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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Course Description


This MSc combines the principles of sustainable development with an examination of the various systems of food production in the context of providing a secure supply to meet the ever-changing requirements of a growing world population. Students will explore a wide variety of food production systems, allied to wider environmental and landscape considerations.

Career prospects

MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security graduates have gone on to enter production, policy, and research and consultancy careers in the agricultural and food quality
sector, within:
• International organisations
• Government departments
• NGOs
• Research institutes
• Universities
• Commercial companies worldwide

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone concerned that our food production systems will not be fit for purpose by the middle of this century. It is ideal for those looking for a career in production, policy, and sustainable development focusing on food or resource consumption in agriculture.

Course structure

The course may be studied full-time over 12 months or part-time over two years.
Students will study eight modules, followed by the Research Project on a topic related to one of the key themes of the course. The Research Project is carried out over the summer to be submitted in September. It will be presented as a review of the topic and as a research paper.
Students will gain a broader understanding of the relevant issues through lectures, case studies, seminars and management projects. This approach fosters teamwork and complements individual study and student learning.
The course is available to start in either September or January
Modules will be taught in 10 week blocks.

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

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


Integrated Agricultural Systems
Agricultural and Rural Policy
Poverty and Food Security
Sustainable Management of Soil and Water
Development Project Management
Sustainable Agricultural Intensification
Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
Organic Production and Marketing
Research Project

The Student View

Emma Dennis
Studying at the RAU provided me with a fantastic platform from which to expand both my knowledge base and industry network. The nature of the course with a balance of theory and practical case studies, alongside the opportunity to engage with international students already invested in rural development overseas, meant the MSc provided a diverse and rewarding learning environment.
The course was challenging with a wide breadth and depth of topics covered,
but with the ability to tailor modules to your own aspirations. The highlight for me was the ability to carry out my MSc research in Madagascar, putting acquired skills and knowledge into practice and working with experienced practitioners to further understand the challenges faced in this sector.

With thanks to the skills I gained and contacts I made at the RAU, I am now working in an agronomy and technical support role for Agrii, whilst also continuing to engage in international
rural development through an affiliation with Farm Africa.

Visit the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security page on the Royal Agricultural University website for more details!

Student Profiles

RAU Cirencester Scholarship - Single Award

Deadline for applicationsApplications and all supporting information must be received by the University by the 15th August 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Value of Scholarship(s)

up to £3,000 pa


These scholarships (paid as a tuiton fee waiver) will be available to all new RAU undergraduate and postgraduate students, both full and part-time, who live and/or have within the last two years studied within a 25 mile radius of Cirencester (not previously at the RAU) and who can demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and motivation to succeed by means of their Programme and Scholarship applications and supporting references. We will take into account academic and community achievements, past, present and potential, as well as overcoming hardship.

Application Procedure

You need to apply by using the online application form, together with supporting evidence. Please download and ask your referee to complete the Scholarship reference form; the referee should be your most recent school/university tutor or employer. We do not accept references from family members. Please note Scholarship applications cannot be considered without a satisfactory reference. Additional information may be requested at a later date

Further Information



Commonwealth Shared Scholarship - Single Award

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are offered by the UK government funded Commonwealth Scholarship Commission(CSC)(DFID Department for International Development) in partnership with UK universities including the RAU. These scholarships are available to students from Commonwealth developing countries who do not have the financial means to undertake postgraduate Master’s level study in the UK. A Commonwealth Shared Scholarship covers:
Maintenance costs
Return flights
Dissertation grant
Study travel grant (if applicable)
Arrival allowance

Value of Scholarship(s)

See full details below


Hold a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree
Nationals of a Commonwealth country
Hold an offer from RAU in one of the courses listed.
Further detailed information on the RAU website for postgraduate funding

Application Procedure

How to applyApplicants must state in their RAU programme application that they will apply for the CSS.Applications of EOI for the CSS to RAU are now closed.The CSS form can be found here.N.B. You will only be asked to complete the CSS Electronic Application System form (EAS) if you are shortlisted by us to apply for the Scholarship.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Honours degree at upper second level.Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered, following personal interview with the Course Manager. applicants whose first language is not English: we will accept (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5 average with no element below 5.5. If you have other qualifications, including overseas awards and alternative English language qualifications, you are advised to contact Admissions to discuss the suitability of your award for entry onto the course.

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Recipient: Royal Agricultural University
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