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Masters Degrees in Soil, United Kingdom

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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 Heinx

Where you study

• University of Aberdeen
• 12 Months or 24 Months
• Full Time or Part Time
• 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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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.



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.

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.

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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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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
• 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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Crop agriculture provides mankind’s increasing population with foods, fibres and fuel. This MSc will provide you with knowledge and practical skills focused on how crops are improved, grown and managed. Read more
Crop agriculture provides mankind’s increasing population with foods, fibres and fuel. This MSc will provide you with knowledge and practical skills focused on how crops are improved, grown and managed. You’ll gain a combination of practical skills and academic understanding to develop a critical and creative mindset.

Through lectures, small-group interactive workshops, practicals, tutorials, field and site visits, you’ll learn the principles of crop production and explore the latest advances in integrated pest, disease and weed management. You’ll gain an understanding of the importance of the soil for nutrition and water uptake, modern techniques of plant breeding, and how crop trials are designed and analysed. You’ll undertake eight core modules:
-Crop Physiology & Production
-Advances in Crop Protection
-Soil, Water & Plant Mineral Nutrition
-Climate Change
-Organic & Low Input Systems
-Cereal, Oilseed & Root Crop Agronomy
-Introduction to BASIS – Crop Protection
-Plant Breeding & Trial Design for Registration, and up to two further options.

You’ll also complete a dissertation based on a placement at a host organisation or on a topic related to sustainable crop production that interests you.

Our graduates have taken jobs in technical agronomy, crop trialing and agricultural consultancy for industry specialists such as Bayer Crop Science, Agrovista and Agrinig (Nigeria). They’ve also progressed to leading roles in marketing, sales, policy development and professional consultancy.

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Students can choose to start in September, May or January. About the course. This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production postgraduate course centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. Read more

Students can choose to start in September, May or January

About the course

This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production postgraduate course centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. The programme provides flexible, accessible, postgraduate level training for people employed in the agri-food sector. Training comprises distance learning modules and work-based research projects. These are accessible as CPD or as credit-bearing units, which can be built towards a range of postgraduate qualifications.

Taught by experts at both Aberystwyth University (AU) and Bangor University (BU), the Sustainable and Efficient Food Production course offers you a highly vocational option. In the most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014), the department was placed in the top 10 universities in the UK for research intensity and 78% of our research was world-leading or internationally excellent.

To achieve an MSc students must complete five optional modules (including up to three from BU) plus Research Methods and a Dissertation.

Course structure and content

Two to five years to complete a full MSc. 14 weeks for one module by distance learning Three intakes per year (January, May, September). Students will be eligible for a UK Student Loan if the course is completed in 3 years.

Core modules:

Dissertation

Research Methods

Optional modules - Choose any 5 from:

Contact Time

We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each topic comprises a 12-14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the full five years.

Assessment

There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion.



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Students can choose to start in September, May or January. About the course. This scheme aims to facilitate knowledge exchange between academia and industry. Read more

Students can choose to start in September, May or January

About the course

This scheme aims to facilitate knowledge exchange between academia and industry. Students must complete three taught modules including research methods and a 120 credit work-based dissertation / research thesis (approximately 20,000 words in length).

While the primary academic focus is on the completion of an advanced piece of research, the collaborative route provided by a work-based research project provides an ideal opportunity to embed new knowledge in the work place and ensure that research is relevant to industry. As such, it is crucial that a student’s employer is supportive of both their research aims and the time commitment that the proposed research will involve. Self-employed students should aim to undertake research which will be closely aligned to their business.

Students may build on the MRes to work towards a Professional Doctorate.

Course structure and content

An MRes can be completed in 2-5 years but we would expect most students to spend 1 year on their taught modules and 2 years on their work based dissertation. 12 or 14 weeks for one module by distance learning. Three intakes per year (January, May, September).

Students will be eligible for a UK Student loan if their course is completed within 3 years.

Core modules:

MRes Research Project

Research Methods

Optional modules:

Contact time

The MRes comprises three taught modules (including Research Methodologies and Advances in Bioscience) followed by a 120 credit work-based dissertation (20,000 words).

We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each taught module comprises a 12 or 14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the duration of your registration.

Assessment

There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion. Research is monitored and assessed.



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Significant increases in the global human population, increasing climatic instability and a concurrent reduction in fossil fuel availability, impacting upon agricultural production and policy. Read more
Significant increases in the global human population, increasing climatic instability and a concurrent reduction in fossil fuel availability, impacting upon agricultural production and policy. Food production must increase without a simultaneous increase in resource use.

Improvements in crop yield and production efficiency often come through the utilisation of individual elements of new research. Integrated Crop Management (ICM) however utilises multiple facets of research simultaneously to bring about larger, more sustainable results. This course focuses on incorporating the latest research to develop students’ critical and analytical thinking in subjects such as pest dynamics, genetic improvement, crop technology, sustainable practice and soil management.

This MSc, delivered at Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire will integrate these topics alongside a broader critical evaluation of crop sciences enabling you to design bespoke ICM programmes for given situations.
It is aimed at graduates in biological sciences who are looking to find employment as agronomists, farm advisors, agro-technical specialists particularly in allied agricultural industries. Successful completion of this MSc degree will also facilitate progression to PhD level research in food production science.

COURSE CONTENT:

Year 1

Integrated approaches in high-input cropping systems

High-input crop production systems typically focus on achieving both high yields and profitability. This module explores the science and agronomic principles of a range of crops under such management regimes as well as their associated problems and limitations. Consideration will be given to integrated management approaches currently being adopted by industry as well as the major drivers of these changing practices. These include legislation, resistance to agrochemicals and public acceptance.

Invertebrate Dynamics in Crop Production

Approximately 10-15% of global crop production is lost to invertebrate pests. Conversely, invertebrates constitute a significant ecosystem service through pest predation and pollination. In any integrated production system, the management of invertebrates is therefore fundamental to effective crop production. This module will focus on critical evaluation of current research on invertebrate ecology and dynamics and applying this to their potential impacts on conventional cropping systems. Concepts of pest population dynamics, herbivory and species life histories will be considered in relation to their effects on the crop. Alongside this, their ‘value’ as pollinators, predators, vectors and the effects of lethal and sub-lethal pesticide doses will be evaluated.

Contemporary agronomic research and development

Research into agronomy, technology and management is of critical importance if the industry is to continue to adapt to modern pressures and challenges worldwide. This module will explore the research path including laboratory to field trials and, ultimately, application into practice. Case studies will be explored where research and development has made or could make a significant impact to management practice.

Year 2

Integrated approaches in low-input cropping systems

Low-input cropping systems seek to optimise crop yields whilst using fewer inputs when compared to conventional crop production systems. In parts of the world this is due to a lack of financial and physical resources whilst in others this is due to perceived environmental benefits. This module explores the science of the integrated management of crops under such systems, including enhanced soil management and factors influencing nutrition and disease control. Limitations will also be considered as will approaches that conventional crop production could learn from low-input management systems.

Global Drivers for Agricultural Change

This module examines the global drivers behind the need to refocus agricultural production to meet the needs of the increasing world population and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It will focus on concepts such as the effects of globalisation; the economic issues with pesticide development; the globalisation and privatisation of agricultural technology and the use of targeted pest control techniques. Furthermore, the module will assess the impacts of corporate responsibility and the necessity of having sustainable global supply chains.

Research Methodology and Design

This module provides students with the essential personal, organisational, management, theoretical and statistical skills needed to work at Postgraduate Level. It will explore research philosophies, research process and design and the process of questionnaire development and design. The module will develop skills in advanced data organisation, presentation, dissemination and problem solving.

Year 3

Masters Dissertation

The dissertation is a triple module and allows students to design and conduct a substantial piece of independent, supervised research related to the field of study. The dissertation is an independent piece of academic work which allows the student to identify and work in an area of interest to them and manage the research process to agreed deadlines.

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