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Masters Degrees in Organic Farming

Masters degrees in Organic Farming equip postgraduates with expert knowledge and training in the production and maintenance of organic produce and the care and welfare of livestock.

Masters in this area are typically MSc degrees, though research-based programmes such as MRes and MPhil courses may also be available at some universities. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as biology, agriculture, or environmental science.

Why study a Masters in Organic Farming?

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The Organic food and farming sector within Europe is continuing to develp in response to governmental Action Plans and CAP policy development. Read more
The Organic food and farming sector within Europe is continuing to develp in response to governmental Action Plans and CAP policy development. The organic sector requires highly trained individuals to work as certification officers, advisers, agronomists, farmers, farm managers and livestock specialists. SRUC offers this programme to enable students with a variety of academic and working experiences to gain a fast-track understanding of the key technical production, marketing and management aspects of organic farming and food.

This enables students to build on their existing expertise and aspirations, and to give them enhanced career opportunities as practitioners, promoters and facilitators within the sector.

The organic farming courses are offered on a part-time distance learning basis to allow those in continuing employment or with family commitments to be able to participate. Course participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, including farmers, growers, vets and other agricultural and food sector workers who wish to develop their career and businesses in the organic food and farming sector, as well as those from unrelated backgrounds wishing to increase their knowledge and understanding of organic systems.

Specific course objectives are to provide graduates with:
- An ability to critically appraise organic farming as an agricultural system
- A good understanding of the organic sector
- A sound knowledge of the science underpinning organic farming
- An understanding of the marketing, business & quality assurance requirements for organic produce
- Work placement experience
- Research skills (MSc only)

The course is accessible through its delivery by part-time on-line distance learning.

Course Content

The course modules comprise of a mix of technical production, marketing and management, and skill development modules.

Organic Forage and Livestock Production

This module will provide an understanding of the role of forage legumes in organic systems and describe grassland management systems that maximise the contribution of legumes. Students will also be given an understanding of the organic approach to livestock production, particularly in terms of animal welfare, preventative health management and nutrition.

Soils and Nutrient Cycling

This module will aim to provide the students with the tools for optimal management of their soils. Ultimately, they should be able to describe soil properties, evaluate soil fertility and assess management requirements in the context of organic farming. The module provides an understanding of the chemical, physical and biological features of soil fertility and nutrient cycling and develops practical skills in soil assessment and whole farm nutrient budgeting.

Organic Crop Production

This module will provide an understanding of methods of crop production for arable and vegetable field crops, with particular reference to organic farming in the UK. The module will develop an understanding of breeding, establishment, nutrition, protection, harvesting and storage in the context of organic crop production of field crops.

Organic Farming Case Study

This module will improve the student's ability to undertake whole farm analysis and in particular organic conversion planning. Whole farm analysis involves a range of skills and examination of a wide range of issues: technical, financial, marketing and environmental. The module will require the student to integrate the knowledge gained in other modules, to provide an evaluation and plan for the conversion to organic production of an actual farm example.

Organic Farming Profession

This module will provide an overview of the philosophy, principles, history and development of the organic farming industry. The organic standards will be introduced and the ways in which they are used to regulate the organic food and farming industry at UK, European and world levels will be covered. The roles of the main UK organisations that influence the development of the organic sector will also be explored.

Organic Farming Work Placement

This module will allow students to become familiar with an organisation or business in the organic food and farming sector during a 6-week (or equivalent) work placement. The student will gather relevant and unique material to enable them to carry out a technical and business analysis and make recommendations for future development of the organisation or business in question. The material will also be used in class discussion and to contribute to group learning.

Issues in Organic Farming

This module explores the public goods delivered by organic farming. It develops an understanding of food quality and the role and application of Quality Assurance (QA) Schemes in the organic food sector to meet the needs of relevant legislation and consumer concerns. The module also provides an overview of the principles of environmental management in the context of organic agriculture, helping students gain an appreciation of the potential impacts of agricultural enterprises on the environment, measures for minimising such impacts, and opportunities for incorporating positive environmental management measures into farm business plans.

Marketing and Business Management in the Organic Farming Sector

This module will provide an understanding of the concepts, principles and techniques involved in marketing management and how they are applied in the context of the organic farming sector. Financial accounts are one source of information regarding an organic business, and aid the process of planning and control. This module will provide an understanding of accounts to assist in the process of setting goals within a business and assessing the financial consequences of alternatives.

Course Format

This course is studied part time through on-line distance learning. This allows those in continuing employment or with family commitments to participate. With the exception of several weekend schools and a short study tour, the learning is carried out in the student's home or work place.

The MSc Project (taken following successful completion of taught modules)
Provides an opportunity for in-depth individual research on a topic related to organic farming.

Postgraduate Diploma

The PgDip is a high level learning course taught at university post-graduate level for students who opt not to progress to the Masters. Students are required to complete all taught modules detailed above. Typically a student will study 4 modules per year and complete the PgDip in two years. This would normally take an average of 12 to 15 hours study time a week.

Study Tour

The study tour is used to visit a range of organic and conventional farms as well as businesses operating in the organic food supply and distribution chain. In the taught modules an element of student choice is often built in through the use of essay and other course work topics that cover areas of potential interest. There is also a Work Placement module. Students following the distance learning course may gain exemption from the practical element of the placement but will require to complete a report of their work experience.

The study weekends and short study tour are an integral part of teaching delivery and students are strongly recommended to attend these if they are to succeed in this course.

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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. Read more
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.

Our staff

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:
-Soil quality
-Rhizosphere function
-Plant-soil feedback
-Soil-carbon dynamics
-Nutrient cycling

Applied research addresses issues of:
-Climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
-Ecological (organic) farming systems
-Low-input crop systems
-Agriculture-environment interactions

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.

Delivery

The course is taught in a block format with a six-week block and then two-week teaching blocks.

You will be taught through:
-Lectures
-Seminars
-Practical and field classes
-Tutorials
-Case studies
-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.

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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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The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of the sustainability issues associated with Northern European agriculture, and is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams. Read more
The course is intended to provide students with a detailed understanding of the sustainability issues associated with Northern European agriculture, and is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams.

Having completed the MSc you will be able to identify farming systems and determine their key characteristics, and critically evaluate the environmental impacts of conventional, integrated and organic farming systems. You will also learn to assess and exploit the latest developments in technology, and produce integrated farm management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social and environmental requirements.

The course

The continuing production of safe, wholesome food in an environmentally sensitive manner is a major political issue for national governments and internationally within global commodity markets. A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 (Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century) predicts that the global population will rise to 9 billion by 2050 rising from a current estimate of nearly 6.8Bn. This increase in population size will substantially increase the demand for food. The global estimates vary in magnitude, but it is thought approximately 25% of crops are lost to pests and diseases, such as insects, fungi and other plant pathogens (FAO Crop Prospects and Food Situation 2009)

In a 2009 response to the emerging issues centred on global food security, the UK BBRSC launched a consultation exercise entitled Future Directions in Research Relating to Food Security. In seeking responses as to the direction of future research BBSRC identified a number of key themes. These included the:
■ Translation of research into commercial practice and the creation of effective partnerships to enable exchange of knowledge and development of skills in the uptake of new scientific findings
■ Establishment of require long-term programmes in research and training, underpinned by investment in the agricultural research infrastructure
■ Focus on applying the latest science to increasing crop and animal productivity globally while minimising negative environmental impact (including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the efficient use of water, energy and other inputs, conserving biodiversity and landscapes), reducing losses from pests and diseases, enhancing food safety and quality for improved nutrition, and reducing waste throughout the food supply chain.

This course is intended to provide students with a key understanding of the issues involved in the sustainable production of food in accordance with the themes outlined above and is underpinned by an extensive programme of associated research at Harper Adams.

How will it benefit me?

The course provides an overview of the key issues involved in sustainable agricultural production within a global context. Since there is a focus on the underlying scientific principles, the course is suited to students of all nationalities in addition to those from the UK. Initially, you will learn to identify global farming systems and determine their key characteristics, before undertaking more complex evaluations of conventional and integrated or organic farming systems. You will undertake training in the use of the latest resources and use these to produce global integrated farm management solutions that pay due regard to agronomic, social, economic and environmental requirements. You will also have the option of undertaking a case study module where you will be able to focus exclusively on farming system of relevance to your background or intended career destination. The research project will provide training in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of appropriate experiments or surveys to address research questions or problems relevant to sustainable agriculture.

Careers

Students have typically entered a wide variety of professions. Some have worked for government departments and agencies such as Natural England or the Environment Agency. Others have joined agrochemical companies or found positions within agricultural or environmental consultancies.

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The Graduate Diploma in Agriculture is particularly appropriate for students who are re-directing their careers towards agriculture. Read more
The Graduate Diploma in Agriculture is particularly appropriate for students who are re-directing their careers towards agriculture. In addition to developing the pure agriculturist, the course provides students with a detailed knowledge of the UK agricultural industry.

Students are able to handpick their modules from a broad range of subject areas, to create a bespoke course, tailor made to meet their individual requirements. The ability to customise course content makes this the ideal opportunity for graduates, and professionals from other disciplines, looking to re-direct their career towards agricultural and associated rural industries.

A summer study tour, and £250 worth of rural skills training, are included in the cost of the course.

Structure

The course may be studied full-time over one academic year, or part-time over two, three or four years.

You will complete three compulsory modules, followed by four modules selected from a wide range of undergraduate modules allowing you to tailor the course to meet your career aspirations. You can undertake practical skills training courses at the Rural Innovation Centre to further enhance their employability.

You will participate in lectures, farm walks and visits, case studies, assignments, and management projects to develop your knowledge across curricular themes. You will also take part in a summer study tour, which exposes you to a variety of agricultural enterprises.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to complete pre-course reading in order to secure a minimum basic knowledge of agriculture and to highlight possible areas of weakness.

Modules

• 2256 Applied Agricultural Science
• 3100 Farm Business Management
• 3227 Agricultural Management

Plus choice of FOUR elective modules from:

• 1008 Agricultural Mechanisation and Buildings
• 1046 Human Nutrition, Health and Society
• 1054 Introduction to Food Production
• 2086 Red Meat Chains
• 2087 White Meat Chains
• 2232 Entrepreneurship, Intrapreneurship and Enterprise Development
• 3006 Emerging Agricultural Issues
• 3008 Advanced Livestock Production
• 3009 Agricultural & Equine Journalism
• 3010 Game & Deer Management
• 3011 Rural Business Diversification
• 3020 Advanced Crop Production
• 3067 Farm Machinery Management
• 3084 Entrepreneurship
• 3087 Advanced Dairy Food Chains
• 3090 Forestry and Woodland Management
• 3093 Farmland Ecology
• 3096 Wine Industry
• 3097 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
• 3104 Food and Agri-business Strategies
• 3205 Management Information Systems for Farming Businesses
• 3207 Farming and Integrated Environment Local Delivery
• 3210 Applied Agricultural Finance
• 3218 Sustainable Business and Agrifood Supply Chains
• 3228 Integrated Organic Systems

Career prospects

Many graduates enter practical farming or take up commercial or administrative posts in the related land-based industries. Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers as:

• Farm Managers
• Farm Workers
• Senior Planners
• Project Managers
• Livestock Skills Instructors

Graduates may qualify for progression on to a Masters course.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.rau.ac.uk/STUDY/POSTGRADUATE/HOW-APPLY

Funding

For information on funding, please view the following page: https://www.rau.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/fees-and-funding/funding

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The Research Masters (ResM) is a Masters level degree awarded by Plymouth University through the Duchy College node - a research node of Plymouth University’s Centre for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS). Read more
The Research Masters (ResM) is a Masters level degree awarded by Plymouth University through the Duchy College node - a research node of Plymouth University’s Centre for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS).

All ResM students are supervised by college staff based in Cornwall on the Stoke Climsland or Newquay campuses and co-supervised by Plymouth University staff. The ResM culminates in the examination of a thesis based on a period of extended research, preceded by two taught modules that equip the student for research.

The ResM programme at Duchy is tailored to individual needs and commonly involves working with an industry partner. There are full-time and part-time routes.

Full and partial fees bursaries may be available, please contact Dr Peter McGregor for more information and eligibility criteria.

Indicative project titles for Agriculture & Food:
• Agricultural change and its social, economic and environmental implications
• Farm family wellbeing
• Succession and retirement in farming
• Impact of organic farming on the rural economy
• Sustainable farming and food
• The food and farming economy of Devon and Cornwall

Proposed project titles:
• Generating virus free tulips: A collaborative project with the Botanic Garden Cambridge. You will be based in the nationally renowned micro-propagation laboratory at Duchy College Rosewarne (moving to Eden Project by Sept 2016) and undertake a series of experiments to generate virus free tissue and help preserve a rare and valuable tulip accession of the Botanic Garden Cambridge. Techniques will include tissue culture and molecular viral detection.

Student case study: “Study is flexible and fits in alongside my employment plus the tutors are experts in their field. When I finish I hope to use my knowledge and research to enhance the training offered to farmers in the South West” (Polly Gilbert, ResM Agriculture & Food).

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Sustainable food production is increasingly important as the human population grows. we need to produce more food, more sustainably. Read more
Sustainable food production is increasingly important as the human population grows: we need to produce more food, more sustainably. This MSc, taught by world-class researchers, provides a unique opportunity for you to gain a rigorous scientific background if you are aiming for a career in habitat management, crop production, plant physiology, ecological research, scientific communication or agricultural policy.

Cutting-edge programme topics include sustainable agricultural intensification and food production; agri-environment schemes; organic farming; land sparing; genetically modified crops; emerging crops; effects of climate change and mitigation measures; interactions between managed species and the environment; ecosystem services including pollination; pest/disease control; and maximising production while minimising environmental impacts.

The programme covers a broad but highly applied subject area; the focus ranges from the molecular to the global level. You will also develop transferable skills including statistics, data handling, scientific writing, and research methods. This programme may provide a springboard to PhD research or lead to a career in industry, including management and technical career paths, policy, conservation, charities or NGOs, or ecological consultancy.

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A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of different energy technologies, exploring the subject through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work. Read more

Masters in Sustainable Food and Resources

A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of different energy technologies, exploring the subject through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work.

How is the course taught?

Taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), which pioneered sustainability practice and theory in the UK, this is the first MSc course to properly integrate the social, political, economic and practical aspects of sustainable food and natural resources production. This Masters degree tackles these themes through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work. Our MSc programme is taught either by distance learning or through residential blocks in one of the most innovative environmental buildings in the UK, or via a mixture of the two.

A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of transformational responses to the pervasive effects that economic structures and environmental change are having on diet, health, sustainability and community empowerment. The course will cover globalisation, corporate and economic control, increasing global population and the effects of industry-scale agriculture and materials production on ecosystems and our environment.

We give our MSc students the knowledge, skills and experience needed to develop a career in the environmental sector and make an impact. The programme draws on our expert staff (https://gse.cat.org.uk/index.php/postgraduate-courses/msc-sustainability-in-energy-provision-and-demand-management/sepdm-staff-profiles) and a wide selection of academics and specialist guest lecturers – people who have made exceptional contributions to environmental thinking and action.

What qualification will you receive?

Successful completion of the programme MSc Sustainable Food and Natural Resources at the Centre for Alternative Technology leads to the award of Master of Science (MSc) by Liverpool John Moores University (subject to validation by Liverpool John Moores University).

Modules include

The programme uses the concepts of sustainability and transformational adaptation to frame an understanding of sustainable food and resources management across scales, including cities, communities, farms, industry and the individual.
You will study aspects of food and natural resource management in a broad sustainability context through focused, intensive module weeks that will help you understand:

• ecosystems and biodiversity;
• land and resources in cities;
• sustainable materials, supply chains and energy provision;
• the science of food and growing;
• political and economic aspects;
• sustainable food management, diet and health.

This course is subject to validation by the Liverpool John Moores University.

Who is the course for?

This Masters degree is aimed at graduates who want to effect change in the way our natural resources are managed, produced and distributed.

It will include key inputs from eminent practitioners such as Professor Tim Lang (Centre for Food Policy), Colin Tudge (Campaign for Real Farming) and Peter Harper (a pioneer of sustainable growing and resource management), and will empower you with the tools to find employment in environmental NGOs, government bodies, consultancy, forestry and land management, or to launch your own environmental enterprises.

The MSc programme provides the opportunity to develop deep understanding, confidence, aptitude and critical thinking in the management of nature and its resources. The course has a strong emphasis on the practical application of theoretical learning, with students given the opportunity to develop their own practical projects.

MSc Sustainable Food and Natural Resources students will develop into rounded, self-reflective learners who can work with others with confidence and clarity.

Why study at CAT?

Studying at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is a truly unique experience. For the past 40 years CAT has been at the forefront of the environmental movement, pioneering low-carbon living and renewable technology. At the Graduate School of the Environment (GSE), students benefit from our extensive practical and academic knowledge, graduating with the skills needed to become leading players in the sustainability sector. Find out more about our facilities here: https://gse.cat.org.uk/index.php/postgraduate-courses/msc-sustainability-and-adaptation/sa-site-and-facilities

Hands-on learning

At CAT, hands-on learning takes place side by side with academic study. Residential on-site block learning weeks are taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), a truly unique and inspiring learning environment. Nestled in a disused slate quarry on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, CAT is a living laboratory for paractical, sustainable solutions. It contains some of the most innovative and renowned environmentally conscious buildings in the country, as well as one of the most diverse range of installed renewable technologies, on site water and sewage treatment, sustainably managed woodland and acres of organic gardens.

Flexibility

It is a flexible degree, taught in blocks taken either with an intensive residential stay of five or six nights at the centre, or by distance learning. MSc students are free to choose between these teaching modes for every module. There is a choice of modules, taken over one year or two – meaning the degree can be part time. It is a masters degree designed to give you the best possible experience whilst also meshing neatly with the pressures of modern professional and family life.

Immersive learning environment

Optional residential module weeks include lectures, seminars, group work and practicals. Applied work tends to dominate later in the week once we have laid the theoretical groundwork. These module weeks provide a truly immersive environment to escape daily life and apply yourself to new learning. Many eminent experts give guest lectures or hold seminars during these modules, as it is a course which seeks to draw on the expertise and learning of the whole environmental sector.

Is this the course for you?

If you would like to visit for an overnight stay during a module, where you can attend lectures and workshops and meet staff and students, please contact Shereen Soliman:

Read less
A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of different energy technologies, exploring the subject through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work. Read more

Masters in Sustainable Food and Resources

A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of different energy technologies, exploring the subject through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work.

How is the course taught?

Taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), which pioneered sustainability practice and theory in the UK, this is the first MSc course to properly integrate the social, political, economic and practical aspects of sustainable food and natural resources production. This Masters degree tackles these themes through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work. Our MSc programme is taught either by distance learning or through residential blocks in one of the most innovative environmental buildings in the UK, or via a mixture of the two.

A flexible Masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of transformational responses to the pervasive effects that economic structures and environmental change are having on diet, health, sustainability and community empowerment. The course will cover globalisation, corporate and economic control, increasing global population and the effects of industry-scale agriculture and materials production on ecosystems and our environment.

We give our MSc students the knowledge, skills and experience needed to develop a career in the environmental sector and make an impact. The programme draws on our expert staff (https://gse.cat.org.uk/index.php/postgraduate-courses/msc-sustainability-in-energy-provision-and-demand-management/sepdm-staff-profiles) and a wide selection of academics and specialist guest lecturers – people who have made exceptional contributions to environmental thinking and action.

What qualification will you receive?

Successful completion of the programme MSc Sustainable Food and Natural Resources at the Centre for Alternative Technology leads to the award of Master of Science (MSc) by Liverpool John Moores University (subject to validation by Liverpool John Moores University).

Modules include

The programme uses the concepts of sustainability and transformational adaptation to frame an understanding of sustainable food and resources management across scales, including cities, communities, farms, industry and the individual.
You will study aspects of food and natural resource management in a broad sustainability context through focused, intensive module weeks that will help you understand:

• ecosystems and biodiversity;
• land and resources in cities;
• sustainable materials, supply chains and energy provision;
• the science of food and growing;
• political and economic aspects;
• sustainable food management, diet and health.

This course is subject to validation by the Liverpool John Moores University.

Who is the course for?

This Masters degree is aimed at graduates who want to effect change in the way our natural resources are managed, produced and distributed.
It will include key inputs from eminent practitioners such as Professor Tim Lang (Centre for Food Policy), Colin Tudge (Campaign for Real Farming) and Peter Harper (a pioneer of sustainable growing and resource management), and will empower you with the tools to find employment in environmental NGOs, government bodies, consultancy, forestry and land management, or to launch your own environmental enterprises.
The MSc programme provides the opportunity to develop deep understanding, confidence, aptitude and critical thinking in the management of nature and its resources. The course has a strong emphasis on the practical application of theoretical learning, with students given the opportunity to develop their own practical projects.
MSc Sustainable Food and Natural Resources students will develop into rounded, self-reflective learners who can work with others with confidence and clarity.

Why study at CAT?

Studying at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is a truly unique experience. For the past 40 years CAT has been at the forefront of the environmental movement, pioneering low-carbon living and renewable technology. At the Graduate School of the Environment (GSE), students benefit from our extensive practical and academic knowledge, graduating with the skills needed to become leading players in the sustainability sector. Find out more about our facilities here: https://gse.cat.org.uk/index.php/postgraduate-courses/msc-sustainability-and-adaptation/sa-site-and-facilities

Hands-on learning

At CAT, hands-on learning takes place side by side with academic study. Residential on-site block learning weeks are taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), a truly unique and inspiring learning environment. Nestled in a disused slate quarry on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, CAT is a living laboratory for paractical, sustainable solutions. It contains some of the most innovative and renowned environmentally conscious buildings in the country, as well as one of the most diverse range of installed renewable technologies, on site water and sewage treatment, sustainably managed woodland and acres of organic gardens.

Flexibility

It is a flexible degree, taught in blocks taken either with an intensive residential stay of five or six nights at the centre, or by distance learning. MSc students are free to choose between these teaching modes for every module. There is a choice of modules, taken over one year or two – meaning the degree can be part time. It is a masters degree designed to give you the best possible experience whilst also meshing neatly with the pressures of modern professional and family life.

Immersive learning environment

Optional residential module weeks include lectures, seminars, group work and practicals. Applied work tends to dominate later in the week once we have laid the theoretical groundwork. These module weeks provide a truly immersive environment to escape daily life and apply yourself to new learning. Many eminent experts give guest lectures or hold seminars during these modules, as it is a course which seeks to draw on the expertise and learning of the whole environmental sector.

Is this the course for you?

If you would like to visit for an overnight stay during a module, where you can attend lectures and workshops and meet staff and students, please contact Shereen Soliman:

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This MSc combines the principles of sustainable development with an examination of the various systems of food production in the context of providing a secure supply to meet the ever-changing requirements of a growing world population. Read more
This MSc combines the principles of sustainable development with an examination of the various systems of food production in the context of providing a secure supply to meet the ever-changing requirements of a growing world population.

This course is ideal for those looking for a career in production, policy, and sustainable development focusing on food or resource consumption in agriculture.

The principal aim is to enable you to gain the specialised knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to contribute effectively and ethically to strategic decision making, opinion forming and operational management for the sustainable development of agricultural and food supply systems.

The following themes underpin the course:
• Human exploitation of the Earth's resources and the global implications of human development
• The ecological basis for sustainable natural resource utilisation, including agriculture
• The role and function of local, national and global institutions, policies and conventions in relation to development, resource exploitation, social, cultural, ethical and inter-generation considerations
• The application of development paradigms, models and tools to build capacity within communities, institutions and individuals

Structure

The course may be studied full-time over 12 months or part-time over two years.

You will study five core modules and three elective modules, followed by the Research Project on a topic related to one of the key themes of the course. The Research Project is introduced in January to be carried out over the summer and submitted at the end of September. It will be presented as a review of the topic and as a research paper.

In addition to lectures, you will participate in case studies, seminars and management projects. This approach fosters teamwork and complements individual study and student learning.

You will gain a broader understanding of relevant issues through knowledge acquisition, intellectual enquiry, debate, and team/individual research. The course will provide a learning environment that encourages you to explore factors influencing sustainability while at the same time reflecting on your own actions and attitudes, and those of others. Furthermore, several team projects are developed throughout the course, which include: production of a magazine or podcast and organisation of a national conference.

There are two entry points to the programme, either in September or in January.

September entry

Students will study four modules in the autumn term followed by four modules in the spring term, and complete their Research Project by the end of September.

January entry

Students will study four modules in the spring term, complete their Research Project by the end of September, and study four modules in the autumn term.

Modules

• 4038a Integrated Agricultural Systems
• 4040 Sustainable Management of Soil and Water
• 4075 Research Project
• 4080 Development Project Management
• 4081 Agricultural and Rural Policy
• 4201 Poverty and Food Security

Plus choice of THREE elective modules:

• 4202 Sustainable Agricultural Intensification
• 4203 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
• 4082 Natural Resource Management
• 4083 Climate Change and Development
• 4084 Tourism and Development
• 4238 Integrated Organic Systems

Modules will be taught in 10 week blocks.

Career prospects

MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security graduates have gone on to enter production, policy, and research and consultancy careers in the agricultural and food quality sector, within:

• International organisations
• Government departments
• NGOs
• Research institutes
• Universities
• Commercial companies worldwide

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This course critically examines the role of agriculture (including horticulture) and agricultural research in addressing the major challenges and opportunities related to agricultural intensification and environmental sustainability in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the developing world. Read more
This course critically examines the role of agriculture (including horticulture) and agricultural research in addressing the major challenges and opportunities related to agricultural intensification and environmental sustainability in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the developing world. A flexible course is offered, including a horticulture pathway. The course explains the roles of agriculture and horticulture in development and the different biophysical, economic and social environments in which they are practised.

Recent research developments and innovative practices in response to challenges such as poverty, climate change and environmental sustainability are elaborated upon and supported by field visits. The factors that influence and enhance the relevance, quality and impact of research and farmer innovation processes are described.

Graduates are well suited to working along the research to-development continuum – whether in research, extension or development, within international and national institutions.

WHAT WILL YOU STUDY?

Sample modules:
-Rethinking agricultural development (including horticulture): implementing solutions
-Agriculture in the tropics
-Experimental agriculture/horticulture
Please note that all modules are subject to change.

WHAT CAREER CAN YOU HAVE?

Our programmes are excellent preparation for careers in international and rural development, agricultural economics, and marketing within the food chain and policy. Some 96% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.
Engagement with a wide variety of visiting speakers and field trips provides many opportunities for networking. In addition, competitive internships and placements, and research dissertations are an opportunity to showcase your skills, undertake overseas field research or link with organisations in the development sector. For examples of organisations our graduates go on to, please visit: http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae

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About the course. -Provides a multidisciplinary understanding of food production, access and use. -Analysis of the complex challenges faced by developing countries. Read more
About the course:
-Provides a multidisciplinary understanding of food production, access and use
-Analysis of the complex challenges faced by developing countries
-Option to enrol in free, complementary Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning (IFSTAL) programme
-Prepares you for a range of career options in international food and development sectors
-Suitable for graduates from most disciplines

WHAT WILL YOU STUDY?

-Agriculture in the Tropics
-Food Security and Development
-Global Issues in Nutrition and Health
-Perspectives on Development
-Policy Analysis
-Research and Study Skills for Independent Learning

WHAT CAREER CAN YOU HAVE?

Our programmes are excellent preparation for careers in international and rural development, agricultural economics, and marketing within the food chain and policy. Some 96% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.

Engagement with a wide variety of visiting speakers and field trips provides many opportunities for networking. In addition, competitive internships and placements, and research dissertations are an opportunity to showcase your skills, undertake overseas field research or link with organisations in the development sector. For examples of organisations our graduates go on to, please visit: http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae

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Areas of research include, but are not limited to. evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites. Read more
Areas of research include, but are not limited to: evaluation of spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites.

■Choice of one year (MRes), two year (MPhil) or three year (PhD) research degrees
■Excellent completion rates for higher degrees
■Good job prospects for PhD candidates in industry, government organisations and academia
■Accessible academic staff
■Rural location and collegiate atmosphere
■Unique facilities
■Fortnightly research seminar programme

PhD and MPhil research at the University has been developed over the last 20 years to its current position of national and international recognition in a number of areas. There are strong links with agri-business which give postgraduates the chance to develop close contacts with industry and this has led to more than 90 per cent of our PhD graduates getting jobs in their areas of interest.

The MRes is a new, shorter research degree, developed in response to increasing demand.

All MPhil/PhD research students have their own office space and a dedicated personal computer. You will be encouraged to participate in seminars and conferences appropriate to your research.

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