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    School of GeoSciences Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Agriculture

    Environmental Sciences

    Geography

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time, 2-3 years part-time.

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    02 November 2018

Course content

Programme description

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).

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
  • Professional and Research Skills in Practice
  • 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 and is likely to be Malaysia this year.

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.


Visit the Food Security (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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