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Course description

How will we feed nine billion people by 2050? It’s a challenge with complex solutions. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that £1.2bn is lost annually to the value of our soils due to mismanagement.

Investment and research into agri-tech is growing and here at Sheffield, our MSc Sustainable Agricultural Technologies course draws on our world-leading expertise in the field, training the next generation of skilled agronomy professionals to drive positive changes in agricultural practice and policy.

This MSc programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge needed to understand the challenges of sustainable agriculture, and the skills to pursue an exciting career in the agri-tech sector. You'll learn from the experts behind our flagship Institute for Sustainable Food which brings together expertise from across the University of Sheffield to find dynamic solutions to the challenges of food security and sustainability. Guest environmental and sustainability speakers will contribute to your learning through regular seminars, and you'll get the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice through external placements with our industrial, government and NGO partners.

Find out more about the Institute for Sustainable Food.

Course structure

This 12-month course is designed to give you a breadth of understanding of the agri-food system as a whole. You’ll learn about the major issues in sustainable agriculture and receive training in how to apply cutting-edge techniques used in crop and soil science. Topics that you’ll cover include issues in global food security, the origins of agriculture and agricultural ecology in a changing world. A full list of modules can be found below.

The biggest part of the course is the individual research project. Here you’ll spend 3 months over the summer in our Institute for Sustainable Food, working with our world-leading researchers, taking the latest scientific knowledge and applying it in real-world settings to ensure that the production and consumption of the world’s food is sustainable and resilient.

This course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to become a future leader in the agricultural sector.

You’ll study the following core modules:

  • Crop Science, Biotechnology and Breeding (30 credits) - learn about the factors that limit crop production, and the breeding and genetic manipulations that can be used to overcome these limits.
  • Agricultural Ecology in a Changing World (15 credits) - learn about agriculture as an ecological system in the context of global change.
  • Soil Science (15 credits) - gain an understanding of the interdependence of soils and the ecosystems that are founded upon them.
  • Issues in Global Food Security (15 credits) - engage in a critical analysis of current major issues in food security.
  • Advanced Analytical Techniques in Agricultural Research (15 credits) - gain practical skills in modern techniques (genetics, molecular biochemistry, metabolomics, proteomics) fundamental to agricultural research.
  • Research Project (60 credits) - work with your supervisor to plan, conduct, and write up a substantial piece of original research.
  • Scientific Skills and Project Management (30 credits) - gain the skills necessary to become a skillful modern researcher.

Learning, teaching and assessment

You’ll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and discussion groups as well as practical and field classes. Assessment includes essays, practical work, a research project report and presentation.

After your degree

As precision farming approaches develop, the agricultural industry is becoming increasingly high-skilled, calling for trained graduates to become future leaders in the agronomy sector.

At Sheffield, we have links with a number of agri-businesses and policy makers in this area who will contribute to your learning throughout your studies during external lectures. These partners are organisations we’ve collaborated with on projects, where our students have done placements, and where Sheffield graduates have gone to work.

Possible career paths include:

  • Working in the agronomy and agricultural consultancy sectors;
  • Agricultural extension;
  • Farming;
  • Contributing to agricultural and environmental policy for sustainable food production systems.

If you choose to continue your research training, graduates will be well equipped to pursue PhDs in soil science, crop science, microbiology or food supply and beyond.

The transferrable research and project management skills that you’ll develop on this course are valued by a wide range of employers. The University’s Careers Service will show you how to demonstrate this on CVs and in job applications and once you graduate, the support doesn’t stop. You’ll continue to have access to the Careers Service for three years to help you find your perfect job.

Funding and scholarships

Funding is available, depending on your fee status, where you live and the course you plan to study. You could also qualify for a repayable postgraduate masters loan to help fund your studies.

Find out more.

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

Visit the MSc Sustainable Agricultural Technologies page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!





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