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Masters Degrees (Plant Health)

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With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems. Read more

Programme description

With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Food production has tripled in the last forty years, but one billion people still go hungry every year. On average 30% of all food produced is wasted in the pathway from 'field to fork'. With the global human population set to rise from seven to over nine billion by 2050, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Our trees and forests face new plant health threats which in turn threaten areas of great natural beauty and diversity, and affect both rural and urban landscapes. Our unique MSc Sustainable Plant Health will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the vital role of plant health, applying your skills by conducting laboratory and field studies.

This programme is primarily aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in plant protection in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or urban settings, and also careers in policy development and implementation, plant health inspection, academic and industrial research, consultancy and conservation management, and private industry.
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Programme structure

The full time 12 month programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. The curriculum consists of two core and four elective taught courses, followed by a period of individual dissertation project work. Field trips will also form a crucial part of this course.

Core courses typically include*:
•Forensic Plant Health: lectures, lab classes and field visits providing a foundation in plant health investigation
•Plant Health in a Global Context: lectures and visits providing a global context for exploring plant health issues
•Dissertation
•Students with little background in plant health biology will take the elective course on the Fundamentals of Plant Health

Option courses allow students to tailor the degree programme according to their interests. Option courses may include*:
•Applications in Ecological Economics
•Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
•Case Studies in Sustainable Development
•Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
•Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
•Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
•Environmental Impact Assessment
•Foundations in Ecological Economics
•Frameworks to Assess Food Security
•Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
•Integrated Resource Management
•Integrated Resource Planning
•Interrelationships in Food Systems
•Land Use/Environmental Interactions
•Principles of Environmental Sustainability
•Soil Protection and Management
•Soil Science Concepts and Application
•Sustainability of Food Production
•Understanding Environment and Development

*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change each year.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course our graduates will have gained:
•Specialist knowledge and understanding of plant health, and its evaluation, impact and management
•Skills to detect and identify agents detrimental to plant health
•An understanding of the nature and diversity of plant health interactions
•The ability to develop strategies for plant health management taking into account their impact on agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems
•Knowledge of the relevance of plant health to sustainability and food security
•Improved analytical skills and critical thinking

Career opportunities

Plant health scientists are employed in a range of vocations: environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, urban planning, policy development, plant inspection and management. Long term career prospects are strong as agricultural scientists will continue to be needed to balance increased output with protection and preservation of ecosystems.

Our graduates will gain particularly valuable skills due to our programme's unique approach looking at impacts across ecosystems. They also benefit from the applied nature of the course allowing them to use their practical skills in a range of field trip environments with expert supervision.

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

MSc Plant Sciences

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

Programme summary

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

Specialisations

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

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

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

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

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


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

Your future career

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

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

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

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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 MSc programme in Parasitology and Pathogen Biology is designed for students seeking training in parasite-borne infectious diseases that severely undermine. Read more
The MSc programme in Parasitology and Pathogen Biology is designed for students seeking training in parasite-borne infectious diseases that severely undermine: human health in the developing world and tropics; agri-food production systems globally (including plant health and animal health and welfare).

Students taking the course will develop expertise directly applicable to human, plant and animal health and welfare, food security and the future sustainability of food production, particularly within livestock and plant/crop production systems.

The course will be run entirely by research active and will offer students the opportunity to gain experience in internationally competitive laboratories.

PROGRAMME CONTENT
The MSc programme in Parasitology and Pathogen Biology is designed for students seeking training in parasite-borne infectious diseases that severely undermine: human health in the developing world and tropics; agri-food production systems globally (including plant health and animal health and welfare). Students taking the course will develop expertise directly applicable to human, plant and animal health and welfare, food security and the future sustainability of food production, particularly within livestock and plant/crop production systems.

Students undertaking this MSc course will study the folling modules:

- Foundation for Research in the Biosciences 20CATS
- Fundamental Parasitology & Advanced Skills 20CATS
- Advanced Parasitology I 20CATS
- Advanced Parasitology II 20CATS
- Bio-Entrepreneurship & Advanced Skills 20CATS
- Literature Review 20CATS
- Research Project 60CATS

CAREER PROSPECTS
It is anticipated that the skills set and knowledge acquired will equip participants with a comprehensive academic and methodological repertoire to undertake careers in agriculture, plant science, animal and human health, pharmaceutica, academia and food security, underpinning the transdisciplinary nature of the programme.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

WHY QUEEN'S?
The MSc programme embraces the One Health approach to these infectious diseases, with strong recognition of the interplay between health and disease at the dynamic interface between humans, animals and the environment.

In addition to embedded generic skills training, students will have the opportunity to acquire subject-specific skills training, e.g. molecular biology techniques, diagnostics, epidemiology (human, animal and plant diseases), drug/vaccine development, pathogen management/control, host-parasite interaction, immunobiology, drug resistance and the potential impact of climate change on parasites and their vectors.

In addition to the taught elements of the course, MSc students will undertake a research project working in research active laboratories (academic or industrial), or in the field, e.g. the impact of helminth infections on animal welfare, the economic impact of parasites on agriculture, the role of vectors in emerging diseases, the ecology of zoonotic diseases, the molecular basis of anthelmintic resistance, emerging technologies for drug discovery, the pathology of infection, parasite immunomodulation of the host.

The transferrable skill set and knowledge base acquired from the programme will equip students with a highly desirable qualification that is suited to those wishing to pursue careers in human health/infectious disease, animal health, veterinary medicine, animal/plant biology, pharmaceutical sciences and food security.

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In the first academic year of the MSc. Program the students of the 3 main subjects have several courses in common, aiming in giving them all an in-depth knowledge and know-how related to nutrition and rural development related topics, creating a common academic level between all program students of diverse backgrounds. Read more
In the first academic year of the MSc. Program the students of the 3 main subjects have several courses in common, aiming in giving them all an in-depth knowledge and know-how related to nutrition and rural development related topics, creating a common academic level between all program students of diverse backgrounds. The common part of the programme consists on the one hand of basic knowledge, insights and skills in the areas of production, transformation, preservation, marketing and consumption of food products. On the other hand, it contains a practically oriented component that enables the alumni to identify problems by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods and analytical techniques, to assess and rank causes, and to plan, to execute and to evaluate appropriate interventions.

The other part of courses given during the first year are main subject specific courses. The academic second year provides a more in depth understanding of the specific problems and their solutions for the main subject and major chosen and consists of main subject and major specific courses, elective (optional) courses and Master Dissertation research (30 ECTS).

The specific expertise the students receive depends on the main subject, major and optional courses chosen.

Tropical Agriculture

Delivers technical knowledge related to agriculture focussing on developing countries. The students can specialize in animal production or plant production by choosing the specific option. The major on Animal Production delivers in depth knowledge on production biology, animal nutrition, pasture management, animal genetics. The major on Plant Production focuses on themes like ethno-botany, crop protection, plant breeding, plant biotechnology. The courses are applicative and aim at presenting solutions for production problems in developing countries in an interdisciplinary way.

Structure

Semester 1 (Sept-Jan)
-Preceded by introduction courses.
-Common and main subject specific basic courses.
-Fundamental, in depth and high level knowledge.
Semester 2 (Febr-June)
-Main subject specific courses with special attention to ‘in field’ applications.
-Possibility to do internships in summer holidays.
Semester 3 (Sept-Jan) and Semester 4 (Febr-June)
-Specialised courses (fine-tuned individual programme).
-Master dissertation (at Ghent University, other Belgian institutes/organizations/multinationals or one of our partners in the South or Europe).

Learning and Outcomes

Have thorough knowledge and comprehension (theory and practice) l in the interdisciplinary domains: food and feed production, socio-economic, (public health) nutrition and management concepts, theories and skills, and in the main subject specific domains and the chosen major domains. The program additionally focuses on international collaboration.
-Major: Public Health Nutrition : Have profound insights in public health nutrition realities and compare public health nutrition issues, approaches and policies within the international context
-Major Nutrition Security and Management: Have profound insights in different food/nutrition security realities and compare nutrition security issues, approaches and (nutrition) policies within an international context
-Major Plant Production: Have profound insights in plant production realities and compare plant production issues, and approaches within the international context
-Major Animal Production: Have profound insights in animal production realities and compare animal production issues, and approaches within the international context

Apply theories and methodological approaches to characterize and analyse specific problems: food, nutrition and agricultural chains, food sovereignty /safety and security, natural resource management, sustainable production, economic and social problems of rural areas, national and international agriculture.

Design and implement adequate instruments, methods, models and innovative tools to analyse, evaluate and solve interdisciplinary related problems in the context of sustainable development.

Apply the interdisciplinary tools to design, implement, monitor and evaluate national and international agro-nutrition policies and programs. More specifically:
-For Human Nutrition: construct innovative tools and instruments for the development of a better nutritional health status of a country/region/area and its inhabitants/households.
-For Tropical agriculture: a more efficient and economic feasible agricultural balanced, food production guaranteeing a better food security situation per country respecting local environment.

Assess the importance and magnitude of a problem, define strategies for intervention and/or identify knowledge gaps. Develop a research protocol based on the analysis of existing evidence and set up a research plan, analyse and interpret the data and present the findings.

Identify, select and apply appropriate research methods and techniques to collect, analyses and critically interpret data.

Critically reflect on program specific issues, and on ethical and value driven aspects of research and intervention strategies.

Take up a trans-disciplinary role in an interdisciplinary ((inter)national) team dealing with global challenges, and develop a global perspective.

Dialogue and professionally interact with different actors and stakeholders from peers to a general public to convincingly communicate evidence based research findings and project results.

To effectively use appropriate communication and behavioural skills in different language and cultural environments.

Learn to continuously critically reflect (individually and in discussion with others) upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes, functioning, and develop an attitude of lifelong learning. This includes:
-Design and plan own learning processes.
-Self-Directed Learning: work independently, take initiative, and manage a project through to completion.

Other admission requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted)
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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In a world where global transport links allow rapid movement of people and animals, disease can spread more quickly than before and is harder to control than ever. Read more
In a world where global transport links allow rapid movement of people and animals, disease can spread more quickly than before and is harder to control than ever. In such a world there is a growing need for trained epidemiologists at the front line of disease surveillance.

The UK leads the way in providing this training and, in order to meet the demand for skilled professionals, the RVC has developed a unique postgraduate veterinary epidemiology course, delivered jointly with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Under the microscope

This demanding masters in veterinary epidemiology programme is led by veterinary epidemiologists and supported by policy makers from the forefront of UK government and you will gain a fascinating insight into the work of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA, formerly AHVLA). Your areas of study will combine LSHTM’s strengths in epidemiological principles and communicable disease epidemiology, with the RVC’s expertise in veterinary epidemiology, animal health and production.

The course

All students are required to study the core units and usually the recommended units. Students are advised to take at most one optional unit unless they are very familiar with the content of several core or recommended units.

Term one core units:
- Extended epidemiology
- Statistics for EPH
- Epidemiological aspects of laboratory investigation
- Surveillance of animal health and production
- Data management using epi-data
- Communication skills in epidemiology

Recommended unit: Public health
Optional units: Epidemiology in context, Introduction to computing

Term two core units:
- Animal health economics
- Epidemiology and control of communicable diseases
- Statistical methods in epidemiology
- Applied risk assessment and management

Term three core unit:
- Advanced statistical methods in veterinary epidemiology

Recommended units: Modelling and dynamics of infectious diseases, Methods of vector control


Projects - you will spend the second part of the year working full-time on an individual project with the guidance of a supervisor. If you have been sponsored by an employer, you may undertake a project related to your work.

Assessment - you will be assessed by two written exams in June, six in-course assessments throughout the year, and a project report with oral examination in September.

How will I learn?

You can choose to complete the Veterinary Epidemiology post-graduate course over one year full-time study, or part time over two years.

All participants begin the course in September. Over three terms, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials. Both MSc and Diploma students complete the Term One foundation module. MSc students then complete a further five compulsory modules over Terms Two and Three, while Diploma students complete a further four modules, with some module choice available.

Students on both courses sit written examination papers in June, after which the veterinary epidemiology MSc students will work on a research project from June to August, culminating in an oral examination in September.

Part-time students attend the course full-time from October to December in year one, followed by classes two to three days a week from January to May. You will usually study the remainder of the course in year two, including the summer research project (MSc students only).

We recognise the need for flexibility, however, and are happy to tailor your part-time study to meet your specific requirements (subject to agreement with the course director).

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

- Demonstrate and understand the key concepts underpinning the discipline of veterinary and medical epidemiology
- Select an appropriate study design when confronted with an epidemiological research question and develop a detailed study protocol capable of answering the research question
- Analyse and interpret epidemiological data derived from cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies
- Review critically the published epidemiological literature
- Apply epidemiological principles to surveillance, and infection and disease control, within animal and human populations
- Communicate effectively with researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds
- Communicate effectively with other people with an interest in human and animal health, including the general public and key policy makers.

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The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology. Read more

MSc Plant Biotechnology

The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology.

Programme summary

Due to rapid technological developments in the genomics, molecular biology and biotechnology, the use of molecular marker technology has accelerated the selection of new plant varieties with many desirable traits. It also facilitates the design, development and management of transgenic plants. At present, plants are increasingly used to produce valuable proteins and secondary metabolites for food and pharmaceutical purposes. New insights into the molecular basis of plant-insect, plant- pathogen and crop-weed relationships enable the development of disease-resistant plants and strategies for integrated pest management. A fundamental approach is combined with the development of tools and technologies to apply in plant breeding, plant pathology, post-harvest quality control, and the production of renewable resources. Besides covering the technological aspects, Plant Biotechnology also deals with the ethical issues and regulatory aspects, including intellectual property rights.

Specialisations

Functional Plant Genomics
Functional genomics aims at understanding the relationship between an organism's genome and its phenotype. The availability of a wide variety of sequenced plant genomes has revolutionised insight into plant genetics. By combining array technology, proteomics, metabolomics and phenomics with bioinformatics, gene expression can be studied to understand the dynamic properties of plants and other organisms.

Plants for Human and Animal Health
Plants are increasingly being used as a safe and inexpensive alternative for the production of valuable proteins and metabolites for food supplements and pharmaceuticals. This specialisation provides a fundamental understanding of how plants can be used for the production of foreign proteins and metabolites. In addition, biomedical aspects such as immunology and food allergy, as well as nutritional genomics and plant metabolomics, can also be studied.

Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology
Molecular approaches to analyse and modify qualitative and quantitative traits in crops are highly effective in improving crop yield, food quality, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. Molecular plant breeding focuses on the application of genomics and QTL-mapping to enable marker assisted selection of a trait of interest (e.g. productivity, quality). Molecular plant pathology aims to provide a greater understanding of plant-insect, plant-pathogen and crop-weed interactions in addition to developing new technologies for integrated plant health management.These technologies include improved molecular detection of pathogens and transgene methods to introduce resistance genes into crops.

Your future career

The main career focus of graduates in Plant Biotechnology is on research and development positions at universities, research institutes, and biotech- or plant breeding companies. Other job opportunities can be found in the fields of policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Over 75% of Plant Biotechnology graduates start their (academic) career with a PhD.

Alumnus Behzad Rashidi.
“I obtained my bachelor degree in the field of agricultural engineering, agronomy and plant breeding, at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran. The curiosity and interest for studying plant biotechnology and great reputation of Wageningen University motivated me to follow the master programme Plant Biotechnology. I got a chance to do my internship at State University of New York at Buffalo, working on biofuel production from microalgae. Working with this small unicellular organism made me even more motivated to continue my research after my master. Now I am doing my PhD in the Plant Breeding department of Wageningen University, working on biorefinery of microalgae.”

Related programmes:
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Nutrition and Health
MSc Bioinformatics
MSc Biology.

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Over the past decade there have been a number of unanticipated adverse health events such as the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2007 Australian equine influenza outbreak, the 2008 melamine contamination of Chinese infant formula, the 2009 influenza pandemic, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak to name but a few. Read more
Over the past decade there have been a number of unanticipated adverse health events such as the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2007 Australian equine influenza outbreak, the 2008 melamine contamination of Chinese infant formula, the 2009 influenza pandemic, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak to name but a few. New pathogens continue to emerge and successfully cross species’ barriers to cause new disease in humans (e.g. MERS). At the same time changes to food production and consumption are creating new risks to the food chain, while scientific breakthroughs now allow for the creation of entirely new organisms not found in the natural world, prompting new security concerns and the need for new regulatory arrangements and oversight mechanisms. As several of these events have already demonstrated, the interrelationship between animal, human and plant disease-related events in a highly interconnected world are both multifaceted and complex, with potential implications for national economies, international trade, national and international security, social cohesion, political stability, and food security.

The Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI) based at the University of Sydney is committed to meeting this need by helping train a new generation of professionals develop the knowledge and skills to manage complex human, animal and plant health emergencies and the multisectoral impacts that can arise from such events.

The MHlthSec offers students an intellectually rigorous, flexible, interdisciplinary program of study and research that provides a pathway for those who are either interested in pursuing a career in health security, or are already working in roles with responsibility for dealing with health-related crises. In addition, the degree will also contain study options that provide a pathway for entry into higher degrees by research (e.g. PhD), allowing students to pursue a career in research and/or academia.

To ask a question about this course, visit http://sydney.edu.au/internationaloffice/

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This unique Masters in Applied Statistics in Health Sciences provides an opening to a career as an applied statistician, without having previously studied statistics. Read more
This unique Masters in Applied Statistics in Health Sciences provides an opening to a career as an applied statistician, without having previously studied statistics.

The course is run in collaboration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Statisticians from APHA, as well as those who have extensive experience in working with the National Health Service in Scotland, will provide lectures based around real-life problems and data from the health sciences.

Although the programme is focused on health, the skill set provided will also equip you with the necessary training to work as an applied statistician in other areas such as insurance, finance and commerce.

What you'll learn

The three compulsory modules covered in Semester 1 will equip you with fundamental probability and data analysis skills. In Semester 2 there's four compulsory modules, each focusing on a different applied element of being a statistician. The course concludes with a research project which will involve the analysis of a real-life data set.

Programme skills set
On the programme you'll acquire:
-in-depth knowledge of modern statistical methods that are used to analyse and visualise real-life data sets and the experience of how to apply these methods in a professional setting
-skills in using statistical software packages that are used in government, industry and commerce
-the ability to interpret the output from statistical tests and data analyses and communicate your findings to a variety of audiences including health professionals, scientists, government officials, managers and stakeholders who may have an interest in the problem
-problem solving and high numeracy skills that are widely sought after in the commercial sector
-practical experience of statistical consultancy and how to interact with professionals who require statistical analyses of their data
-through the contacts with APHA and NHS staff, an understanding of what it's like to work as an applied statistician in practice including, for example, during disease outbreaks

Guest lectures
Several modules will be taught by academics who also work for other organisations including government and health services.

Facilities

The Department of Mathematics & Statistics has teaching rooms which provide you with access to modern teaching equipment and computing laboratories that are state-of-the-art with all necessary software available. You'll also have a common room facility, a modern and flexible area which is used for individual and group study work, and also a relaxing social space.

The Department of Mathematics & Statistics

At the heart of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics is the University’s aim of developing useful learning. We're an applied department with many links to industry and government. Most of the academic staff teaching on this course hold joint-appointments with, or are funded by, other organisations, including APHA, Public Health and Intelligence (Health Protection Scotland), Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS). We bridge the gap between academia and real-life. Our research has societal impact.

Course content

Semester 1 Compulsory classes:
The three compulsory classes covered in semester 1 will equip you with fundamental probability and data analysis skills.

-Foundations of Probability & Statistics
-Data Analytics in R
-Applied Statistical Modelling

Semester 2 Compulsory classes:
Each class focuses on a different applied element of being a statistician.

-Medical Statistics
-Bayesian Spatial Statistics
-Effective Statistical Consultancy
-Risk Analysis
-Survey Design & Analysis
-Semester 3

Learning & teaching

Classes are delivered by a number of teaching methods:
-lectures (using a variety of media including electronic presentations and computer demonstrations)
-tutorials
-computer laboratories
-coursework
-projects

Teaching is student-focused, with students encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development. Classes are supported by web-based materials.

Assessment

The form of assessment varies for each class. For most classes the assessment involves both coursework and examinations.

How can I fund my course?

A number of scholarships are available for outstanding UK, EU and international applicants. For details, please visit our scholarship search: https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/scholarships/

Scottish students:
Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English/EU students:
Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs. Students resident in the EU may also apply.

Careers

There are many exciting career opportunities for graduates in applied statistics. The practical, real-life skills that you'll gain means you'll be much in demand in international organisations. A report by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry identified statistics and data mining as “two key areas in which a 'skills gap' is threatening the UK's biopharmaceutical industry.”

Typical employers of statisticians and data analysts include:

-Government
-Health services
-Pharmaceutical companies
-Human, animal, plant and environmental research institutes
-Insurance companies
-Banks
-Internet information providers such as Google
-Retailers

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In the first academic year of the MSc program, the students of the 3 main subjects have several courses in common, aiming in giving them all an in-depth knowledge and know-how related to nutrition and rural development related topics, creating a common academic level between all program students of diverse backgrounds. Read more
In the first academic year of the MSc program, the students of the 3 main subjects have several courses in common, aiming in giving them all an in-depth knowledge and know-how related to nutrition and rural development related topics, creating a common academic level between all program students of diverse backgrounds. The common part of the programme consists on the one hand of basic knowledge, insights and skills in the areas of production, transformation, preservation, marketing and consumption of food products. On the other hand, it contains a practically oriented component that enables the alumni to identify problems by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods and analytical techniques, to assess and rank causes, and to plan, to execute and to evaluate appropriate interventions.

The other part of courses given during the first year are main subject specific courses. The academic second year provides a more in depth understanding of the specific problems and their solutions for the main subject and major chosen and consists of main subject and major specific courses, elective (optional) courses and Master Dissertation research (30 ECTS).

The specific expertise the students receive depends on the main subject , major and optional courses chosen.

Human nutrition

Transfers specific and profound knowledge, insights and skills related to the food and public health nutrition security problems and possible solutions at population level. Therefore, this subject focuses on themes such as food chemistry, food and nutrition science, nutritional requirements, food and nutrition policy, nutrition surveillance, nutrition disorders, nutrition research, food and nutrition interventions, food safety, nutrition epidemiology, consumer behaviour, rural development and agriculture, development economics, project management, and project planning.

Structure

Semester 1 (Sept-Jan)
-Preceded by introduction courses.
-Common and main subject specific basic courses.
-Fundamental, in depth and high level knowledge.
Semester 2 (Febr-June)
-Main subject specific courses with special attention to ‘in field’ applications.
-Possibility to do internships in summer holidays.
Semester 3 (Sept-Jan) and Semester 4 (Febr-June)
-Specialised courses (fine-tuned individual programme).
-Master dissertation (at Ghent University, other Belgian institutes/organizations/multinationals or one of our partners in the South or Europe).

Learning outcomes

Have thorough knowledge and comprehension (theory and practice) l in the interdisciplinary domains: food and feed production, socio-economic, (public health) nutrition and management concepts, theories and skills, and in the main subject specific domains and the chosen major domains. The program additionally focuses on international collaboration.
-Major: Public Health Nutrition : Have profound insights in public health nutrition realities and compare public health nutrition issues, approaches and policies within the international context.
-Major Nutrition Security and Management: Have profound insights in different food/nutrition security realities and compare nutrition security issues, approaches and (nutrition) policies within an international context.
-Major Plant Production: Have profound insights in plant production realities and compare plant production issues, and approaches within the international context.
-Major Animal Production: Have profound insights in animal production realities and compare animal production issues, and approaches within the international context.

Apply theories and methodological approaches to characterize and analyse specific problems: food, nutrition and agricultural chains, food sovereignty /safety and security, natural resource management, sustainable production, economic and social problems of rural areas, national and international agriculture.

Design and implement adequate instruments, methods, models and innovative tools to analyse, evaluate and solve interdisciplinary related problems in the context of sustainable development.

Apply the interdisciplinary tools to design, implement, monitor and evaluate national and international agro-nutrition policies and programs. More specifically:
-For Human Nutrition: construct innovative tools and instruments for the development of a better nutritional health status of a country/region/area and its inhabitants/households.
-For Tropical agriculture: a more efficient and economic feasible agricultural balanced, food production guaranteeing a better food security situation per country respecting local environment.

Assess the importance and magnitude of a problem, define strategies for intervention and/or identify knowledge gaps. Develop a research protocol based on the analysis of existing evidence and set up a research plan, analyse and interpret the data and present the findings.

Identify, select and apply appropriate research methods and techniques to collect, analyses and critically interpret data.

Critically reflect on program specific issues, and on ethical and value driven aspects of research and intervention strategies.

Take up a trans-disciplinary role in an interdisciplinary ((inter)national) team dealing with global challenges, and develop a global perspective.

Dialogue and professionally interact with different actors and stakeholders from peers to a general public to convincingly communicate evidence based research findings and project results.

To effectively use appropriate communication and behavioural skills in different language and cultural environments.

Learn to continuously critically reflect (individually and in discussion with others) upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes, functioning, and develop an attitude of lifelong learning. This includes:
-Design and plan own learning processes.
-Self-Directed Learning: work independently, take initiative, and manage a project through to completion.

Other admission details

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted):
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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This practical course is based on a single research project under the training and supervision of one of our Academic researchers. Read more
This practical course is based on a single research project under the training and supervision of one of our Academic researchers. Topics tend to be interdisciplinary and range from laboratory-based fundamental science to field-based applied agriculture and ecology. The course will give you hands-on experience of your chosen specialism and can be used in preparation for a PhD. It also prepares you for careers in science administration, business where the products sold involve advanced technology, and as a consultant in many highly skilled sectors.

Research areas include

-Animal Health and Welfare
-Biogeochemical Cycles
-Brain Function and Neuro-Degeneration
-Cell Biology
-Developmental Systems and Ageing
-Environmental Microbiology
-Environmental Resource Management and Ecosystems
-Epidemiology and Modelling
-Food Security
-Gene Expression
-Genomics and Bioinformatics
-Host-Pathogen Interactions
-Molecular Systems Biology
-Infectious Disease
-Molecular Structure and Mechanism
-Network Reengineering
-Neuroscience
-Pathogenesis Mechanisms
-Plant Science
-Signalling Pathways
-Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology

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MPhil - full time. minimum 12 months, part time. minimum 24 months. PhD - full time. minimum 36 months, part time. minimum 72 months. Read more

Course Description

MPhil - full time: minimum 12 months, part time: minimum 24 months
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months

MPhil and PhD supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to animal health and welfare, environmental impact of livestock systems, and safety and quality of livestock products.

The school of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has an internationally recognised centre of excellence in Animal Sciences, drawing on fundamental research and applying it to areas of societal, industrial and policy importance.

Our research primarily involves:
•farm livestock, domesticated animal and wildlife applied research
•integrated livestock system development and evaluation
•animal behaviour, health and welfare
•survival, health and efficiency of nutrient utilisation

Opportunities are available for postgraduate research in the following areas:

Animal health and welfare:
Work ranges from understanding animal behaviour and behavioural problems, through development of practical on-farm monitoring and assessment methods to mechanistic studies of health and disease at the molecular level.

Environmental impact of livestock systems:
Our work examines the consequences of modifications in nutrition and husbandry and alterations in breeding strategies to improve the efficiency of resource use.

Safety and quality of livestock products, including milk, meat and eggs:
Our 'field to fork' expertise allows us to study the relationships between husbandry systems and nutritional inputs of animals and the composition of their products, with further implications for human diet and health.


Delivery

We offer a number of different routes to a research degree qualification, including full-time and part-time supervised research projects. We attract postgraduates via non-traditional routes, including mature students and part-time postgraduates undertaking study as part of their continuing professional development. Off-campus (split) research is also offered, which enables you to conduct trials in conditions appropriate to your research programme.

Facilities:

Farms:
Our multi-purpose farms provide demonstration facilities for teaching purposes, land-based research facilities (especially in the area of organic production) and they are viable farming businesses.

Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm facility that includes the Palace Leas Plots hay meadow experiment and an 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.

Laboratories:
Our modern laboratories provide important teaching and research environments and are equipped with analytical equipment such as HPLCs, GCs, CNS analyser, 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.

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Would you like to be involved in finding solutions to future challenges of food and energy production, such as climate change, population growth and limited energy resources? Are you interested in animal welfare, clean soil, environmental issues or the newest methods in biological and genetic engineering? Would you like to learn about automation and robotics in agriculture?. Read more
Would you like to be involved in finding solutions to future challenges of food and energy production, such as climate change, population growth and limited energy resources? Are you interested in animal welfare, clean soil, environmental issues or the newest methods in biological and genetic engineering? Would you like to learn about automation and robotics in agriculture?

Join the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences on the Viikki Campus to find solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow. The University of Helsinki is the only university in Finland to offer academic education in this field.

In the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences, you can pursue studies in plant production sciences, animal science, agrotechnology, or environmental soil science, depending on your interests and previous studies. For further information about the study tracks, see Programme contents.

Upon completing a Master’s degree, you will:
-Be an expert in plant production science, animal science, agrotechnology, or environmental soil science.
-Be able to assess the sustainability and environmental impact of food and energy production.
-Be able to apply biosciences, ecology, chemistry, physics or statistics, depending on your study track, to the future needs of agriculture.
-Have mastered the key issues and future development trends of your field.
-Have mastered state-of-the-art research and analysis methods and techniques.
-Be able to engage in international activities, project work and communication.
-Be able to acquire and interpret scientific research information in your field and present it orally and in writing.
-Have the qualifications to pursue postgraduate studies in a doctoral programme or a career as an expert or entrepreneur.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/higher-education-institutions-will-introduce-tuition-fees-in-autumn-2017/am-i-required-to-pay-tuition-fees/

Programme Contents

The Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences comprises four study tracks:
Plant production sciences – plants as sources of food, feed, energy, beauty and wellbeing
During your studies, you will have the opportunity to apply biology to the breeding, cultivation, protection and production ecology of crop or horticultural plants. Producing sufficient food is one of the great challenges facing humanity. Plant production sciences have an important mission in finding solutions to this challenge. Plants are cultivated not only for food and feed, but also for bioenergy, green landscapes and ornamental purposes; plant production sciences seek new, improved solutions for all these purposes.

Animal science – animal health and wellbeing
During your studies, you will become familiar with issues pertaining to the wellbeing, nutrition and breeding of production and hobby animals as well as with the relevant biotechnology. In this study track you will apply biochemistry, animal physiology, genetics and molecular biology for the benefit of sustainable animal production. The Viikki Research Farm, in urban Helsinki, provides plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning!

Agrotechnology – technology with consideration for the environment
This study track provides you with the opportunity to study technologies that are key to agricultural production and the environment, from the basics to the latest innovations. Advances in technology and automation offer new horizons to fearless inventors interested in developing machinery and engineering for the reorganisation, implementation and adjustment of production in accordance with the needs of plants and animals.

Environmental soil science – dig below the surface
These studies allow you to literally dig beneath the surface. The soil is a central factor for the production of renewable natural resources, the diversity of nature, and the quality of water systems. As an expert in environmental soil science you will know how the soil serves as a substrate for plants and affects the quality of food, and how it can be improved.

Selection of the Major

The Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences comprises four study tracks, allowing you to focus on a specialisation according to your interests and previous studies: plant production sciences (quota of 40 students), animal science (quota of 25 students), agrotechnology (quota of 15 students), and environmental soil science (quota of 5 students).

You can be admitted to the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences either directly from the relevant Bachelor’s programme or through a separate admissions process. A total of 80 students will be admitted through these two admissions channels.

Programme Structure

With a scope of 120 credits (ECTS), the Master’s programme can be completed in two academic years. The degree comprises:
-60 credits of advanced studies in the selected study track, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
-60 credits of other studies from the curriculum of your own or other degree programmes

The study tracks of the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to construct thematic modules around importance topical issues: the bioeconomy, the recycling of nutrients, food systems, and the production and exploitation of genomic information.

You must also complete a personal study plan (PSP). Your studies can also include career orientation and career planning.

Various teaching methods are used in the programme, including lectures, practical exercises, practical laboratory and field courses, practical training, seminars, project work and independent study.

Career Prospects

As a graduate of the Master’s Programme in Agricultural Sciences, you will have the competence to pursue a career or to continue your studies at the doctoral level.

According to the statistics of the Finnish Association of Academic Agronomists, the current employment situation for new graduates is positive. Graduates have found employment in Finland and abroad as experts in the following fields:
-Research and product development (universities, research institutes, companies, industry).
-Administration and expert positions (ministries, supervisory agencies, EU, FAO).
-Business and management (companies).
-Teaching, training and consultation (universities, universities of applied sciences, organisations, development cooperation projects).
-Communication (universities, media, companies, ministries, organisations).
-Entrepreneurship (self-employment).

As a graduate you can apply for doctoral education in Finland or abroad. A doctoral degree can be completed in four years. With a doctoral degree you can pursue a career in the academic world or enter the job market. The qualifications required for some positions may be a doctoral rather than a Master’s degree.

Other admission details

Applications are also accepted from graduates of other University of Helsinki Bachelor’s programmes as well as from graduates of other Finnish or international universities. In these cases, admission will be based on your previous academic performance and the applicability of your previous degree. For the latest admission requirements see the website: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/masters-admission-masters-programme-in-agricultural-sciences-master-of-science-agriculture-and-forestry-2-years/1.2.246.562.20.29558674254

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The two year MSc Biology concerns understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. Read more

MSc Biology

The two year MSc Biology concerns understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. The biosciences aim to understand living systems and to help preserve biodiversity and our environment and simultaneously produce sufficient healthy and safe food.

Programme summary

Biological issues are at the forefront of the technological progress of modern society. They are central to global concerns about how we effect and are affected by our environment. Understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. The MSc Biology allows students to get a broad overview of the latest developments in biology, ranging from genes to ecosystems. They learn to critically discuss the newest scientific developments in the biological sciences. Within their area of specialisation, students deepen their knowledge and skills in a certain subject. To prepare for a successful international career, we strongly encourage our students to complete part of their programme requirements abroad.

Specialisations

The MSc Biology offers nine specialisations:

Animal Adaptation and Behavioural Biology
This specialisation focuses mainly on subjects as adaptation, mechanisms involved in these adaptations and behaviour of animals.

Bio-interactions
In this specialisation, you obtain knowledge about interactions between organisms. You learn to understand and interpret interactions on different levels, from molecular to ecosystem level.

Molecular Ecology
In this specialisation, you learn to use molecular techniques to solve ecological questions. You will use, for example, molecular techniques to study the interaction between a virus and a plant.

Conservation and Systems Ecology
This specialisation focuses initially on fundamental processes that play a key role in ecology. You learn to interpret different relations, for example, the relation between chemical (or physical processes) and bioprocesses. Furthermore, you learn to analyse different ecosystems. You can use this knowledge to manage and conserve these ecological systems.

Evolution and Biodiversity
The systematics of biodiversity in an evolutionary perspective is the central focus of this specialisation. Subjects that will be addressed in this specialisation are: evolution, genetics, biosystematic research and taxonomic analysis.

Health and Disease
This specialisation focuses on regulatory mechanisms that have a central role in human and animal health.

Marine Biology
Choosing this specialisation means studying the complexity of the marine ecosystem. Moreover, you learn about the impacts of, for instance, fishery and recreation on this ecosystem or the interaction between different species in this system.

Molecular Development and Gene Regulation
This specialisation focuses on gene regulations and the different developmental mechanisms of organisms.

Plant Adaptation
This specialisation focuses on the adaptations that different plants gained in order to adjust to various conditions. You learn to understand the regulation processes in plants that underlie these adaptations.

Your future career

Many graduates from the MSc Biology study programme enter careers in fundamental and applied research or go on to become PhD students. Some find a position as communication officer, manager or policymaker. Compared with other Dutch universities, many biology graduates from Wageningen University find a position abroad.

Alumna Iris de Winter.
"I work as a PhD student at Wageningen University. In my research, I aim to understand the effect of human disturbance on the parasites prevalence in lemurs. I also look at the potential risks of the transmission of diseases and parasites from lemurs to humans, but also vice versa, from humans (and their livestock and pets) to wild lemur population. I alternate my fieldwork in Madagascar with parasite identification, analyses and writing manuscripts in the Netherlands. With this research, I hope to gain more insight in the factors that increase parasite prevalence in natural systems and hereby to improve the protection of both lemurs and their natural habitat."

Related programmes:
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Animal Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Plant Biotechnology
MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management
MSc Organic Agriculture.

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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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