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Agriculture×

Masters Degrees in Soil

We have 36 Masters Degrees in Soil

Masters degrees in Soil explore topics such as agronomy (soil science and management) and related areas such as conservation, ecology and agriculture. These courses may be laboratory based, but some also include opportunities for fieldwork.

Popular specialisms include Soil Sustainability and Soil Mechanics. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a related subject, such as Soil science, Chemistry, or Geology. Work experience is necessary for some courses.

Why study a Masters in Soil?

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Your programme of study. If you are interested in earth science, and environmental science but you want to specialise in the study of soil specifically the Aberdeen programme gives you in depth knowledge and a range of experts and alumni who consult at government level. Read more

Your programme of study

If you are interested in earth science, and environmental science but you want to specialise in the study of soil specifically the Aberdeen programme gives you in depth knowledge and a range of experts and alumni who consult at government level. Aberdeen is further supported by having the James Hutton Institute within the city limits, a notable institute specialising in soil science over the years known formerly the Macaulay Institute.

Soil Science is becoming increasingly important to our ability to sustain life on earth as we look at how to keep the soil clean from pollutants in water, air and polluting industries, pesticides and all sorts of changes to soil. There are also growing concerns that as the population increases and climate change also increases how do we farm in the future? The degree gives you all the skills and knowledge you need to work as a soil scientist either as a researcher, within government or regulation or as a consultant working with industry and other organisations devoted to soil science.

You learn about soil science, sustainability, land use planning, food security, GIS, and land use with intensive laboratory analysis from one of the top centres in the world for soil science. We also take you into the field to study specific situations and you are guided by our world renowned researchers in the environmental sciences. This is one of only a handful of Soil Science programmes with cutting edge technologies to help you analyse and study soil in depth. Soil science falls within agricultural sciences which were ranked No. 1 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014) and the highly acclaimed Environmental Science disciplines which Aberdeen has made a name for itself in over the years.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

Core Skills in Environmental Science

Global Soil Geography

Soils for Food Security

Applications for GIS

Semester 2

Environmental Analysis

Land Use and the Changing Environment on Deesside

Optional

Environmental Impact Assessment

Remediation Technology

Catchment Management

Ecological and Environmental Modelling

Semester 3

Project in Soil Science

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/degree-programmes/304/soil-science/

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Research at Aberdeen within agricultural and earth sciences is ranked No.1 (REF)
  • You study all methods of analysis and field work to understand the full range of issues within soil and land use which affect the ability to grow crops
  • One of our team developed the award winning 'Cool Farm Tool.' Dr John Hillier developed this to calculate greenhouse gas. The tool is used by known brands such as Marks and Spencer, Costco and Heinz

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • 12 Months or 24 Months
  • Full Time or Part Time
  • September start

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about fees:

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/tuition-fees-and-living-costs-287.php

*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/finance-funding-1599.php

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/funding/

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

  • Your Accommodation
  • Campus Facilities
  • Aberdeen City
  • Student Support
  • Clubs and Societies

Find out more about living in Aberdeen:

https://abdn.ac.uk/study/student-life

Living costs

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/finance.php



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A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Read more
A country's physical land resources are a fundamental pillar of support for human life and welfare. Worldwide, population pressures and severe degradation, pollution and desertification problems are threatening this - for several countries relatively scarce - natural resource, and cause competition between agricultural or industrial purposes, urban planning and nature conservation. To guarantee a proper use and management of this for a nation basic commodity, well trained specialists with a thorough knowledge of the properties and characteristics of this natural resource, and a solid insight in factors and measures that may alter its actual state and value are warranted and call for a high standard scientific and practical education.

The main subject in Soil Science aims at training researchers, academics, government staff and expert consultants in the inventory and detailed characterization of land capacity, and of soils in particular. Graduates should be able to understand the development and evolution of soils under natural conditions or following human interference using field, map, laboratory and remote sensing data. They should have the scientific knowledge to use and manage soil and water in a sustainable way, and to optimize land use under different natural and environmental conditions.

Structure

The Master of Science degree programme in Physical Land Resources is a two year, full time course. The first year provides a fundamental basis in physical land resources, with a main subject in either Soil Science or Land Resources Engineering. The second year offers specialised courses in one of the two main subjects. The students have to prepare a master dissertation in the second year. Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of an Master of Science degree in Physical Land Resources. The course curriculum of the first year, and of the main subject in soil science of the second year is organised at the Ghent University, whereas all courses of the main subject in Land Resources Engineering of the second year are lectured at "Vrije Universiteit Brussel".

The academic year starts the last week of September. However students are advised to arrive in Ghent in the first week of September to follow the preparatory summer course.

Teaching methods
A wide variety of teaching methods are used in the PLR programme. All course units, except for “Internship” and “Master Dissertation” include lectures. Lectures are fundamental to provide students with the necessary basic knowledge in order to acquire the requested competences. Besides lectures the following teaching methods are very frequently used: practical classes, PC-room classes and coached exercises. Teaching methods like guided self-study, group work and microteaching are occasionally used. Field work and excursions are naturally an important component of the Physical Land Resources programme, especially in the first year.

Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Physical Land Resources is organized at both UGent and VUB and aims to contribute to an increased knowledge in Physical Land Resources both in terms of quantity (more experts with a broad knowledge) and of quality (knowledge and its use at an advanced scientific level). The incoming students have diverse backgrounds in geology-related sciences, civil engineering or agronomy and the large majority of students originate from developing countries.
-Possesses a broad knowledge at an advanced level in basic disciplines (soil physics, soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, meteorology and climatology) that provide a polyvalent scientific understandinga. needed to evaluate land potential for agricultural and environmental applications, understand the evolution of soils under natural and human-impacted conditions, and contribute to sustainable land use planning and integrated management of land and water (Soil Science); or in non-agricultural applications of land, such as geotechnical aspects, the role of soil and groundwater in water resources management and water supplies, and of land management in relation to other environmental and land use aspects (Land Resources Engineering).
-Possesses the basics to conduct field work (soil survey, soil profile description, soil sampling), interpret analytical data, classify the soil, and manage and interpret existing cartographic and remote sensing data using modern equipment, informatics and computer technology.
-Characterize soil physico-chemically and mineralogically with advanced techniques to understand soil processes, translate this to soil quality and assess the influences by and on natural and anthropogenic factors.
-Recognize interaction with other relevant science domains and identify the need to integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.
-Demonstrate critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty.
-Plan and execute target orientated experiments or simulations independently and critically evaluate the collected data.
-Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.
-Formulate hypotheses, use or design experiments to test these hypotheses, report on the results, both written and orally, and communicate findings to experts and the general public.

Other admission requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests: (TOEFL/IELTS predictive tests and TOEIC will not be accepted)
-TOEFL IBT 80.
-TOEFL PBT 550.
-ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score with a min. of 6 for writing.
-CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre.
-ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced).

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A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees. Read more
A collaboration between the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Forestry, the inter-faculty Soil Science Graduate Program offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to MSc and PhD degrees. Students are registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies through either the Faculty of Land and Food Systems or Faculty of Forestry, depending upon their research interests.

Areas of study include biometeorology, forest nutrition and nutrient cycling, mycorrhizal ecology, soil biology, soil quality and fertility, soil-plant interactions, ecosystem services, land an water systems.

Program Overview

Soil Science offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in the areas of soil microbial ecology, organic matter, soil physics, irrigation and drainage, biometeorology, soil pollution, soil and water conservation, soil management, and land use, with application to forest, agricultural, urban, and range soils, as well as a professional Master of Land and Water Systems (M.L.W.S.) degree. The Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees include a combination of courses in both basic and applied sciences, with research leading to the completion of a thesis/dissertation. The M.L.W.S. degree is intended for students seeking a post-baccalaureate degree for professional practice in the land and water resources management realm. The program is designed to be completed in one calendar year.

Soil Sciences programs are enriched through collaboration with: colleagues in other graduate programs, such as Forestry, Geography, Plant Science, Institute for Resources and Environment, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, and Landscape Architecture; and agencies such as Environment Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Forests and Range, and other provincial, municipal, and regional government agencies.

Research facilities are housed both within the MacMillan and Forest Sciences Buildings and, on a shared basis, in other buildings on campus. Research facilities within the MacMillan Building include modern analytical laboratories and other equipment for conducting chemical and biometeorological research, while excellent facilities for soil biological research are located in the Forest Sciences Centre.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Soil Science
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Career Prospects

Graduates of the soil science degree program often obtain positions with government or the private sector. Some graduates decide to continue in the area of research and academia with various universities and colleges. Examples of where some graduates are employed:
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- BC Ministry of Forests
- Canadian Forest Service
- Consultant
- Associate Professor, University of Guelph
- Associate Professor, Yale University
- Associate Professor, University of Northern BC
- Environment Canada
- Assistant Professor, University of Bengukulu, Indonesia
- Assistant Professor, University of Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa

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This course aims to develop knowledge and skills relating to the sustainable management of soil and water resources. Specifically, it aims to provide students with the ability to evaluate the potential of sites for plant growth and determine the soil and water factors affecting production. Read more
This course aims to develop knowledge and skills relating to the sustainable management of soil and water resources. Specifically, it aims to provide students with the ability to evaluate the potential of sites for plant growth and determine the soil and water factors affecting production. The course also focuses on the availability of water from surface or groundwater supplies and how this is utilised by irrigation and drainage. The course is underpinned by research and consultancy activities in the Crop Production & Science and Engineering departments.

The course

Soil and water are key resources for agriculture that determine levels of food production and thus food security on a local, national and global scale. Effective management of soil and water is essential for society in general, but critical for agriculture. Management of water is also of key importance as water is likely to become an increasingly limited resource in a world subject to climatic and environmental change.

This course aims to develop knowledge and skills relating to the sustainable management of soil and water resources. Specifically, it aims to provide students with the ability to evaluate the potential of sites for plant growth and determine the soil and water factors affecting production.

The course also focuses on the availability of water from surface or groundwater supplies and how this is utilised by irrigation and drainage. The course is underpinned by research and consultancy activities in the Crop and Environment Sciences, and Engineering departments.

A new Soil and Water Management Centre was launched at Harper Adams University in 2012.

How will it benefit me?

By completing the course you will be able to identify soil, plant and climatic variables for cropping systems in a range of geographical locations, and critically identify the social and environmental impacts of water use on catchments at a local and national scale. You will also be able to produce irrigation and drainage schemes that pay due regard to agronomic, social, economic and environmental requirements for a range of geographic locations.

You will learn to effectively source, review and analyse key information and disseminate findings and concepts relating to efficient water use in food production systems to a range of audiences. The research project will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to soil and water management through the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of appropriate experiments.

Careers

Students will be suitably qualified for careers in agri-business, agricultural consultancy and statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency.

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MSc in Soil Mechanics. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Business Management. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Sustainable Development. MSc in Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology. Read more
MSc in Soil Mechanics

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Business Management

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Sustainable Development

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Engineering Seismology

MSc in Soil Mechanics & Environmental Geotechnics

These five MSc courses explore the properties of soils and soft rocks in relation to civil engineering, the theory of geomechanics and practical geotechnical engineering.

All our MSc courses are career-oriented and cover both theoretical background and practical design considerations.

Lectures are given mainly by full-time staff but important contributions are made by visiting professors and guest lecturers who are eminent industrialists.

Many of our students continue their studies to undertake research towards a PhD.

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This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection. Read more

This programme aims to introduce students to the concepts of soil for the 21st century and is suitable for students wishing to pursue a career in land-based management or environmental protection.

Soils underpin the sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems and are key to food production. Soils form the basis of all agricultural production, but they also store water, mediate the impact of pollutants, provide biological habitats, have an impact on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, are involved in dealing with society’s waste, are a source of extractable minerals and provide the foundations for the housing and roads on which society depends.

You will learn about soil function and management, and soil classification, assessment and analysis, with a strong emphasis on practical skills. You will gain expertise in the relationship between soil and sustainable approaches to land resource use.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Soils Science Concepts and Application
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Analysing the Environment
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Spatial Modelling
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems

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

Field trip

An integral, week-long study tour lets you refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The tour has historically been held in Mende, France. In addition to the formal taught component, students had the opportunity to go rafting and visit the Aven Armand caves.

There may also be a short tour during induction week, to give students a chance to get to know each other.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • gain a knowledge and understanding of the relationship between soils and sustainable land management
  • gain an understanding of soil sampling and analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • be able to assess soil management issues and develop improved management plans
  • understand the function of soils in relation to sustainable land use and societal needs

Career opportunities

A recent report by the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) identified soil science as an area in which there are critical skills shortages, meaning graduates will be in high demand.

Soil scientists are employed in a broad range of vocations including environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, environmental impact assessment and analysis, site reclamation and remediation, and conservation as well as advising on government policy, archaeological excavations and laboratory analyses, forensics, and landscape design.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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By completing the course you will be able to identify soil, plant and climatic variables for cropping systems in a range of geographical locations, and critically identify the social and environmental impacts of water use on catchments at a local and national scale. Read more
By completing the course you will be able to identify soil, plant and climatic variables for cropping systems in a range of geographical locations, and critically identify the social and environmental impacts of water use on catchments at a local and national scale. You will also be able to produce irrigation and drainage schemes that pay due regard to agronomic, social, economic and environmental requirements for a range of geographic locations.

You will learn to effectively source, review and analyse key information and disseminate findings and concepts relating to efficient water use in food production systems to a range of audiences. The research project will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to soil and water management through the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of appropriate experiments.

Careers

Students will be suitably qualified for careers in agri-business, agricultural consultancy and statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency.

Read less
By completing the course you will be able to identify soil, plant and climatic variables for cropping systems in a range of geographical locations, and critically identify the social and environmental impacts of water use on catchments at a local and national scale. Read more
By completing the course you will be able to identify soil, plant and climatic variables for cropping systems in a range of geographical locations, and critically identify the social and environmental impacts of water use on catchments at a local and national scale. You will also be able to produce irrigation and drainage schemes that pay due regard to agronomic, social, economic and environmental requirements for a range of geographic locations.

You will learn to effectively source, review and analyse key information and disseminate findings and concepts relating to efficient water use in food production systems to a range of audiences. The research project will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to soil and water management through the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of appropriate experiments.

Careers

Students will be suitably qualified for careers in agri-business, agricultural consultancy and statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency.

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MPhil supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological (organic) agriculture, and agricultural water management. Read more
MPhil supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological (organic) agriculture, and agricultural water management.

Crop science

Genes and physiological traits, such as:
-Resistance to crop pests and diseases
-Molecular-assisted selection and breeding methods
-Plant environment interactions and their relationships to stress biology
-Physiological basis of crop yield and quality
-Biotransformation of synthetic compounds and natural products in plants
-Herbicide selectivity in cereals and competing weeds

Soil science

-Soil ecology and the contribution of soil biodiversity to soil quality
-Soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics
-Interpretation of soil and landscape processes to improve understanding of recent and historical environmental change
-Land degradation processes and their control

Ecological (organic) agriculture

-Functional biodiversity for control of pest, disease and weed pressure
-Long term factorial systems comparison experiments for in depth study of different aspects of conventional and organic farming systems

Agricultural water management

-Irrigated agriculture
-Interactions between land-use and hydrological response in a semi-arid environment
-Soil hydrological processes affecting management of salinity in irrigated land

Delivery

We offer a number of different routes to a research degree qualification, including full-time and part-time supervised research projects. We attract postgraduates via non-traditional routes, including mature students and part-time postgraduates undertaking study as part of their continuing professional development. Off-campus (split) research is also offered, which enables you to conduct trials in conditions appropriate to your research programme.

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Areas of research include, but are not limited to. pre-harvest stress on ascorbic acid content in baby leaf spinach; spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites; improving soil and crop yield sustainability; post-harvest losses in radishes. Read more
Areas of research include, but are not limited to: pre-harvest stress on ascorbic acid content in baby leaf spinach; spatial heterogeneity for the design and layout of experimental sites; improving soil and crop yield sustainability; post-harvest losses in radishes.
Research Degrees




Strategic and applied research underpins Harper Adams' mission to provide higher education for a sustainable food chain and rural economy. Our research and reach-out strategies are focused to meet the challenge of rural sustainability.


Professor Peter Mills
Deputy Vice-Chancellor

■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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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.

Facilities

Farms

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

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

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.

Laboratories

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:

  • tissue culture laboratory
  • plant growth rooms
  • class II laboratory for safe handling of human biological samples
  • taste panel facilities and test kitchen
  • thin section facility for soils analysis

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.

nu-food Food and Consumer Research Facility

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.



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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 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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Your programme of study. Ecology is an important discipline to inform many different environmental management issues which often involve wider impacts being assessed for planning and other purposes. Read more

Your programme of study

Ecology is an important discipline to inform many different environmental management issues which often involve wider impacts being assessed for planning and other purposes. There is an increasing desire to utilise sites which are environmentally sensitive and this puts pressure on ecology and habitat survival. There are many other types of environmental impacts which are often hidden but also affect Ecology such as the many different pollutants which are often highlighted monthly. Species decline is becoming a well known issue globally and the ability to maintain and continue species and grow is important in a declining environment.

The programme comes from a very strong department which has been ranked consistently at number 1 in soil science and soil ecology in the UK (REF 2014). The Master's in Ecology has very solid foundations as it has been taught to generations for over 50 years and with this comes considerable knowledge and experience. With this programme you get a chance to influence how we utilise our environment and manage it to the best ability to preserve our ecology.

Our MSc programme provides flexibility to enable you to gain knowledge and skills to meet your career aspirations, whether in research or as a practicing ecologist. The programme runs through a full year, starting with a field course and culminating in a major research project. You will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience of everything from field survey to chairing discussions, from statistics and modelling to report writing and from identifying important ecological questions to researching them and writing a scientific paper. Previous graduates have gone on to the top of their chosen profession in research, consultancy, conservation, policy, education and advocacy.

Courses listed for the programme

Semester 1

Experimental Design and Analysis

Introduction to GIS

Plant Ecology

Population and Community Ecology

Optional Courses

Statistics for Complex Study Designs

Introduction to Ecological Field Research in Northern Scotland

Molecular Ecological Techniques

Soils for Food Security

Aquaculture

Introduction to Bayesian Inference

Semester 2

Compulsory

Research Project Planning

Optional

Environmental Impact Assessment

Spatial Information Analysis

Marine Spatial Management and Top Predators

Readings in Ecology, Conservation and Environment

Ecology, Conservation and Society

Catchment Management

Environmental Management Plan

Applied Forest Ecology

Advanced Modelling for Ecology and Conservation

Semester 3

Project in Ecology

Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/degree-programmes/925/ecology-and-conservation/

Why study at Aberdeen?

  • Ecology has been taught at Aberdeen for over 50 years and Plant Ecology and Soil Science is No 1 in the UK (REF 2014)
  • You will be taught be known ecologists who are active in research, management and nature conservation
  • Aberdeen is ideally situated to take full advantage of coastal, inland, rural and wild landscapes and environments

Where you study

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Full Time and Part Time
  • 12 Months or 24 Months
  • September

International Student Fees 2017/2018

Find out about fees:

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/tuition-fees-and-living-costs-287.php

*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.

Scholarships

View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/finance-funding-1599.php

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/funding/

Living in Aberdeen

Find out more about:

  • Your Accommodation
  • Campus Facilities
  • Aberdeen City
  • Student Support
  • Clubs and Societies

Find out more about living in Aberdeen:

https://abdn.ac.uk/study/student-life

Living costs

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/study/international/finance.php



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The M.S. degree in Sustainable Agriculture aims to provide advanced knowledge in the field of agricultural systems as well as skills to develop and manage sustainable production systems. Read more

Sustainable agriculture

The M.S. degree in Sustainable Agriculture aims to provide advanced knowledge in the field of agricultural systems as well as skills to develop and manage sustainable production systems.

Programme Summary

The context of the topics is international, having as its main area of investigation warm-temperate environments at a global level. The graduate in Sustainable agriculture must work to achieve food security objectives associated with improving the quality and wholesomeness of food products. The graduate must know the issues related to biodiversity, global change and ecosystem services, which are analyzed according to a systemic and adaptive approach, considering also the traceability of processes.
To address the global challenges, students are equipped with a wide learning platform, and are able to make comparisons between different production systems at the international level in terms of environmental, socio-economics, and regulatory environments.

Dual degree with USA

With the aim of strengthening this global approach to sustainability and food security, the degree program has been included in an internationalization project in collaboration with the University of Georgia, USA, which enables students to achieve a dual degree in "Sustainable Agriculture" (Italy) and "Crop and Soil Science" (USA).

Who is the MSc candidate?

The course is intended for highly-motivated national and international students and is conceived for Bachelor graduates with a main interest in agricultural and environmental sciences.

What career opportunities does the MSc provide?

The graduate in Sustainable Agriculture is able to perform a wide range of activities in a professional and efficient manner:
1) Operate internationally by conducting activities of planning, management, monitoring, coordination and training in agricultural production processes to meet the needs of the international market;
2) Be involved in activities of experimentation and research in both the public and private sectors (eg. Biotechnology companies);
3) Fill a position or interact with international organizations such as FAO, EU and World Bank;
4) Be involved in the transfer of technologies (innovation broker);
5) Manage technical and international business related to agricultural products and processing, and related to agricultural mechanization;
6) Play an active role in private and public structures aimed at land management and the management of water resources, including historical, cultural and landscape values of agricultural land;
7) Collaborate in the establishment and operation of projects in basic and applied research in the field of agricultural production in the international arena.

How is the programme organised?

The training course in Sustainable Agriculture, lasting two years, includes two main areas of study:
1) Production: training in the areas of agronomy, crop and animal productions, soil science, plant breeding, and integrated management of pests and diseases, all aimed at the sustainability of the production process and its social implications;
2) Technology: training in the areas of management and protection of air-soil-water, use of biomass of agricultural plants and animals, land management, and management of the production process (at different geographic scales) considering both innovative technologies and socio-economic aspects.
Learning is based on active studies covering activities in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field as well as the possibility of using the contribution of Italian and foreign teachers, and industry experts that can provide specific case studies. The program offers intensive individual tutoring of students, as well as the opportunity to intern for six months, in companies in the public and private sectors, possibly abroad, for the study of cases of excellence in preparation of the thesis

Visit the MSc “Sustainable agriculture” page on the Università di Padova web-site http://www.unipd.it/en/educational-offer/second-cycle-degrees/school-of-agricultural-sciences-and-veterinary-medicine?ordinamento=2016&key=AV2293 for more details.

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