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Sustainable Plant Health (MSc)


Course Description

Programme description

With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Food production has tripled in the last forty years, but one billion people still go hungry every year. On average 30% of all food produced is wasted in the pathway from 'field to fork'. With the global human population set to rise from seven to over nine billion by 2050, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Our trees and forests face new plant health threats which in turn threaten areas of great natural beauty and diversity, and affect both rural and urban landscapes. Our unique MSc Sustainable Plant Health will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the vital role of plant health, applying your skills by conducting laboratory and field studies.

This programme is primarily aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in plant protection in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or urban settings, and also careers in policy development and implementation, plant health inspection, academic and industrial research, consultancy and conservation management, and private industry.
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Programme structure

The full time 12 month programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. The curriculum consists of two core and four elective taught courses, followed by a period of individual dissertation project work. Field trips will also form a crucial part of this course.

Core courses typically include*:
•Forensic Plant Health: lectures, lab classes and field visits providing a foundation in plant health investigation
•Plant Health in a Global Context: lectures and visits providing a global context for exploring plant health issues
•Dissertation
•Students with little background in plant health biology will take the elective course on the Fundamentals of Plant Health

Option courses allow students to tailor the degree programme according to their interests. Option courses may include*:
•Applications in Ecological Economics
•Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
•Case Studies in Sustainable Development
•Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
•Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
•Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
•Environmental Impact Assessment
•Foundations in Ecological Economics
•Frameworks to Assess Food Security
•Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
•Integrated Resource Management
•Integrated Resource Planning
•Interrelationships in Food Systems
•Land Use/Environmental Interactions
•Principles of Environmental Sustainability
•Soil Protection and Management
•Soil Science Concepts and Application
•Sustainability of Food Production
•Understanding Environment and Development

*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change each year.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course our graduates will have gained:
•Specialist knowledge and understanding of plant health, and its evaluation, impact and management
•Skills to detect and identify agents detrimental to plant health
•An understanding of the nature and diversity of plant health interactions
•The ability to develop strategies for plant health management taking into account their impact on agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems
•Knowledge of the relevance of plant health to sustainability and food security
•Improved analytical skills and critical thinking

Career opportunities

Plant health scientists are employed in a range of vocations: environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, urban planning, policy development, plant inspection and management. Long term career prospects are strong as agricultural scientists will continue to be needed to balance increased output with protection and preservation of ecosystems.

Our graduates will gain particularly valuable skills due to our programme's unique approach looking at impacts across ecosystems. They also benefit from the applied nature of the course allowing them to use their practical skills in a range of field trip environments with expert supervision.

Visit the Sustainable Plant Health (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject. A 2:2 degree may be considered with relevant experience in plant or crop protection.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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