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    School of GeoSciences Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


    Environmental Sciences


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

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

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

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

  • Last Updated

    04 October 2019

Programme description

How will we feed ourselves in the future?

This is one of the most important questions faced by the human race. Access to good and healthy food is a basic human right. However, a rapidly growing population, finite resources, environmental damage, climate change and global inequality make this an incredibly complex issue. This MSc addresses these challenges, with a specific focus on the social and economic aspects of food security.

Through this programme, you will explore issues such as social demographics, diet and nutrition, the transformation of the food system, trade, technology and innovation, conservation and climate change. You will also learn about the role of genetics to address sustainable food production, the importance of orphan crops and the increasing pressures on resources such as water and soil among other topics.

You will explore how food security has become a critically important issue for societies around the globe as it concerns not only food production systems and supply chains, but also development issues such as land tenure, inequality, and the exchange value of commodities.

This MSc provides a multidisciplinary approach to these issues, giving you an advanced understanding of the technical, agronomic, environmental, economic and socio-political factors that influence food security. You will also learn qualitative and quantitative data analysis technics to assess different aspects of food security.

There is an increasing demand for qualified experts to contribute to policy creation and legislation in food production as well as to assess the Agri-industry on tracing their development strategy to improve food production and distribution in a sustainable way. This provides you with excellent opportunities to tackle world hunger and feed the world in the 21st century.

This programme is delivered in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). You will not only benefit from being a fully matriculated student at The University of Edinburgh, but also access to all of complementary staff, expertise, and resources at SRUC. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded your degree by The University of Edinburgh.

Please note: the MSc Food Security is not a suitable qualification for those mainly interested in Food Hygiene, Food Safety or related areas. Please read about the programme carefully 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.

Programme structure

This MSc programme is comprised of:

  • 4 Compulsory courses
  • 2 Option courses
  • Field trip
  • Dissertation

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

You will experience a range of teaching styles while you are studying, depending on the subject matter and courses you are taking. Courses can be delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, practicals, short field trips and longer field courses.

Part-time study

As we are committed to helping people into education whilst continuing to work or managing family and personal commitments, you may study this programme part-time.

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

This MSc gives you the scope to fulfil the growing demand for qualified experts that contribute to the policy and legislation development on food production and the supply chain.

You will be able to develop methodologies to appraise trade-offs in terms of risk and uncertainty in strategic decision-making, from the farm-level through to national planning level. Such appraisal is particularly important in light of global environmental change.

Our graduates have typically gained employment in a variety of sectors including government organisations and NGO agencies, international bodies, research and education, private businesses and multinational corporations, Government analyst, communication officer, marketing analyst, researcher, etc.

  • Additionally, given the media attention and prominence of food security for our rapidly growing population, it is a great time to pursue further PhD research and academic study in this area.

Field trips

Field trips are an excellent way in which to explore the factors and forces that shape our world and enable you to put valuable skills into practice.

You will have a unique opportunity to develop your experience and skills with a residential field trip as part of this programme. This will immerse you in real-world food security challenges, enabling you to see how the knowledge, techniques and investigative skills learned during the earlier part of the programme are applied in practice.

During the study tour we visit international organisations, and governmental institutions as we all local universities and different key stakeholders for the food security in the country.

Previous locations have included Italy, Malaysia and Kenya

  • We are pleased to advise that we do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips. Travel and accommodation costs are covered by your programme.
  • Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons. In any given academic year, the main destination of the field course will be announced as soon as possible.

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





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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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