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Masters Degrees (Soil Science)

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Your programme of study. If you are interested in earth science, and environmental science but you want to specialise in the study of soil specifically the Aberdeen programme gives you in depth knowledge and a range of experts and alumni who consult at government level. Read more

Your programme of study

If you are interested in earth science, and environmental science but you want to specialise in the study of soil specifically the Aberdeen programme gives you in depth knowledge and a range of experts and alumni who consult at government level. Aberdeen is further supported by having the James Hutton Institute within the city limits, a notable institute specialising in soil science over the years known formerly the Macaulay Institute.

Soil Science is becoming increasingly important to our ability to sustain life on earth as we look at how to keep the soil clean from pollutants in water, air and polluting industries, pesticides and all sorts of changes to soil. There are also growing concerns that as the population increases and climate change also increases how do we farm in the future? The degree gives you all the skills and knowledge you need to work as a soil scientist either as a researcher, within government or regulation or as a consultant working with industry and other organisations devoted to soil science.

You learn about soil science, sustainability, land use planning, food security, GIS, and land use with intensive laboratory analysis from one of the top centres in the world for soil science. We also take you into the field to study specific situations and you are guided by our world renowned researchers in the environmental sciences. This is one of only a handful of Soil Science programmes with cutting edge technologies to help you analyse and study soil in depth. Soil science falls within agricultural sciences which were ranked No. 1 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014) and the highly acclaimed Environmental Science disciplines which Aberdeen has made a name for itself in over the years.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Core Skills in Environmental Science
  • Global Soil Geography
  • Soils for Food Security
  • Applications for GIS

Semester 2

  • Environmental Analysis
  • Land Use and the Changing Environment on Deesside

Optional

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Remediation Technology
  • Catchment Management
  • Ecological and Environmental Modelling

Semester 3

  • Project in Soil Science

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Research at Aberdeen within agricultural and earth sciences is ranked No.1 (REF)
  • You study all methods of analysis and field work to understand the full range of issues within soil and land use which affect the ability to grow crops
  • One of our team developed the award winning 'Cool Farm Tool.' Dr John Hillier developed this to calculate greenhouse gas. The tool is used by known brands such as Marks and Spencer, Costco and Heinz

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • 12 Months or 24 Months
  • Full Time or Part Time
  • September start

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about international fees:

  • International
  • EU and Scotland
  • Other UK

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page and the latest postgraduate opportunities

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs



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A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Read more
A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

The main subject in Soil Science aims at training researchers, academics, government staff and expert consultants in the inventory and detailed characterization of land capacity, and of soils in particular. Graduates should be able to understand the development and evolution of soils under natural conditions or following human interference using field, map, laboratory and remote sensing data. They should have the scientific knowledge to use and manage soil and water in a sustainable way, and to optimize land use under different natural and environmental conditions.

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course. The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources. The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".

The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

Teaching methods
A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences. Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used. Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources is organized at both UGent and VUB and aims to contribute to an increased knowledge in Physical Land Resources both in terms of quantity (more experts with a broad knowledge) and of quality (knowledge and its use at an advanced scientific level). The incoming students have diverse backgrounds in geology-related sciences, civil engineering or agronomy and the large majority of students originate from developing countries.
-Possesses a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understandinga. needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering).
-Possesses the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
-Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors.
-Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
-Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty.
-Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data.
-Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
-Formulate hypotheses, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.

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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A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees. Read more

A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees.

Research focus

Areas of study include biometeorology, forest nutrition and nutrient cycling, mycorrhizal ecology, soil biology, soil quality and fertility, soil-plant interactions, ecosystem services, land an water systems.

Career options

Graduates of the soil science degree program often obtain positions with government or the private sector. Some graduates decide to continue in the area of research and academia with various universities and colleges. Examples of where some graduates are employed:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • BC Ministry of Forests
  • Canadian Forest Service
  • Consultant
  • Associate Professor, University of Guelph
  • Associate Professor, Yale University
  • Associate Professor, University of Northern BC
  • Environment Canada
  • Assistant Professor, University of Bengukulu, Indonesia
  • Assistant Professor, University of Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa


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An internationally significant career. Use your knowledge of soils to open doors to international careers in sustainable food. Find out more about the . Read more

An internationally significant career

Use your knowledge of soils to open doors to international careers in sustainable food.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

This qualification will give you the in-depth knowledge of soils that will open up meaningful, relevant careers that address sustainable food production globally.

As an aspiring soil scientist you will deal with the productive capacity of the land and how its management impacts on the environment. At Massey we have a reputation for producing high calibre graduates that go on to work in the international agricultural research scene.

Make our expertise your own

When you study soil science, you will be able to take advantage of Massey’s expertise in land-related disciplines. We have a wide and relevant group of expertise within the university, from agriculture, horticulture and earth science to ecology, environmental management and social sciences.

You will learn from, and research with, highly-skilled internationally-recognised and active researchers in these fields, with a huge depth of knowledge and experience. Whatever focus you’d like to have in your postgraduate study and research, there is likely to be an expert at Massey who can help you dig deeper into your area of interest.

Some examples of areas you could focus your research on include:

  • Sustainable nutrient management
  • Soil resource mapping and interpretation
  • Soil conservation
  • Irrigation, drainage, water fooprinting.
  • Water quantity and quality
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation.
  • Nutrient cycling in crop and pasture systems

Join a world-leading agriculture university

Massey University’s proud record dates back to 1927 when we offered New Zealand’s first degrees in agriculture and horticulture.

Massey is world-ranked and New Zealand’s No 1 university in agriculture according to the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings. We are also ranked in the top 150 universities worldwide for agriculture by the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

As a student, you will benefit from our internationally recognised capability and leadership in this area.

Relevant and topical

We work to ensure that our teaching fits with the changing environment, which means that you will emerge with a relevant qualification valued by potential employers. Massey has strong links with industry, used to help you find relevant and topical research projects.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.



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The Master of Physical Land Resources has two specializations. Soil Science (organized by the Universiteit Gent) and Land Resources Engineering (organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Read more
The Master of Physical Land Resources has two specializations: Soil Science (organized by the Universiteit Gent) and Land Resources Engineering (organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). During your training you acquire a profound knowledge of pedology, soil physics and chemistry, soil mineralogy, soil prospection and classification, statistics and computer science, climatology and meteorology. Depending on the chosen modules you can specialize in the fields of: land evaluation, soil fertility, soil-water management, etc.

This master offers

 Knowledge and skills which enable you to start and build a successfull career as scientist specialised in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering in a professional way.
 The ability to formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test them, report results and findings to both your peers and to a general public.
 You to learn to think analytically, synthetically, creatively and in a problem solving way
 The ability to work both autonomously and in a team.
 The ability to apply knowledge as required for the overall development policy of your country
 The skills to function in fundamental as well as in applied research at universities, research institutions and (other) government or private institutions and companies.

International Course Programme

This programme is one of the International Course Programmes supported by the Flemish Interuniversity Council - University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS). A limited number of scholarships is available for students coming from specific developing countries.

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course.

The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a dissertation. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources.
The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are organised at the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel". Students in Land Resources Engineering have to reside in Brussels during the second year.

The academic year starts the last week of September. Students are expected to arrive in Gent ten days before the start of the programme. There are two examination periods, in January and in June respectively. For students who fail, there is a re-examination session in August-September.

Curriculum

For the specialization Land Resources Engineering the curriculum is available on http://www.vub.ac.be/en/study/physical-land-resources/programme

For the specialization Soil Science the curriculum is available on http://www.plr.ugent.be/main.htm#course

Student profile

You want to know what (a) soil is?
You want to know which factors and properties determine the soil suitability to be used for both agricultural and non-agricultural purposes and how this is established?
You want to know how the soil can be improved to suit specific applications?
You want to know how to address problems of degradation and desertification?
You want to know how to manage the land and how to protect it?
You want to know what the impact of the soil factor is in the dynamics of natural ecosystems and how this knowledge can be applied in the area of nature conservation?
You want to know what the soil teaches us about current environmental issues?
You want to know how soil and water management can be improved in the frame of sustainable agriculture?
You want to know how we can manage our scarce water supplies?

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A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Read more
A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

The main subject in Land Resources Engineering offers training in non-agricultural use and application of soil, and includes geotechnical aspects (use of soil as a building material or for foundations, slope stability and stability of excavations), the role of soil- and groundwater for water management and supply, soil management in relation to environment and land use (erosion, sediment transport, coastal development and protection).

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course. The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources. The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".

The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

Teaching methods
A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences. Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used. Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.

Learning outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources is organized at both UGent and VUB and aims to contribute to an increased knowledge in Physical Land Resources both in terms of quantity (more experts with a broad knowledge) and of quality (knowledge and its use at an advanced scientific level). The incoming students have diverse backgrounds in geology-related sciences, civil engineering or agronomy and the large majority of students originate from developing countries.
-Possesses a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understandinga. needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering).
-Possesses the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
-Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors.
-Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
-Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty.
-Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data.
-Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
-Formulate hypotheses, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.

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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Goal of the pro­gramme. Read more

Goal of the pro­gramme

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.

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

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.

For further information about study contents, visit the programme home page.



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How will we feed nine billion people by 2050? It’s a challenge with complex solutions. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that £1.2bn is lost annually from the value of our soils due to mismanagement. Read more

How will we feed nine billion people by 2050? It’s a challenge with complex solutions. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that £1.2bn is lost annually from the value of our soils due to mismanagement.

Investment and research into agri-tech is growing and here at Sheffield, our MSc Sustainable Agricultural Technologies course draws on our world-leading expertise in the field, training the next generation of skilled professionals to drive positive changes in agricultural practice and policy.

This MSc programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge needed to understand the challenges of sustainable agriculture, and the skills to pursue an exciting career in the agri-tech sector.

You'll learn from the experts behind our multi-million pound centre of excellence, Plant, Production and Protection (P3) which encompasses the breadth of plant and soil science expertise within the University of Sheffield. Guest environmental and sustainability speakers will contribute to your learning through regular seminars, and you'll get the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice through external placements with our industrial, government and NGO partners.

Course Structure

This 12-month course is designed to give you a breadth of understanding of the agri-food system as a whole. You’ll learn about the major issues in sustainable agriculture and receive training in how to apply cutting-edge techniques used in crop and soil science.

The biggest part of the course is the individual research project. Here you’ll spend three months over the summer in our P3 centre for translational plant and soil biology, working with our world-leading researchers. The centre is developing tools to increase the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems and your project will contribute to the positive impact that these tools have on global food security.

This course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to become a future leader in the agricultural sector.

You’ll study the following core modules:

  • Crop Science, Biotechnology and Breeding (30 credits) - learn about the factors that limit crop production, and the breeding and genetic manipulations that can be used to overcome these limits.
  • Agricultural Ecology in a Changing World (15 credits) - learn about agriculture as an ecological system in the context of global change.
  • Soil Science (15 credits) - gain an understanding of the interdependence of soils and the ecosystems that are founded upon them.
  • Issues in Global Food Security (15 credits) - engage in a critical analysis of current major issues in food security.
  • Advanced Analytical Techniques in Agricultural Research (15 credits) - gain practical skills in modern techniques (genetics, molecular biochemistry, metabolomics, proteomics) fundamental to agricultural research.
  • Research Project (60 credits) - work with your supervisor to plan, conduct, and write up a substantial piece of original research.
  • Scientific Skills and Project Management (30 credits) - gain the skills necessary to become a skillful modern researcher.

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and discussion groups as well as practical and field classes. Assessment includes essays, practical work, a research project report and presentation.

Career opportunities

Our MSc in Sustainable Agricultural Technologies will equip you with the skills you require for a career in sustainable agriculture. You’ll gain practical and analytical skills that will equip you for careers in academic or industrial research throughout the agricultural and food security sector.

The transferrable research and project management skills that you’ll develop on this course are valued by a wide range of employers. The University’s Careers Service will show you how to demonstrate this on CVs and in job applications and once you graduate, the support doesn’t stop. You’ll continue to have access to the Careers Service for three years to help you find your perfect job.

How to apply- 2019 entry

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

Please note that we are longer accepting applications for 2018 entry.

Scholarships

You can find out about scholarships available to UK, EU and international students on the University of Sheffield’s web pages.

Open Days

We run postgraduate open days and events throughout the year. Visit our website to book your place.



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This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection. Read more

This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.

Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.

You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Programme structure

This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Soils Science Concepts and Application
  • Professional Research Skills in Practice
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Analysing the Environment
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Spatial Modelling
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems

Courses are subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

Field trip

An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.

There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • gain a knowledge and understanding of the relationship between soils and sustainable land management
  • gain an understanding of soil sampling and analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • be able to assess soil management issues and develop improved management plans
  • understand the function of soils in relation to sustainable land use and societal needs

Career opportunities

A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.

Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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MPhil supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological (organic) agriculture, and agricultural water management. Read more
MPhil supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological (organic) agriculture, and agricultural water management.

Crop science

Genes and physiological traits, such as:
-Resistance to crop pests and diseases
-Molecular-assisted selection and breeding methods
-Plant environment interactions and their relationships to stress biology
-Physiological basis of crop yield and quality
-Biotransformation of synthetic compounds and natural products in plants
-Herbicide selectivity in cereals and competing weeds

Soil science

-Soil ecology and the contribution of soil biodiversity to soil quality
-Soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics
-Interpretation of soil and landscape processes to improve understanding of recent and historical environmental change
-Land degradation processes and their control

Ecological (organic) agriculture

-Functional biodiversity for control of pest, disease and weed pressure
-Long term factorial systems comparison experiments for in depth study of different aspects of conventional and organic farming systems

Agricultural water management

-Irrigated agriculture
-Interactions between land-use and hydrological response in a semi-arid environment
-Soil hydrological processes affecting management of salinity in irrigated land

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.

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International Student Fees 2017/2018. Read more

International Student Fees 2017/2018

If you want to protect species against decline and extinction by working in either research, consultancy or conservation professions this programme gives you advanced skills in Ecology and linked subject areas such as Environmental Science, GIS, EIA and Catchment Management Planning. You attend a field research trip at Bettyhill on the North coast of Sutherland followed by training in plant ecology, animal population GIS design and analysis. You learn applied Ecology and conservation in an interdisciplinary context. Many environmental consultancies and government bodies require Ecologists as part of their environmental teams, and there are further charities and activist organisations which require Ecologists as part of their teams. The degree provides many useful and overlapping skills within environmental science such as EIA Environmental Impact Assessments. These are reports and studies used to determine issues and challenges to the natural environmental from economic development of all types.

You learn relevant skills environmental policy, legislation, risk assessment models, environmental analytical instrumentation and implementing models. Employment options may be within consultancies, regulators and NGOs. Regulation of economic impact on the natural world has never been so highlighted across the worlds media as it is now in terms of how to protect species and highlight decline.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Plant Ecology
  • Core Skills in Environmental Science
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Applications of GIS

Semester 2

  • Ecology, Conservation and Society
  • Catchment Management
  • Environmental Analysis
  • Ecological and Environmental Modelling
  • Land Use and the Change Environment on Deesside

Semester 3

  • Project in Environmental and Ecological Sciences

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Environmental and Soil Science is rated within the top 10 in the UK at Aberdeen and the soil ecology group has been ranked No.1 for overall research excellence (REF 2014)
  • You are taught be established and renowned researchers with 50 years experience of teaching Ecology. Many graduates can be found in leadership professions in Ecology around the world.
  • You are invited to seminars, conferences and talks held at Aberdeen across the Environmental and Soil Science  disciplines and centres.

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • 12 Months Full Time or 24 Months Part Time
  • September start

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about international fees:

  • International
  • EU and Scotland
  • Other UK

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page and the latest postgraduate opportunities

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs



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Your programme of study. Ecology is an important discipline to inform many different environmental management issues which often involve wider impacts being assessed for planning and other purposes. Read more

Your programme of study

Ecology is an important discipline to inform many different environmental management issues which often involve wider impacts being assessed for planning and other purposes. There is an increasing desire to utilise sites which are environmentally sensitive and this puts pressure on ecology and habitat survival. There are many other types of environmental impacts which are often hidden but also affect Ecology such as the many different pollutants which are often highlighted monthly. Species decline is becoming a well known issue globally and the ability to maintain and continue species and grow is important in a declining environment.

The programme comes from a very strong department which has been ranked consistently at number 1 in soil science and soil ecology in the UK (REF 2014). The Master's in Ecology has very solid foundations as it has been taught to generations for over 50 years and with this comes considerable knowledge and experience. With this programme you get a chance to influence how we utilise our environment and manage it to the best ability to preserve our ecology.

Our MSc programme provides flexibility to enable you to gain knowledge and skills to meet your career aspirations, whether in research or as a practicing ecologist. The programme runs through a full year, starting with a field course and culminating in a major research project. You will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience of everything from field survey to chairing discussions, from statistics and modelling to report writing and from identifying important ecological questions to researching them and writing a scientific paper. Previous graduates have gone on to the top of their chosen profession in research, consultancy, conservation, policy, education and advocacy.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

  • Experimental Design and Analysis
  • Introduction to GIS
  • Plant Ecology
  • Population and Community Ecology

Optional Courses

  • Statistics for Complex Study Designs
  • Introduction to Ecological Field Research in Northern Scotland
  • Molecular Ecological Techniques
  • Soils for Food Security
  • Aquaculture
  • Introduction to Bayesian Inference

Semester 2

Compulsory

  • Research Project Planning

Optional

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Spatial Information Analysis
  • Marine Spatial Management and Top Predators
  • Readings in Ecology, Conservation and Environment
  • Ecology, Conservation and Society
  • Catchment Management
  • Environmental Management Plan
  • Applied Forest Ecology
  • Advanced Modelling for Ecology and Conservation

Semester 3

  • Project in Ecology

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Ecology has been taught at Aberdeen for over 50 years and Plant Ecology and Soil Science is No 1 in the UK (REF 2014)
  • You will be taught be known ecologists who are active in research, management and nature conservation
  • Aberdeen is ideally situated to take full advantage of coastal, inland, rural and wild landscapes and environments

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Full Time and Part Time
  • 12 Months or 24 Months
  • September

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about international fees:

  • International
  • EU and Scotland
  • Other UK

Find out more about fees on the programme page

*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page and the latest postgraduate opportunities

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

Your Accommodation

Campus Facilities

Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs



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Sustainable agriculture. The M.S. degree in Sustainable Agriculture aims to provide advanced knowledge in the field of agricultural systems as well as skills to develop and manage sustainable production systems. Read more

Sustainable agriculture

The M.S. degree in Sustainable Agriculture aims to provide advanced knowledge in the field of agricultural systems as well as skills to develop and manage sustainable production systems.

Programme Summary

The context of the topics is international, having as its main area of investigation warm-temperate environments at a global level. The graduate in Sustainable agriculture must work to achieve food security objectives associated with improving the quality and wholesomeness of food products. The graduate must know the issues related to biodiversity, global change and ecosystem services, which are analyzed according to a systemic and adaptive approach, considering also the traceability of processes.

To address the global challenges, students are equipped with a wide learning platform, and are able to make comparisons between different production systems at the international level in terms of environmental, socio-economics, and regulatory environments.

Dual degree with USA

With the aim of strengthening this global approach to sustainability and food security, the degree program has been included in an internationalization project in collaboration with the University of Georgia, USA, which enables students to achieve a dual degree in "Sustainable Agriculture" (Italy) and "Crop and Soil Science" (USA).

Who is the MSc candidate?

The course is intended for highly-motivated national and international students and is conceived for Bachelor graduates with a main interest in agricultural and environmental sciences.

What career opportunities does the MSc provide?

The graduate in Sustainable Agriculture is able to perform a wide range of activities in a professional and efficient manner:

1) Operate internationally by conducting activities of planning, management, monitoring, coordination and training in agricultural production processes to meet the needs of the international market;

2) Be involved in activities of experimentation and research in both the public and private sectors (eg. Biotechnology companies);

3) Fill a position or interact with international organizations such as FAO, EU and World Bank;

4) Be involved in the transfer of technologies (innovation broker);

5) Manage technical and international business related to agricultural products and processing, and related to agricultural mechanization;

6) Play an active role in private and public structures aimed at land management and the management of water resources, including historical, cultural and landscape values of agricultural land;

7) Collaborate in the establishment and operation of projects in basic and applied research in the field of agricultural production in the international arena.

How is the programme organised?

The training course in Sustainable Agriculture, lasting two years, includes two main areas of study:

1) Production: training in the areas of agronomy, crop and animal productions, soil science, plant breeding, and integrated management of pests and diseases, all aimed at the sustainability of the production process and its social implications;

2) Technology: training in the areas of management and protection of air-soil-water, use of biomass of agricultural plants and animals, land management, and management of the production process (at different geographic scales) considering both innovative technologies and socio-economic aspects.

Learning is based on active studies covering activities in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field as well as the possibility of using the contribution of Italian and foreign teachers, and industry experts that can provide specific case studies. The program offers intensive individual tutoring of students, as well as the opportunity to intern for six months, in companies in the public and private sectors, possibly abroad, for the study of cases of excellence in preparation of the thesis

Visit the MSc “Sustainable agriculture” page on the Università di Padova web-site http://www.unipd.it/en/educational-offer/second-cycle-degrees/school-of-agricultural-sciences-and-veterinary-medicine?ordinamento=2016&key=AV2293 for more details.

Scholarships and Fee Waivers

The University of Padova, the Veneto Region and other organisations offer various scholarship schemes to support students. Below is a list of the funding opportunities that are most often used by international students in Padova.

You can find more information below and on our website here: http://www.unipd.it/en/studying-padova/funding-and-fees/scholarships

You can find more information on fee waivers here: http://www.unipd.it/en/fee-waivers



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Plant Science graduate program offers advanced study in applied plant biology, with a commitment to development of sustainable managed agroecosystems. Read more

Plant Science graduate program offers advanced study in applied plant biology, with a commitment to development of sustainable managed agroecosystems. Our graduate program offers opportunities for advanced studies in basic and applied research, leading to M.Sc. or Ph.D. degrees, in plant production, plant protection, plant biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry, and plant-environment interaction.

Graduate students have the option to develop research programs that address problems through an interdisciplinary approach involving collaboration with faculty members in other graduate programs (e.g. Soil Science, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, and Forest Science) on campus.

What makes the program unique?

Our graduate program offers students the opportunity to develop their graduate studies uniquely tailored to their professional goals and research interests in consultation with their research supervisor. The diversity of plant agriculture in British Columbia provides excellent opportunities for students to select a cropping system most suitable for their thesis research. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to develop their research programs through an interdisciplinary approach involving other departments on campus.

Excellent facilities for thesis research are available on the UBC campus in the MacMillan Building, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Totem Field Laboratory, UBC Wine Research Centre, the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the Horticulture Glasshouse. Some Plant Science graduate students also work with our Adjunct Professors, spread throughout the province of British Columbia.

Career options

Plant Science graduates (M.Sc., Ph.D.) generally opt for a teaching and/or research career. Some also work for government agencies (Agri-Food Canada, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture), agri-industry, or do consulting work in plant science.



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This taught one-year course will give students a thorough understanding of all aspects of wetland science and ecology. Students will also gain experience and knowledge on the complex conservation, restoration and management issues associated with wetlands. Read more
This taught one-year course will give students a thorough understanding of all aspects of wetland science and ecology. Students will also gain experience and knowledge on the complex conservation, restoration and management issues associated with wetlands. Field and laboratory work will cover the latest techniques in environmental analysis needed for contemporary wetland monitoring and experimentation.

Taught wetland and conservation modules

Wetland ecology
Classification of wetland types
Properties and functions of wetlands
Wetland zoology and botanical adaptations
Wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry
Carbon sequestration in wetlands
Use of wetlands for carbon offsetting
Wetland conservation and restoration techniques
Use and design of constructed wetlands
Wetland plant identification

Instrumental and environmental analysis

Students will learn a variety of instrumental analysis techniques suitable for ecologists interested in environmental analysis and those studying a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats – not just wetlands. The theory, practical use and basic maintenance of the instruments will be covered, along with sample collection and analysis.

The lab and field based techniques covered include:

pH, conductivity and Redox potential
Greenhouse gas (GHG) collection and analysis using a gas chromatograph (GC) and infra-red gas analysis (IRGA)
Cation and anion concentration analysis using ion chromatography (IC)
Stable isotope analysis with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS)

Wetland-based research project

The research project comprises a third of the MSc and is supervised by research active staff with excellent publication record and experience in their field.
Career Options

Students choosing this MSc will enjoy a modular course that will teach both the practical and theoretical aspects of wetland science and conservation. Successful students will therefore develop the skills and experience required to enable progression onto PhD studies in a wide-range of biological, biogeochemical, environmental and conservation based subjects.

The course will also allow students to seek employment in areas related to wetlands, soil science, water treatment and quality, conservation and environmental consultancy.

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