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Agricultural and Environmental Science - MSc

Course Description

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.


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.

Visit the Agricultural and Environmental Science - MSc page on the Newcastle University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Poppy Frater

1671.jpg I chose to study at Newcastle University because I am from the North East, I completed my undergraduate degree here and I know the university excels at research and teaching.

The best aspects of the degree programme was the fieldwork. We went on many trips to farms and had a week long field class in Arnside, Cumbria where we practiced habitat assessment and mapped the vegetation, soil and topography relationships within Roudsea wood Nature reserve.

Since graduating I did a temporary four month contract with the Environment Agency. This involved collecting soil samples and identifying pollution problems on farms. Since finishing this role, I have been offered a permanent contract with EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive) as a Beef and Sheep Scientist. In this role I will be involved in the knowledge transfer of new science to the sector improve the competiveness and sustainability of beef and lamb production in the UK.

The main advantage of my studies was my dissertation. I developed a method to assess and compare the sustainability of the organic and conventional systems at Nafferton Farm. I am currently editing this to be published. With this being a contentious issue, it demonstrated my understanding and ability to collate and interpret information from the vast academic literature on the topic to form my own method and proposals. This was a key selling point for the EBLEX role.

Additionally, the Ecological livestock production module involved visits to several livestock farms in the area and discussed the practices of livestock farming. This improved my understanding of aspects of livestock production which will assist me in my new role.

Since graduating, several of my lecturers, namely John Gowing, Dr Jeremy Franks, Dr Julia Cooper and Gillian Butler, have kindly passed on job adverts to me, this support and encouragement has greatly exceeded my expectations of the university staff.

Additionally I would not have been able to study at Newcastle University were it not for the sponsorship provided by the NFU Mutual Centenary Award. They funded 75% of my course fees for my second year of study (part-time). I would recommend anyone accepted onto this course with an interest in sustainable agriculture, climate change and agriculture or international development to apply for this grant.


Entry Requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or an international equivalent, in a relevant subject, such as: agronomy (crop production); biological sciences; earth sciences; geography; environmental sciences; agricultural sciences; zoology. We also consider applicants on an individual basis with degrees in other areas, and those with non-standard qualifications and/or relevant professional experience.

Last Updated

08 May 2017

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