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Masters Degrees in Soil, Netherlands

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The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. Read more

MSc Organic Agriculture

The Organic Agriculture programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare the students for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level.

Programme summary

This programme has been designed to train students in multiple aspects of organic agriculture and the associated processing and marketing chain. An important goal is to prepare for interdisciplinary teamwork at an academic level. The programme is unique in its combination of detailed consideration of the underlying principles and processes from a natural science perspective with social and economic studies. Creative thinking is required to design new sustainable farming and marketing systems instead of simply optimising existing systems. The programme has an international character that uses case studies and offers project opportunities in both the developed and developing world. The curriculum has been carefully formulated to provide a balance between fundamental and applied science. Various university groups participate including farming systems ecology, soil quality, animal science, entomology, rural sociology, environmental policy, education and economy, making this a well-rounded and holistic programme.

Specialisations

Agroecology
Due to concerns on conventional farming practices, food safety issues and pollution, consumers increasingly demand wholesome agricultural products that are produced in a sustainable way. In addition to the demand for organic products by consumers in industrialised countries, there is a need for scientific agroecological farming practices in developing countries and countries in economic distress. In these regions, farmers cannot afford external inputs like pesticides, fertilisers or expensive seeds. Courses focus on: the analysis and design of sustainable organic farming systems; studying the relationship between plant and animal production; soil and landscape; analysing factors affecting plant and animal health; organic product quality. Students learn a systems approach to conduct research projects involving integrated agroecological systems.

Consumer and Market
Socio-economic constraints affect the demand for organic products, and are major bottlenecks to expand organic production. Improved understanding of consumer preferences is essential to stimulate sustainable production of healthy food and renewable resources. Production, processing and marketing of organic products is increasingly affected by (inter-) national policy and legislation. Insight into these aspects is crucial to expand organic production systems. Courses focus on: analysis of consumer perception; insight into relations between government policy and consumer behaviour; development of strategies for certification and trademarks for organic products; globalisation of food production and consumption; environmental education; global versus local production. Students acquire skills to analyse complex problems at the intersection of organic agriculture and society.

Double degree in Agroecology
The double degree programme combines the strengths of the two co-operating institutes, adding the specialist knowledge in agroecosystems management of FESIA with the expertise in designing and evaluating organic food production chains in Wageningen. Students get the opportunity to understand structure and function of complex agroecosystems. They learn to apply systems approaches in studying, designing and evaluating agricultural systems and food production chains, and to develop creative solutions for sustainable farming and marketing of organic products. Action learning and action research through cooperation with farmers, food system professionals and consumers will shorten the distance between practice and theory.

Your future career

Graduates have career opportunities in agribusiness, research, non-governmental organisations and public administration. They often hold jobs such as scientist, consultant, policy maker or quality assurance officer.

Alumna Natasja Poot.
“I have chosen the MSc Organic Agriculture because I was looking for a programme in which all aspects of agriculture are discussed. Courses addressed topics on soils, plants, animals and their interactions. I did not want to limit myself to just organic agriculture, but I can apply the knowledge to all conventional integrated farming systems as well. After graduating, I started at BLGG as a product manager Soil Health. BLGG is a laboratory in the agricultural sector that offers innovative analyses and advices that help farmers in their everyday management. In my position, I am focusing on developing tools for soil-borne diseases, nematodes and soil suppressiveness.”

Related programmes:
MSc Food Quality Management
MSc Environmental Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Animal sciences
MSc Biology
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.

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