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Masters Degrees in Agriculture, Belgium

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

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

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

Tropical Agriculture

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

Structure

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

Learning and Outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other admission requirements

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

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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 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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IMRD, part of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme, is a joint degree which offers you the opportunity to study rural development in its diversity of international approaches and applications. Read more
IMRD, part of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme, is a joint degree which offers you the opportunity to study rural development in its diversity of international approaches and applications. The 2 year master programme (120 ECTS) is jointly organized by 12 institutes leading in agricultural economics and rural development from all over the world. IMRD offers a combination of basic and specialized theoretical and practical training in technical, economic and social sciences. This competitive master programme has a high extent of international student mobility, making it possible to learn from specialists worldwide.
-Study each semester at a different university and compare international views on rural development.
-Gain practical experience through a 1 month case study in Italy or Slovakia.
-Several scholarship opportunities: Erasmus Mundus, IMRD consortium, ICI-ECP.
-1/3 of our graduates start a PhD; others work at UN, FAO and in the agribusiness industry
-Obtain a joint MSc in Rural Development.
-European and US students can combine this degree with a MSc in Agricultural Economics (University of Arkansas, US) and obtain a double degree at the end of the programme. Choose the ATLANTIS learning path.
-European and South-Korean students can combine this degree with a Master of Arts in Economics (Korea University, Seoul National University). Choose the EKAFREE learning path.
-Study in Europe, the US, South-Korea, India, South Africa, Ecuador or China, depending on the learning path you choose.

IMRD offers you the opportunity to study rural development in its diversity of international approaches and applications. Depending on the focus and mobility track you choose, you can study at one or a combination of our 12 partners in Europe, India, South-Africa, Ecuador, China, the US or South-Korea.

Learning path IMRD >> International MSc in Rural Development: study 2 years at the IMRD - Erasmus Mundus programme, possibly supported by an Erasmus Mundus scholarship. At the end you obtain the Joint IMRD Diploma. Study at one or a combination of our partners in Europe, India, South-Africa, Ecuador or China.

Learning path ATLANTIS >> MSc in Rural Development and MSc in Agricultural Economics: European and US students can combine this degree with a MSc in Agricultural Economics (University of Arkansas, US) and obtain a double degree at the end of the programme.

Learning path EKAFREE >>MSc in Rural Development and MA in Economics: European and South-Korean students can combine this degree with a Master of Arts in Economics (Korea University, Seoul National University).

Structure

Structure of the programme:
-General Entrance Module - Semester I 30-35 ECTS - UGent.
-Advanced Module I - Semester II 15-40 ECTS - any partner university or thesis partner university.
-Case Study - Summer Course 10 ECTS - Nitra University or Pisa University.
-Advanced Module II - Semester III 15-40 ECTS - opposite choice of semester II.
-Thesis Module - Semester IV 30 ECTS - thesis partner university.

Learning outcomes

Our programme will prepare you to become:
-A trained expert in integrated rural development specialized in agricultural sociology, economics, policy and decision making, with a competitive advantage on the international job market.
-A master of science with a unique international theoretical knowledge in development and agricultural economics theories and policies, combined with a practical based comparative knowledge of different approaches to rural development
part of an international network of specialists in agronomics and rural development.

Other admission requirements

The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests:
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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