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Masters Degrees in Agricultural Geography

Masters degrees in Agricultural Geography offer advanced study of the spatial relationship between agriculture and humans, including agricultural influences on populations and the environment.

Related subjects and specialisms in this field include Agroforestry, Rural Sustainability, Land Management, and Sustainable Agriculture. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Geography or Agricultural Studies.

Why study a Masters in Agricultural Geography?

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This course gives you an understanding of how agriculture interacts with the environment. There is an emphasis on sustainability and the ecological consequences of unsound management. Read more
This course gives you an understanding of how agriculture interacts with the environment. There is an emphasis on sustainability and the ecological consequences of unsound management. It gives you the skills for a career related to sustainability in farming systems, environmental management or rural development.

The course is comprised of compulsory and optional modules, giving you the opportunity to tailor your studies to your personal interests.

Through the compulsory modules you will develop knowledge and skills in core concepts such as:
-Sustainable development and environmental change
-Quantitative techniques, experimental design and data analysis
-Assessment of land use capability, habitat potential, risks of water pollution, and soil quality and ecosystem services
-Analysis, interpretation and presentation of field data with regard to environment and habitat assessment
-Science, policy and action underlying climate change and land use

As part of your studies you undertake a major project, similar to one you might experience in the workplace. You will be supported in designing and delivering a project based on a laboratory or field-based investigation. After choosing your topic you will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis. This research project and thesis may be based overseas.

Delivery

This course is taught in a block format with one six week block and then smaller two week teaching blocks.

You are taught through lectures, seminars, practical and field classes, tutorials, case studies and small group discussions. You are expected to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. You are assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.

You can also study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme which is a framework that enables us to award postgraduate level qualifications using credit-bearing stand-alone modules as 'building blocks' towards a qualification. This means that the credits from modules undertaken within a five-year period can be 'banked' towards the award of a qualification.

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This Masters Programme is extremely timely as it comes when there is increasing attention being placed upon the role and function of rural economies and societies. Read more
This Masters Programme is extremely timely as it comes when there is increasing attention being placed upon the role and function of rural economies and societies. The development agenda for rural areas within a rapidly-changing context for agriculture and the broader countryside sees pressures to achieve economic competitiveness and efficiency balanced with concerns relating to food security, environmental protection and climate change, and where questions of equality, social inclusion, quality of life and the public good are central. Reflecting particularly the globalizing nature of agriculture and rural development processes, the MA in Rural Sustainability addresses the nature of rural and agricultural change not only across a range of dimensions (economic, social, political, cultural), but also scales (local, national, global), locations (Europe and beyond), and interfaces (e.g. human and non-human). As such, it situates itself within the context of leading contemporary and emerging thinking and research on the rural, drawing on concepts and theories, as well as methodologies and practices that critically engage with these varied dimensions of the rural.

€3000 Award for Best Student Performance in MA in Rural Sustainability

The Dr. Patrick Commins Rural Research Award, valued at €3,000 per annum, for the best overall MA student performance was announced at the official launch of the MA in Rural Sustainability in December 2012. Dr. Maura Farrell, Director of the MA, spoke of her delight at the announcement of this prestigious award, and praised Teagasc for their generous sponsorship and their support of the programme. Dr Farrell described the award ’as a considerable incentive for current and future students interested in rural studies and a real vote of confidence in the quality and importance of the Masters programme’. In particular Dr Farrell felt that in these economically stringent times, the award was a statement about the importance of rural issues in broader global economic recovery and the need to develop well-informed and educated leaders who understand the complexities of rural economy and society. The award is a tribute to Dr. Commins who was a leading academic and researcher in rural issues and had a long and distinguished career with their organisation. His reputation as an expert on rural affairs extended well beyond Ireland, and his knowledge and experience was regarded as key to informing EU and wider international academic and policy debates.

Launch of the Master of Arts in Rural Sustainability

NUI Galway has officially launched a new Masters Programme in Rural Sustainability. The full-time, one year postgraduate programme is being co-ordinated by the Discipline of Geography within the School of Geography and Archaeology, and it already has a full complement of students in place for the first year of its operation. The Programme has been devised in response to increasing attention nationally and internationally on the role and function of rural economies and societies. NUI Galway holds a distinguished tradition of rural research and teaching. As a European University that is itself situated in a rural and peripheral location, it seeks to continue its leadership role in rural affairs through providing a postgraduate career path in rural studies. The Programme was officially launched by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc. This association with Teagasc, particularly with its own strong leadership in rural research, is an important component of the programme as it unites expertise in rural theory, research and practice, ultimately benefiting the student experience and future employability.

Why Choose this Programme?

If you are interested in rural sustainability, rural innovation, multifunctionality and agriculture, and you wish to contribute in a meaningful way to rural affairs and potentially influence the contribution rural areas can make in revitalizing the economy at national and European level, this MA Programme can support such an ambition. This MA will enable students to develop theoretical competencies and independent research capacities, with the ability to transfer and apply these to real world contexts and settings.

The programme is delivered by a team of dedicated and highly respected academics and researchers from the School of Geography & Archaeology and by motivated contributors from other associated Schools, from other Universities and from Research Institutions; by individuals drawn from policy and practice-based domains.

This MA situates itself within contemporary and forward-looking perspectives on the rural; however, it also builds on a long-established track record of rural studies and rural research conducted at NUIG, with strong networks of collaboration at national, European and wider international levels across academic and research institutions, as well as the Institutions of the European Union.

In particular, this MA expands on a highly successful EU-funded Framework 7 research project (DERREG), exploring contemporary and future challenges facing rural areas in an era of globalization. It thus represents an important transfer of knowledge from research that has been built on relevant international case-study examples from 6 EU member states and which has informed critical theoretical discussions and policy debates on the rural at EU level. This development to a taught programme offers students an opportunity to benefit from such knowledge and expertise drawn from widely differing rural contexts.

Career Opportunities?

As a graduate of this programme, you will possess a depth of rural-specific knowledge combined with a host of transferrable skills. This combination will equip you to work in a selection of contexts that require the ability to think at conceptual levels about rural-related issues and transfer this knowledge into practical applications and solutions in policy, management and consultancy domains. Among the potential employment settings are national and international organizations and agencies with a rural development remit, groups and consultancies related to a range of government programmes, government departments and other public sector organizations concerned with the rural sector.

The MA is Rural Sustainability is also designed to enhance students’ prospects for undertaking further research at PhD level, with our students being well placed to pursue PhD studies in universities nationally and internationally.

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In this one-year MSc programme, you have the opportunity to learn about how trees, people and agriculture can be combined in sustainably managed farms, forests and landscapes. Read more
In this one-year MSc programme, you have the opportunity to learn about how trees, people and agriculture can be combined in sustainably managed farms, forests and landscapes. There is a long tradition of agroforestry practice in many parts of the world, but recently it has become a major focus in international development and is now at the forefront of innovation in natural resource management. Bangor is a world leader in agroforestry with a fantastic reputation for its research activities and our graduates are either already employed when they start the course and/or have a strong track record in finding employment within the sector. Students and academic staff are active collaborators with international organisations such as the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, Costa Rica (CATIE) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). You can expect to develop the skills required for a research and professional career from the comprehensive programme we offer.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide an integrated education in natural resource management, combining ecological and social dimensions of agricultural and forest sciences, focussed on application to real world systems where trees interact with agriculture. The programme is designed to develop both subject-specific knowledge and cognitive and key skills. The course has a world focus and the University has strong links with agroforestry organisations which means that many of our students have undertaken fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as in Wales/UK. Besides fantastic overseas opportunities, we also have a university farm (Henfaes Research Centre) located a short distance outside of Bangor where many students carry out experiments for their final projects.

This course is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and gives partial fulfilment of Professional Membership Entry.

We work in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre.


Course Structure
The programme has two parts. Part Part 1: runs from September to May and consists of five taught modules and a study tour. The taught part of the course is based on lectures, seminars, practical sessions and directed study, allowing an opportunity to examine a broad range of topics in detail and develop personal skills and expertise. A range of different assessment methods are used including reports, presentations, practical write-ups and online and written exams. Part 1 must be completed successfully before proceeding to Part 2, the dissertation phase.

Part 2: June to September is set aside for production of a dissertation on a topic selected by the student in consultation with their academic supervisor. Dissertations can be in almost any aspect of agroforestry that interests you; they can have a temperate or tropical focus, and can include field work either locally in Wales, elsewhere in the UK, or overseas.

Part 1 Subjects:

Agroforestry Systems and Practice: This module explores agroforestry systems and practices worldwide and introduces the concepts behind them. Through a series of case studies, the module explores ecological and biophysical interactions in agroforestry systems, and considers the range of social, economic and ecosystem benefits they deliver, including ways in which we are trying to reduce the environmental impact of food production and overcome constraints to food security.

Silviculture: The purpose of the module is to develop students’ understanding of the silviculture of single trees and trees in complex systems. This module develops an understanding of the principles and practice of silviculture, the place of silviculture in the sustainable cultivation of trees, and the role it plays in delivering ecosystem services from trees, woodlands and forests. We explore the unique characteristics of forest soils and of soil physical, chemical and biological properties, how these influence site productivity and how these are influenced by land management.

Natural Resource Management: The purpose of this module is to give students a theoretical understanding of the systems approach to managing natural resources to provide various ecosystem services, as well as a practical grounding in the ways in which natural resource managers can draw on a variety of knowledge sources to inform themselves and others of the impacts of land management interventions.

Research Planning and Communication: This module seeks to develop students’ understanding of the role of science and the scientific process in formulating and addressing context relevant questions, and communicating scientific output to different audiences. During the course of the module, students will devise, conduct and write up a policy-relevant scientific study.

Natural Resource Development: The purpose of this module is to introduce the international development context to students and to give a practical grounding in project planning. During the module, students will develop a full project proposal in line with funding guidelines for an agroforestry based natural resource development intervention.

Study Tour: We round off the taught part of the course with a study tour which gives students the opportunity to see the practical application of natural resource management principles that are discussed in earlier parts of the programme. During visits to areas which are managed for a range of objectives, you will meet and discuss with different stakeholders and collect information relevant to a specific research topic.

Part 2:

Dissertation: Execution and written presentation of a suitable scientific project which is devised by the student and an individual academic supervisor and validated by the Programme Director. A suitable project entails a worthwhile scientific question, of direct relevance to the degree programme being undertaken, established within the context of current knowledge and concepts that allows the formulation and testing of one or more hypotheses. This normally involves up to 5 months full-time work, typically including: 2-3 months for data collection from the field, laboratory or computer; 1-2 months for data analysis; and 1-2 months for writing-up.

Previous MSc dissertation projects and training courses held in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre can be viewed here.

Professional Accreditation

This degree is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) and qualifies students for associate membership.

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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
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/degree-programmes/304/soil-science/

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 Heinx

Where you study

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

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about fees:
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/tuition-fees-and-living-costs-287.php

*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/finance-funding-1599.php
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/funding/

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:
• Your Accommodation
• Campus Facilities
• Aberdeen City
• Student Support
• Clubs and Societies

Find out more about living in Aberdeen:
https://abdn.ac.uk/study/student-life

Living costs
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/finance.php

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Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Read more
Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Our MSc is suitable if you have an interest in sustainable agriculture and food security and want to develop a broad knowledge of the subject.

Sustainable agriculture and food security focuses on the availability of food now and in the future: a major concern of scientific and commercial communities world-wide.

The prominence of this subject is driven by an increasing global population, pressure on non-renewable or scarce resources and a need to increase food production whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

The course covers all aspects of food security as outlined by Global Food Security, a multi-agency programme involving the main UK public sector funders of research and training related to food.

Delivery

On the MSc approximately half of your credits will be gained through taught modules, which offer an opportunity to learn about a wide range of problems in food security. This is ideal if you have an interest in the subject and do not want to specialise in one topic, or if you want to gain a wide range of knowledge in this area for your career. If you know which area you want to specialise in and are confident that you want to pursue a career in research, then you may find our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security MRes more suitable.

The course is comprised of compulsory and optional modules. The compulsory modules provide a detailed overview of the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Optional modules allow specialisation in one or more of the following five topic areas:
-Socio-economics, marketing and policy development
-Environmental and water management
-Soil and crop management
-Animal production, health and welfare management
-Food quality, safety and nutrition

This course is taught in a block format:
-A five-week teaching block
-Then two-week teaching blocks

You will be taught through lectures, seminars, practical and field classes, tutorials, case studies and small group discussions. We expect you to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.

You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a project based on a laboratory or field-based investigation. After choosing your topic you will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner.

We offer flexible learning for those already working in industry, or you can study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme which is a framework that enables us to award postgraduate level qualifications using credit-bearing stand-alone modules as 'building blocks' towards a qualification. This means that the credits from modules undertaken within a five-year period can be 'banked' towards the award of a qualification.

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Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Read more
Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Our MRes is suitable if you have a strong interest in a specific related topic and are confident that you want to pursue a career in research.

Sustainable agriculture and food security focuses on the availability of food now and in the future: a major concern of scientific and commercial communities world-wide.

The prominence of this subject is driven by an increasing global population, pressure on non-renewable or scarce resources and a need to increase food production whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

The course covers all aspects of food security as outlined by Global Food Security, a multi-agency programme involving the main UK public sector funders of research and training related to food.

Delivery

On the MRes the majority of your credits will be gained from the dissertation module, which is self-directed research. Your studies are supported by a smaller number of taught modules compared to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security MSc. This course is most suitable if you have a strong interest in a particular topic and are confident that you want to pursue a career in research. If you want to gain a broad knowledge of sustainable agriculture and food security or are not sure if you want to specialise in a specific topic, then you may find our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security MSc more suitable.

The course is comprised of compulsory and optional modules. The compulsory modules provide a detailed overview of the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Optional modules allow specialisation in one or more of the following five topic areas:
-Socio-economics, marketing and policy development
-Environmental and water management
-Soil and crop management
-Animal production, health and welfare management
-Food quality, safety and nutrition

This course is taught in a block format:
-One five-week block
-Then two-week teaching blocks

You will be taught through lectures, seminars, practical and field classes, tutorials, case studies and small group discussions. We expect you to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.

You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a project based on a laboratory or field-based investigation. After choosing your topic you will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner.

We offer flexible learning for those already working in industry, or you can also study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme which is a framework that enables us to award postgraduate level qualifications using credit-bearing stand-alone modules as 'building blocks' towards a qualification. This means that the credits from modules undertaken within a five-year period can be 'banked' towards the award of a qualification.

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The increasing complexity of our society demands for specialists who can collect, manage, analyse and present spatial data using state-of-the-art methods and tools. Read more

MSc Geo-Information Science

The increasing complexity of our society demands for specialists who can collect, manage, analyse and present spatial data using state-of-the-art methods and tools. At Wageningen University we offer a unique, top-quality programme that blends geo-information science methods, technologies and applications within environmental and life sciences for a changing world. Our Geo-information Science graduates usually have a job waiting for them on graduation.

[[Programme summary]
Geo-information has become increasingly important to society as the number of environmental issues continue to rise: Geo-information provides the data we need to manage both the natural and social environment. It is indispensable for a broad range of domains like spatial planning, water management, nature conservation, environment management, agriculture, energy supply, disaster management and traffic and safety. The MSc GIS programme at Wageningen University offers you a blend of geo-information science methods, technologies and applications. The combined use of earth observation techniques (Remote Sensing) and Geographic Information Systems for problem-solving within the environmental and social disciplines is a unique feature of the Wageningen Approach. During your study, you take courses on the acquisition, storage, analysis and visualisation of spatial data. You learn to recognise, describe and analyse problems in relevant environmental application fields; this includes training in the development of prototypes. You also learn about the technical and organisational role of geo-information in institutes and companies: how to communicate well, keep abreast of GI scientific and technical developments, and how to apply these developments in specific fields. Depending on your background, research topics and previous education, you can also choose relevant courses in application domains or ICT.

Specialisations

The Geo-Information Science programme is an intensive programme offering students opportunities to specialise by taking advanced courses in GIS and/or Remote Sensing, and by selecting courses in a range of application fields or geo-information technology. Furthermore, you develop your GIS profile by completing a Master’s research thesis in one of the following research fields:
• sensing and measuring
• modelling and visualization
• integrated land monitoring
• human-space interactions
• empowering and engaging communities
Your choice of internship location is another factor in developing your profile and specialisation.

Your future career

Graduates in Geo-Information Science have excellent career prospects; most have job offers before they graduate. Many of our graduates work in research, either in PhD programmes or for research institutes all over the world; Wageningen UR, including Alterra, has the largest group of GI-scientists in the Netherlands. Many others are employed as technical specialists, consultants or project leaders for global companies like Royal Haskoning, Arcadis and Grontmij. And lastly, others work for local or central government agencies and NGOs, including environmental assessment programmes. Would you like to generate and use geo-information to solve global problems like flooding, planning, or the migration of wild animals? Or do you want to provide geo-information to the public or government? Then join the two-year Geo-information Science Master programme at Wageningen University. You have a Bachelor degree in the field of environmental sciences, geography and planning, landscape architecture, food and agricultural sciences, (geo)- information sciences or even social sciences.

Alumnus Frank Salet.
During his career, Frank worked within fields where the use of GIS is unique, challenging or still developing. After a few GIS positions at mostly commercial companies, he is now working at an NGO in Nigeria on the eradication of polio. For the project he has temporarily moved to Nigeria to set up the GIS work, together with a team of 20 Nigerian GIS specialists. He is now working in a multicultural environment just like during his master in Wageningen. Frank is very positive about the connection between the master and his professional career: “All courses within the master programme have formed the tools that I still use for each job I take on.”

Related programmes:
MSc Geographical Information Management and Applications
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Biosystems Engineering.

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Part 1 (120 credits). runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. Read more
Part 1 (120 credits): runs from September to May and consists of four taught modules, a Field Visit, and a Research Methods module component. They must be completed successfully before proceeding to Part 2.

Part 2 (60 credits): is the dissertation phase and runs from end of May to September. This is a supervised project phase which gives students further opportunity for specialisation in their chosen field. Dissertation topics are related to the interests and needs of the individual and must show evidence of wide reading and understanding as well as critical analysis or appropriate use of advanced techniques. The quality of the dissertation is taken into account in the award of the Masters degree. Bangor University regulations prescribe a maximum word limit of 20,000 words for Masters Dissertations. A length of 12,000 to 15,000 words is suggested for Masters programmes in our School.

Summary of modules taken in Part 1:

All students undertake 6 modules of 20 credits each which are described below.

Conservation Science considers questions such as ‘in a post-wild world what should be the focus of conservation attention?’ ‘What are the relative roles of ecology, economics and social science in conservation?’ ‘What are the advantage and disadvantages of the introduction of market-like mechanisms into conservation policy?’ We look closely at the current and emerging drivers of biodiversity loss world-wide, while carefully analysing the range of responses.

Insect Pollinators and Plants is at the interface between agriculture and conservation, this module introduces students to plant ecology and insect pollinators. Students will gain unique understanding of the ecological interactions between plants and insect pollinators including honey-bees to implement more sensitive conservation management. The module explores the current conservation status of insect pollinators and their corresponding plant groups; how populations are monitored, and how interventions in the broader landscape can contribute to improving their conservation status. Module components relate specifically to ecosystem pollination services, apiculture and habitat restoration and/or maintenance. The module has a strong practical skills focus, which includes beekeeping and contemporary challenges to apiculture; plant and insect sampling and habitat surveying. Consequently, there is a strong emphasis on “learning by doing.

Agriculture and the Environment reviews the impact of agricultural systems and practices on the environment and the scientific principles involved. It includes examples from a range of geographical areas. It is now recognised that many of the farming practices adopted in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, aimed at maximising production and profit, have had adverse effects on the environment. These include water and air pollution, soil degradation, loss of certain habitats and decreased biodiversity. In the UK and Europe this has led to the introduction of regulatory instruments and codes of practice aimed at minimising these problems and the promotion of new approaches to managing farmland. However, as world population continues to rise, there are increased concerns about food security, particularly in stressful environments such as arid zones where farmers have to cope with natural problems of low rainfall and poor soils. Although new technologies including the use of GM crops have potential to resolve some of these issues, concerns have been expressed about the impact of the release of these new genetically-engineered crops into the environment.

Management Planning for Conservation provides students with an understanding of the Conservation Management System approach to management planning. This involves describing a major habitat feature at a high level of definition; the preparation of a conservation objective (with performance indicators) for the habitat; identification and consideration of the implications of all factors and thus the main management activities; preparation of a conceptual model of the planning process for a case study site and creating maps using spatial data within a desktop GIS.

Research Methods Module: this prepares students for the dissertation stage of their MSc course. The module provides students with an introduction to principles of hypothesis generation, sampling, study design, spatial methods, social research methods, quantitative & qualitative analysis and presentation of research findings. Practicals and field visits illustrate examples of these principles. Course assessment is aligned to the research process from the proposal stage, through study write up to presentation of results. The module is in two phases. The taught content phase is until the period following Christmas. This is followed by a project planning phase for dissertation title choice and plan preparation.

Field Visit Module: this is an annual programme of scientific visits related to Conservation and Land Management. The main purpose of the trip will be to appreciate the range of activities different conservation organisations are undertaking, to understand their different management objectives and constraints. Previous field trips have visited farms, forests and reserves run by Scottish Wildlife Trust, National Trust, RSPB, local authorities, community groups and private individuals.

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The new African Studies degrees at UCL draw on world-leading research and expertise from across the university relating to the study of Africa, and offer a unique opportunity to choose one of three distinct pathways. Read more
The new African Studies degrees at UCL draw on world-leading research and expertise from across the university relating to the study of Africa, and offer a unique opportunity to choose one of three distinct pathways. The African Studies with Environment MSc focuses on contemporary environmental issues including water supply, agricultural systems, climate change and settlement growth.

Degree information

The degree pathways share a common core, comprising modules on the continent’s political and economic past and present, together with training in research methods. In addition, the Environment pathway explores aspects of human-environment interaction, through a range of advanced optional modules drawn from the Departments of Anthropology, Archaeology and Geography and The UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a dissertation/report (90 credits).

Core modules
-Africa: Dialogues of Past and Present
-Debating Africa's Future
-Research Methods in African Studies

Optional modules - students choose three from a range of options including the following:
-Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
-Climate Change and Human Response to Holocene Africa
-Climate Modelling
-Ecology of Human Groups
-Environmental GIS
-Holocene Climate Variability
-Impacts of Climate Change on Hydro-Ecological Systems
-Land, Food and Agriculture
-Population and Development
-Post-Disaster Recovery Policies, Practices and Alternatives

Dissertation/report
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars and guided independent research. Assessment is through essays, portfolio, research proposal and examination.

Careers

Graduates will be well placed to take up positions with national and international policy-making bodies, non-governmental development organisations, within national ministries and in the heritage/museums sector.

Employability
Students will develop skills in research and research ethics, thematic debate, environmental data analysis and GIS, archival work, ethnographic field techniques and presentation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL offers a unique teaching and learning environment in which to study the continent of Africa. More than 35 permanent members of UCL academic staff focus their research primarily on Africa and their field activities span the continent.

African Studies marks the first time existing expertise on Africa at UCL has been combined to offer an interdisciplinary degree.

The programme interweaves the study of the pre-colonial past, the colonial era, and the post-colonial present, with an eye to the future. Modules are arranged thematically around ‘debates’, with lectures presenting a long-term view of issues to frame subsequent seminar discussions.

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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. Students are registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies through either the Faculty of Land and Food Systems or Faculty of Forestry, depending upon their research interests.

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.

Program Overview

Soil Science offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in the areas of soil microbial ecology, organic matter, soil physics, irrigation and drainage, biometeorology, soil pollution, soil and water conservation, soil management, and land use, with application to forest, agricultural, urban, and range soils, as well as a professional Master of Land and Water Systems (M.L.W.S.) degree. The Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees include a combination of courses in both basic and applied sciences, with research leading to the completion of a thesis/dissertation. The M.L.W.S. degree is intended for students seeking a post-baccalaureate degree for professional practice in the land and water resources management realm. The program is designed to be completed in one calendar year.

Soil Sciences programs are enriched through collaboration with: colleagues in other graduate programs, such as Forestry, Geography, Plant Science, Institute for Resources and Environment, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, and Landscape Architecture; and agencies such as Environment Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Forests and Range, and other provincial, municipal, and regional government agencies.

Research facilities are housed both within the MacMillan and Forest Sciences Buildings and, on a shared basis, in other buildings on campus. Research facilities within the MacMillan Building include modern analytical laboratories and other equipment for conducting chemical and biometeorological research, while excellent facilities for soil biological research are located in the Forest Sciences Centre.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Soil Science
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Career Prospects

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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The course will provide students with a detailed understanding of the principles and processes of sustainable food production, including its social and environmental contexts. Read more
The course will provide students with a detailed understanding of the principles and processes of sustainable food production, including its social and environmental contexts. It will equip students who already have work experience in the food supply chain to implement the latest research into sustainable systems thinking, and will facilitate cutting edge careers for those who want to enter the food production and supply chain.

The Food Security in the Changing Environment MSc has been created with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Advanced Training Partnership (ATP). Please visit the ATP website. Please also visit the Aberystwyth MSc website offering the MSc in Sustainable and Efficient Food Production. Modules from the Bangor MSc and the Aberystwyth MSc can be interchangeable between the two programmes. Bursaries are available for those employed in the UK agri-food industry.

Students studying the course will:

Examine the environmental, economic and social responsibility of farming in the context of food security and the changing environments.
Study how selected management practices can improve the resource-efficiency and overall sustainability of food production.
Gain a global perspective to question whether and how growing demand for food from limited land resources can be met through sustainable intensification.
Students will have the opportunity to study from 3 to 6 modules per year, depending on their status as part time or full time students. For the Masters degree, students will complete a total of 6 modules of study, detailed below, and a dissertation project.

Students may begin their study at the beginning of any module, either at the end of September, the end of January or the middle of May.

In the event of compulsory modules changing from year to year, existing students may choose from either the compulsory modules extant at the time of registration, or the new ones, and are advised to discuss their options with the Course Director.

Professionals in the agri-food industry, conservation and environment, farmers, and agricultural policy decision makers may be interested in the modules of this degree, as will full-time students wishing to pursue a post graduate degree that culminates in employability in these sectors.

Teaching and learning is supported by study guides with journal articles, online lectures, podcasts, and discussion forums. The wide range of backgrounds and expertise of staff and students make a hugely enriching learning experience.

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The MSc Development and Rural Innovation is the international social sciences programme for students with a technical, life Wageningen Universityscience or relevant management background with an interest in international development and beta/ gamma integration. Read more

MSc Development and Rural Innovation

The MSc Development and Rural Innovation is the international social sciences programme for students with a technical, life Wageningen Universityscience or relevant management background with an interest in international development and beta/ gamma integration. In Development and Rural Innovation, we develop professionals who are able to deal with knowledge processes in dynamic contexts.

Programme summary

This programme aims to develop professionals who understand the role of knowledge in societal change processes and are able to link human and technological dimensions of innovation in dynamic contexts across the globe. It is a social science programme tailored for students with a technical, life science or relevant management background with an interest in international development problems. Innovations in the field of agriculture, food and natural resource management have a dual nature. They consist of new technological practices as well as new socio-organisational arrangements between different societal actors. Dealing with the links between technological developments and societies in which these are introduced and used, requires a fundamental understanding of socio-technical innovation and change processes. In other words, you will be challenged to combine your previously acquired competencies with new social science competencies in order to make innovations work.

Offering a variety of disciplinary and problem-oriented courses, the programme is taught in an interactive style where learning from each other is emphasised. Working in small international groups contributes significantly to this mutual learning process. The programme is highly thesis-oriented. The subject matter and methodology courses serve primarily as preparation for an empirical research project. This entails writing a research proposal, conducting the research and completing a thesis, thereby offering you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired insights in a field situation. International students often apply this knowledge in their home country on a topic relevant to their professional interests and preferences. Others choose a relevant topic in their field of interest in various countries around the world, including the Netherlands.

Thesis tracks

Communication and Innovation
In this track, you study communication among stakeholders and disciplines in the context of societal problem solving and change. Special attention is given to the role of communication, knowledge, interpretation and innovation support strategies in bringing about organisational, policy or technological change in societal domains such as sustainable agriculture, health, environment, multifunctional land use and international development.

Technology and Development
The goal of this track is to understand how science and technology interact with international development problems, such as food security, adaptation to climate change and social justice. The approach involves analysis of how technology both mediates and is constituted through social relations and institutional arrangements between various actors including farmers, scientists and policymakers. Most social problems that we face today involves science and technology, either as a cause or as a cure.

Sociology of Development and Change
This track focuses on the understanding of rural development problems worldwide from sociological and anthropological perspectives. Particular attention is paid to how local people themselves solve problems. Field-based studies are the basis for critical reflection on theories of development and social change. Themes addressed include food security, livelihoods in the context of globalisation, poverty and environmental degradation, property rights, conflict, and policy

Your future career

The programme lays the foundations for a variety of career opportunities, usually oriented towards societal problem solving and innovation. You can become a researcher or a knowledge broker who ensures a good fit between client demands and research formulation. You might take on the role of process facilitator or communication specialist in a non-governmental organisation, the public sector or the private industry. A career as a policymaker or consultant in various (inter)national organisations is another option. Organisations where graduates work are for example: UNDP, Tropenbos International, Women for Water, UTZ Certified, George Washington University, UNICEF, Fairfood International.

Alumnus Ben Corrigan.
After studying physical geography, Ben joined the social science Master Development and Rural Innovation. In his job as Programme Manager for the German Red Cross in Haiti, he works on food security and providing basic services such as water and sanitation to remote communities. “One of my responsibilities is to ensure that technical staff integrate social dimensions into their work and build real partnerships with stakeholders in the field. As a Development and Rural Innovation graduate, I am well prepared for this kind of job and feel confident in it. This programme is a gateway to a great career if you like to work in the development sector or continue in academia.”

Related programmes:
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Applied Communication Science
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc International Land and Water Management
MSc Environmental Sciences.

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The two-year Master International Land and Water Management programme focuses on the scientific analysis of land and water management issues at various scales. Read more

MSc International Land and Water Management

The two-year Master International Land and Water Management programme focuses on the scientific analysis of land and water management issues at various scales. An integration of physical, technical, socio-economic and political dimensions in various approaches is sought in order to critically analyse, understand and tackle land and water management problems.

Programme summary

The MSc International Land and Water Management focuses on the scientific analysis of the physical, environmental, technical and socio-economic aspects of land and water management and their mutual interactions. Students develop comparative insights into the development of land and water management, take a scientific approach to various research paradigms and acquire a problemoriented, interdisciplinary attitude towards land and water management and rural development issues. Graduates will not only be able to study these issues, but also design and propose sustainable solutions to land and water management problems.

Specialisations

Sustainable Land Management
This specialisation deals with the processes, drivers and consequences of land degradation; as well as with interventions and conservation practices for sustainable land management. By providing in-depth knowledge and developing skills in physical and socio-economic aspects, this specialisation prepares students for both research and development jobs. Topics covered range from erosion processes and modelling to impact assessment and strategies, from field scale to watershed and beyond.

Irrigation and Water Management
Students in this specialisation obtain extensive knowledge on water usage in agriculture. Irrigation -from the farm level to the watershed level- is the main focus. Topics include irrigation of agricultural land, design of irrigation systems, water justice, distribution issues, equity and gender discussion, improving the social and technical performance of existing farm irrigation systems and practices, and irrigation in its wider water management context.

Adaptive Water Management
Increasing human induced pressures on water cycles together with growing demands on water resources ask for careful management of water systems. Students in this specialisation acquire the knowledge, skills and capacity to analyse future- oriented issues in water management and to propose and critically assess management strategies and innovations.

Your future career

Graduates find jobs in a wide range of fields including design and implementation, policy making, project management and research and education. Many find a PhD position at universities worldwide. They are employed by international organisations such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), or NGOs involved in international or national development. Some graduates also work for ministries, water boards and other governmental organisations in the field of international cooperation, such as the Dutch DGIS and the German GIZ, while others find jobs in private or public institutes in their home countries. For graduates interested in design and implementation, there are also job opportunities at international consultancies. In the Netherlands this includes firms such as Arcadis, Grontmij, Antea Group, Euroconsult Mott MacDonald and Royal Haskoning DHV.

Alumna Cecilia Borgia.
"After completing my degree, I worked in Mauretania for the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (CSIC-IAS) promoting both crop diversification and evaluating the performance of irrigation systems in the Senegal Valley. This has also been the subject of my PhD at the University of Cordoba in Spain. Recently, I returned to Wageningen and joined the consultancy firm MetaMeta where I look at water-food-energy linkages and water governance in Yemen. Water access and management, as well as the interactions between local water governance and new forms of organisation, have been central aspects of my work."

Related programmes:
MSc Earth and Environment
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Development and Rural Innovation
MSc Geo-information Science
MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.

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Graduates will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills to contribute to humanity’s efforts to achieve and sustain food security during the 21st century. Read more

Graduates will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills to contribute to humanity’s efforts to achieve and sustain food security during the 21st century.

This programme is not suitable for applicants pursuing a career in food science or food safety/hygiene or related areas. Please read the programme description and ensure you understand the nature of the programme before you apply. Applicants who do not show a clear understanding of the programme will not be accepted.

Food security has become a critically important issue for societies around the globe. Interactions between demographics, changes in diet, trade liberalisation, an increased focus on conservation, technological innovations including GM crops, the impact of climate change and new responses to climate change resource limitations (particularly in terms of energy, water and nutrients) all affect food security.

With such a rapid growth in this area, there is an increasing demand for qualified experts to contribute to policy creation and legislation in food production and the supply chain.

This unique MSc offers students the scope and multidisciplinary approach to address all of these issues, as well as an understanding of the technical, agronomic, environmental, economic and socio-political factors that influence food security.

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

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

This MSc programme consists of six taught courses over two semesters, and an individual dissertation project of about 12,000 words.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses.

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Integrated Resource Planning
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Soil Science Concepts and Application

Field trip

The programme typically includes a field trip providing an opportunity to apply some of the principles of food security to real world scenarios. In previous years, the tour has taken place in locations such as Italy, Morocco and Kenya.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • provide a broad understanding of agronomic, environmental, economic and socio-political factors that influence food security
  • apply scientific information and methods in the analysis of complex problems
  • formulate a research problem and independently carry out the research needed to produce an appropriate solution in a range of scientific or policy contexts
  • enhance their skills in specialist topics related to food security

Career opportunities

Graduates of this programme typically go on to work in government and non-governmental agencies as well as international bodies and businesses where they can utilise the invaluable, and highly prized, skills they have acquired on the programme, such as food security assessment.

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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MSc in Soil Mechanics. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Business Management. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Sustainable Development. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology. Read more
MSc in Soil Mechanics

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Business Management

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Sustainable Development

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Environmental Geotechnics

These five MSc courses explore the properties of soils and soft rocks in relation to civil engineering, the theory of geomechanics and practical geotechnical engineering.

All our MSc courses are career-oriented and cover both theoretical background and practical design considerations.

Lectures are given mainly by full-time staff but important contributions are made by visiting professors and guest lecturers who are eminent industrialists.

Many of our students continue their studies to undertake research towards a PhD.

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