Masters degrees in Livestock train postgraduates in the most efficient means of rearing animals for agricultural and commercial purposes. This includes exploring breeding, genetics, immunology and food safety, animal nutrition, and the relationship between livestock and wildlife.
Specialisms in this field include Livestock Management and Livestock Health. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as biological, environmental, or veterinary science.
Postgraduate study of Livestock and Livestock Science offers more than just an analysis of supply and demand. Expect to gain wide-ranging knowledge of the agri-food industry, including its commercial viability and environmental implications, as well as government policy on food safety and modification.
You can opt to focus your studies on particular kinds of livestock care and management, such as poultry or bovine farming. You may even choose to explore how farming methods and landscaping can effect livestock production.
Possible careers include farm and factory management, consultancy in environmental and governing bodies, or even marketing, advertising and communications.
Alternatively, you may wish to use your Masters degree as a basis for further PhD research in fields such as veterinary science or industrial analysis.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Graduates from the Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Livestock Production will be well suited to careers in livestock production, management and science. This may be within both international and national corporations, non-governmental organisations and policy bodies, and research and higher education institutions.
If you're already in a related career you can use the PGCert to increase your skills, change direction, or build directly on your existing qualifications. The PGCert can also be used as the basis for a full master's qualification.
Assessments in each module will be designed to develop and assess the analytical and communication skills required for these careers. If you are currently working in the field, assessments are also designed to be relevant to your current employment, and you will be encouraged to discuss particular projects with your employer to ensure research questions of relevance to your particular situation are addressed.
Relevant to vets, animal health specialists and livestock farmers, the programme addresses contemporary issues of livestock production that have worldwide relevance. The subject areas covered include breeding, nutrition, welfare and disease processes and management.
Graduates of this programme will be able to improve the health and production of livestock through:
- understanding the interaction of livestock with people and the environment
- gaining an overview of the factors that influence livestock production
- implementing control strategies by integrating this knowledge with the principles of epidemiology, economics and disease control within the context of management and infrastructure
- communicating effectively on the health of animal and human populations to a range of audiences including the general public, farmers, politicians, and other key policy makers.
The programme has been developed by academics at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the oldest and largest veterinary school in the UK and one of the leading veterinary research centres in Europe. In 1999, RVC became the first UK veterinary school to be granted approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The RVC also provides support for the veterinary profession through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and continuing professional development courses.
Graduates of the programme are employed in a variety of organisations including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), university veterinary faculties and international organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).
The support you receive includes:
- academic feedback on written assignments
- tutorial support concerning academic matters from RVC staff
- opportunities for local networking and mutual support from other students on the programme
- as all of the study materials you require are mailed to you, there is no requirement to purchase expensive textbooks or spend time trying to locate journals, which may not be available to you locally.
If you have any questions, please contact our Student Advice Centre.
Veterinary epidemiology is a key component in a number of the global grand challenges relating to disease control, food security and climate change. Consequently, there is a need to improve our ability to understand, predict and respond to patterns and dynamics of disease and to control outbreaks.
The R(D)SVS and SRUC partnership creates the greatest concentration of research power in veterinary and agricultural sciences in the UK. The MSc draws on this wealth of experience and research activity to provide scientific knowledge of the fundamental biological processes (e.g. behaviour, physiology, immunology, ecology) and environmental and farming management practices (e.g. husbandry, nutrition, livestock trade) driving disease transmission, persistence, prevalence and spread in livestock production systems. This enables in-depth understanding of complex environmental patterns of disease, which facilitates prediction of disease risk and control. This multidisciplinary systems approach will provide you with the skills to make significant contributions to tackling food security, climate change and disease control in your role as an animal health professional.
By the end of the programme you will not only have a detailed understanding of the biology driving disease persistence and prevalence, but also how the biology scales up from individuals to populations. You will understand how this interacts with agricultural management practices to determine the efficacy of disease control strategies and livestock production (i.e. interdisciplinary systems thinking and communication). Furthermore, the systems approach offers a way to frame disease challenges and problem solve disease risk at a range of scales (e.g. from veterinarians tackling specific outbreaks to the consequences of climate change on disease risk). To this end the programme provides training in methodological skills for the design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and communication of epidemiological studies, disease surveillance and disease control in animal populations and wider host communities.
Courses are delivered by active researchers presenting their own research, which is placed into context with global grand challenges. As such, you will be exposed to and taught skills appropriate for developing a research career.
The programme will use the University’s award winning online learning environments, which includes video podcasts, web-based discussion forums and expert tuition.
The programme is delivered part-time by online learning over period of 3-6 years.
You may undertake the programme by intermittent study (flexible progression route), accruing credits within a time limit of:
The programme is modular in structure, offering a flexible student-centred approach to the choice of courses studied; other than the three core courses required for the certificate, students may choose to study individual courses, to complete a sufficient number of credits to be awarded the:
Postgraduate Professional Development
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme. Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
The courses and programme as a whole will provide:
This course will provide you with an in-depth specialisation in organic farming and food production systems and it is currently the only specialised MSc in organic and ecological farming in England. You will learn and test the latest approaches in the integrated delivery of soil, crop and livestock, and food supply chain management.
Through a combination of lectures, field trips, seminars, practical classes and research projects you will develop advanced knowledge and skills in:
-Managing organic farming and food production units or businesses in different macroclimatic, agronomic and market contexts
-Agronomic approaches used in organic/biological/ecological/sustainable food production systems
-Underlying principles and standards of organic/biological/ecological/sustainable food production, processing and retailing/marketing systems
-Applied and strategic research underpinning the development of organic and other sustainable farming and food production systems
-A wide range of analytical laboratory methods
You will have the opportunity to attend a 10-day field trip as part of the module on Mediterranean perennial crop production systems in Crete, Greece. The trip is organised in collaboration with ecological farming experts from the Greek National Science Foundation (NAGREF).
As part of your studies you will also undertake a major project, similar to one you might experience in the workplace. You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a laboratory project or field-based investigation. You will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner.
This research project and thesis may be undertaken at the University, in industry, in Crete as part of existing Nafferton Ecological Farming Group research and development projects, or in another country.
You will benefit from being taught by lecturers who are industry experienced and research active. Our research in integrated agricultural production focuses on soil science, plant science and ecology, spanning a range of scales from: pot – plot – farm – landscape.
Strategic research embraces work on:
Applied research addresses issues of:
-Climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
-Ecological (organic) farming systems
-Low-input crop systems
Professor Carlo Leifert is the Degree Programme Director for MSc in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems. Carlo is a member of the Food Security Network in the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) and is part of the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG). He currently manages EU and DEFRA funded projects focused on improving resource efficiency, productivity and food quality and safety in organic and 'low input' crop and livestock production systems.
The course is taught in a block format with a six-week block and then two-week teaching blocks.
You will be taught through:
-Practical and field classes
-Small group discussions
You will be expected to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.
You can also study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme (CATS). This allows 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.
Our multi-purpose farms provide demonstration facilities for teaching purposes and land-based research facilities (especially in the area of organic production). They are both viable farming businesses.
Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm facility that includes the Palace Leas Plots hay meadow experiment and a new anaerobic digestion plant that will generate heat, electricity and digestate - an organic fertiliser - from pig and cattle manure.
Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with two main farm units covering conventional and organic farming systems. The two systems are primarily focussed upon dairying and arable cropping.
Both also operate beef production enterprises as a by-product of their dairy enterprises, although the organic system is unique in maintaining a small-scale potato and vegetable production enterprise.
Our modern laboratories provide important teaching and research environments and are equipped with analytical equipment such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLCs), GCs, CNS analyser (Carbon and Nitrogen analysis), centrifuges, spectrophotometers and molecular biology equipment. Our specialist research facilities include:
We operate closely with other schools, institutes and the University's central scientific facilities for access to more specialist analytical services.
For work with human subjects we use a purpose built Clinical Research Facility which is situated in the Royal Victoria Infirmary teaching hospital and is managed jointly by us and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The NU-Food Food and Consumer Research Facility has undergone a £700,000 refurbishment and now boasts a culinary training suite, a sensory laboratory and food handling facility, all supported by multi-functional rooms and a reception.