equitable change

-Is based at the UK’s national centre for organic horticulture in 10 acres of organic gardens.

WHAT WILL I LEARN?

The course will provide you with the knowledge of the major agricultural production systems found in different parts of the world and the main theoretical approaches to understanding contemporary food systems.

The course covers a range of subject areas including:

  • Food security; 
  • agroecological production systems; 
  • clean energy, climate and carbon; 
  • agroecological techniques and practices; 
  • stabilisation agriculture;
  • gender, food systems and natural resources; 
  • environmental impact assessment; 
  • ecological management and assessment;
  • international environmental law;
  • remote sensing and digital image analysis; 
  • project management.

For each module, teaching normally takes the form of weekly 'face-to-face' contact at the University (including lectures, workshops, seminars and exercises) throughout each semester, with associated directed and self directed study, which may be undertaken off-campus.

HOW WILL THIS COURSE ENHANCE MY CAREER PROSPECTS?

All students undertake an individual research project, which may be associated with an appropriate organisation or company in the UK or overseas. Equipped with a detailed understanding of food systems and a range of appropriate practical skills your potential for employment will be strong.

Opportunities present themselves in national and international government agencies, non governmental policy, research and development organisations, the private sector including food companies and the farming sector.

GLOBAL LEADERS PROGRAMME

To prepare students for the challenges of the global employment market and to strengthen and develop their broader personal and professional skills Coventry University has developed a unique Global Leaders Programme.

The objectives of the programme, in which postgraduate and eligible undergraduate students can participate, is to provide practical career workshops and enable participants to experience different business cultures.



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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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This programme is designed for veterinarians, animal health specialists and livestock farmers. It addresses contemporary issues of livestock production using innovative and interactive teaching methods. Read more

Under the microscope

This programme is designed for veterinarians, animal health specialists and livestock farmers. It addresses contemporary issues of livestock production using innovative and interactive teaching methods. It has a worldwide relevance and reputation and offers options that are suitable for people from a range of professional backgrounds.

The course aims to provide you with:

- Knowledge on agents of animal diseases and how animals respond to them
- Advanced knowledge in animal nutrition, breeding and management to optimise animal health and production
- Farming systems approach to animal production and an understanding of how to appraise and monitor livestock production systems through development and execution

Modules

Students are required to study three compulsory modules:
- Animal disease
- Developing and monitoring livestock production systems
- Principles of livestock productions

PLUS four further optional modules selected from:
- Animal welfare
- Economics for livestock development and policy
- Epidemiology and animal health economics
- Management of infectious disease outbreaks in animal populations
- Reproduction and fertility: a species approach
- Research design, management and grant application writing
- Research project in livestock health and production
- Sustainable livestock farming in the environment
- Veterinary public health

How will I learn?

The modules are designed for self-study using materials provided and with full support from RVC academic experts. Everything you require will be mailed to you, including textbooks and reading material. A Virtual Learning Environment and an on-line library are also available.

You will receive a Study Pack at the start of the course, consisting of a study guide, reader and textbooks/CDs, and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) allows studies to be portable by offering on-line access to the student handbook, study guide, student discussion board, occasional academic tutorials, as well as past exam papers/examiners reports (for the previous 2 years). A tutorial calendar will be released at the beginning of the academic year and students are advised to plan for these sessions, as academic queries will be answered during tutorials only.

Although non-compulsory, indicative study calendars are available and provide an indication of the time to spend on each section.

Examinations take place annually in October, however, the flexibility of the programme allow exams to be deferred, if necessary.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates are able to:
- Improve the health and production of livestock
- Understand the interaction of livestock with people and the environment
- Gain an overview of the factors that influence livestock production (including components on nutrition, reproduction, disease, welfare and the environment)
- Implement control strategies by integrating this knowledge with the principles of epidemiology, economics and disease control within the context of management and infrastructure
- Address the interaction between livestock and the public, in terms of zoonotic disease and clean food production
- Communicate effectively on the health of animal and human populations to a range of audiences, including the general public, farmers, politicians and other key policy makers
- Comprehensive appreciation of welfare and ethical issues connected with farm animal practice
- Formulate a hypothesis and undertake a research project, analyze and present data and how to develop a grant application.

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Students can choose to start in September, May or January. About the course. This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production postgraduate course centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. Read more

Students can choose to start in September, May or January

About the course

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.

Course structure and content

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.

Core modules:

Dissertation

Research Methods

Optional modules - Choose any 5 from:

Contact Time

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.

Assessment

There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion.



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