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Nutrition and Rural Development: Tropical Agriculture MSc

Course Description

In the first academic year of the MSc. Program the students of the 3 main subjects have several courses in common, aiming in giving them all an in-depth knowledge and know-how related to nutrition and rural development related topics, creating a common academic level between all program students of diverse backgrounds. The common part of the programme consists on the one hand of basic knowledge, insights and skills in the areas of production, transformation, preservation, marketing and consumption of food products. On the other hand, it contains a practically oriented component that enables the alumni to identify problems by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods and analytical techniques, to assess and rank causes, and to plan, to execute and to evaluate appropriate interventions.

The other part of courses given during the first year are main subject specific courses. The academic second year provides a more in depth understanding of the specific problems and their solutions for the main subject and major chosen and consists of main subject and major specific courses, elective (optional) courses and Master Dissertation research (30 ECTS).

The specific expertise the students receive depends on the main subject, major and optional courses chosen.

Tropical Agriculture

Delivers technical knowledge related to agriculture focussing on developing countries. The students can specialize in animal production or plant production by choosing the specific option. The major on Animal Production delivers in depth knowledge on production biology, animal nutrition, pasture management, animal genetics. The major on Plant Production focuses on themes like ethno-botany, crop protection, plant breeding, plant biotechnology. The courses are applicative and aim at presenting solutions for production problems in developing countries in an interdisciplinary way.


Semester 1 (Sept-Jan)
-Preceded by introduction courses.
-Common and main subject specific basic courses.
-Fundamental, in depth and high level knowledge.
Semester 2 (Febr-June)
-Main subject specific courses with special attention to ‘in field’ applications.
-Possibility to do internships in summer holidays.
Semester 3 (Sept-Jan) and Semester 4 (Febr-June)
-Specialised courses (fine-tuned individual programme).
-Master dissertation (at Ghent University, other Belgian institutes/organizations/multinationals or one of our partners in the South or Europe).

Learning and Outcomes

Have thorough knowledge and comprehension (theory and practice) l in the interdisciplinary domains: food and feed production, socio-economic, (public health) nutrition and management concepts, theories and skills, and in the main subject specific domains and the chosen major domains. The program additionally focuses on international collaboration.
-Major: Public Health Nutrition : Have profound insights in public health nutrition realities and compare public health nutrition issues, approaches and policies within the international context
-Major Nutrition Security and Management: Have profound insights in different food/nutrition security realities and compare nutrition security issues, approaches and (nutrition) policies within an international context
-Major Plant Production: Have profound insights in plant production realities and compare plant production issues, and approaches within the international context
-Major Animal Production: Have profound insights in animal production realities and compare animal production issues, and approaches within the international context

Apply theories and methodological approaches to characterize and analyse specific problems: food, nutrition and agricultural chains, food sovereignty /safety and security, natural resource management, sustainable production, economic and social problems of rural areas, national and international agriculture.

Design and implement adequate instruments, methods, models and innovative tools to analyse, evaluate and solve interdisciplinary related problems in the context of sustainable development.

Apply the interdisciplinary tools to design, implement, monitor and evaluate national and international agro-nutrition policies and programs. More specifically:
-For Human Nutrition: construct innovative tools and instruments for the development of a better nutritional health status of a country/region/area and its inhabitants/households.
-For Tropical agriculture: a more efficient and economic feasible agricultural balanced, food production guaranteeing a better food security situation per country respecting local environment.

Assess the importance and magnitude of a problem, define strategies for intervention and/or identify knowledge gaps. Develop a research protocol based on the analysis of existing evidence and set up a research plan, analyse and interpret the data and present the findings.

Identify, select and apply appropriate research methods and techniques to collect, analyses and critically interpret data.

Critically reflect on program specific issues, and on ethical and value driven aspects of research and intervention strategies.

Take up a trans-disciplinary role in an interdisciplinary ((inter)national) team dealing with global challenges, and develop a global perspective.

Dialogue and professionally interact with different actors and stakeholders from peers to a general public to convincingly communicate evidence based research findings and project results.

To effectively use appropriate communication and behavioural skills in different language and cultural environments.

Learn to continuously critically reflect (individually and in discussion with others) upon personal knowledge, skills, attitudes, functioning, and develop an attitude of lifelong learning. This includes:
-Design and plan own learning processes.
-Self-Directed Learning: work independently, take initiative, and manage a project through to completion.

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)
-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).

Visit the Nutrition and Rural Development: Tropical Agriculture MSc page on the University of Ghent website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree of min. 3 years with good overall scores (at least a second class upper or equivalent, preferably higher). Results should have been obtained without re-sits and scores of min. 14/20. Applicants must be able to demonstrate through their transcripts adequate knowledge of mathematics, statistics and computer science, organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, plant or animal physiology (depending on the major chosen), physics, lab experience. See course description for further admission details.

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