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Food and Water Security (Biosciences) (MSc)

Course Description

Floods in India, drought in Australia; growing obesity in China and the US, famine in Sudan.

Are you interested in understanding the most urgent global challenge in the 21st Century? Would you like to have the knowledge and skills to make a contribution to solving these problems? Do you want to know how the sciences and social sciences can work together? If yes, then perhaps the MSc in Food and Water Security at Aberystwyth University is the right choice for you. Fuelled by population growth, climate change and political and economic decisions, the problems of sustaining food production and access to clean water are experienced across the world, and solving them requires curiosity, passion, as well as new and collaborative approaches that bridge traditional disciplinary boundaries. Taught by world-class experts from across the University the MSc in Food and Water Security is a unique course which introduces students to the scientific, economic, social and political factors that contribute to both the problems and their remedies.

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/food-and-water-security-masters/

- Duration:
One year full-time or two years part-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters:
September to January; January to June; June to September.

- Contact Time:
Roughly 12-16 a week in the first two semesters.
During semester three you will work on your Dissertation, arranging your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


Effective food and water security is contingent on all people in a given area having access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food and an adequate supply of clean water. Though in the developed western world such factors remain relatively stable, the same cannot be said in relation to the developing world. This issue, coupled with the ever increasing size of the global population, makes meeting the world’s demand for food and water one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. The MSc in Food and Water is a response to this issue. It is the result of a collaborative interdisciplinary effort on behalf of three of Aberystwyth university’s world class academic departments: the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES) and the Department of International Politics. This multidisciplinary approach means that you will be able to view the issue of food and water security through three unique conceptual lenses and draw on these ideas to form a comprehensive understanding of this emerging field of research.

The MSc in Food and Water Security is based on modules which introduce the subject through different disciplinary approaches. You will be asked to identify the area you wish to develop for your dissertation which might be based in the sciences or social-sciences, or may link the two approaches. You also have the option to undertake work experience or field research (arranged by the students) in a local, national or international organisation and write a research report based on their experience. Hence this MSc is designed to equip you to progress to a wide range of careers in both the public and commercial sectors, but also provides you a foundation for further research in this vital area. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, IBERS was placed in the top 10 universities in the UK for its research intensity, and 78% of research is world-leading or internationally excellent.


Qualification: MSc in Food and Water Security

This degree will suit you:
- If you are passionate about the most difficult global problems of the 21st Century
- If you are curious about the scientific, economic, social and political explanations for these problems and are interested in contributing to their solution
- If you wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification from a research-led University which boasts an excellent reputation for work in Food and Water Security
- If you wish to enter a career in an industry or organisation that is helping to manage these problems

- Employability:
Graduates of the MSc in Food and Water Security will be ideally qualified for employment in organisations dealing with the most urgent problems facing the world today. Governments recognise that managing food and water security successfully at national, regional and global levels will require accurate research into the scientific possibilities and their political and social feasibility. Demand for well-qualified, passionate graduates who understand the multi-disciplinary nature of the problems will only rise.

Hence, the knowledge and the practical skills you will develop on this MSc will make you very attractive to a wide range of employers in the private and public sectors. As a scientist, you will understand the political, social and economic explanations and solutions for the main problems you will encounter in your work; as a social scientist, you will have the basic technical competency to understand the science behind the main issues in Food and Water Security. Alternatively, you may decide to continue your research in this area which is likely to receive growing levels of funding. The international reputation of Aberystwyth’s research in Food and Water Security will give your qualifications and expertise real credibility

Key Skills and Competencies
- Knowledge Base:
The MSc in Food and Water Security is a genuinely interdisciplinary programme, and therefore students will be introduced to a wide range of approaches, problems and possible solutions to these most pressing problems – from the natural and the social sciences.

Each module caters to students with widely different experiences of natural and social sciences and provides all students with a common level of knowledge and understanding of key topics relating to food and water security. In addition, modules – both core and optional –focus on more specialised branches of knowledge and allow students to gain a set of rigorous scientific and social scientific skills.

- Transferable Skills:
As the MSc in Food and Water Security combines the extensive disciplinary knowledge of IBERS, IGES and the Department of International Politics the skills and competencies that you will gain from this course will, by necessity, have a high level of transferability. The varied methods of assessment within the different disciplines of the degree are designed to enable you to excel, whatever your learning style. They will also equip you with the ability, indispensable in this field, to communicate with the diversity of its key audiences, ranging from scientific conferences to political committees to public meetings.

You will build on the skills gained in your first degree, and any career experience you have had since, to plan research, gather and analyse data, and report your findings at an appropriate level. You will work both on your own initiative and as part of a project group, gaining understanding of your own style in group contexts and learning to understand and appreciate the style of others. You will broaden your understanding of the variety and depth of feeling which surrounds issues of food and water security in different communities, nations and cultures, and thereby broaden your understanding and sympathies across a range of issues.

Find out how to apply here http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/food-and-water-security-masters/#how-to-apply

Visit the Food and Water Security (Biosciences) (MSc) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Marshal Papworth Scholarship for Environmental Studies - 4 Awards

Aberystwyth University is pleased to be able to offer a number of Scholarships within our world class Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.Programmes available under scholarship:- MSc Food and Water Security
- MSc Livestock Science
- MSc Animal Science
- MSc Managing the Environment
- MSc Green Biotechnology and InnovationEach student obtaining a scholarship must intend to return to their own country to utilise their skills for the benefit of their own countrymen.Contact Dr Mina Davies- Morrel for more details - [email protected]

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full Fees & on average £8000 living costs


See Marshal Papworth for Scholarship application details and country eligibility. http://www.marshalpapworth.com/applications/application-process.htmlCriteria judged on - qualifications, work and job related experiences and the standard of the application form.

Application Procedure

See Marshal Papworth for Scholarship application details. http://www.marshalpapworth.com/applications/application-process.htmlSee Aberystwyth University for course and application details.


International Food and Water Security Masters Scholarship - 6 Awards

The new scholarships are part of IBERS £500,000 (~ $ US 0.8 million) five year masters scholarship initiative, and part of IBERS vision to play a major role in addressing the global challenges of food, water and energy security through training of postgraduate students 6 International Food and Water Security Masters Scholarships, each valued at £10,000, are available to applicants of the MSc Food and Water Security scheme for 2013-14
The scholarships are not open to UK or EU applicants
Closing date for 2013 : MSc Application closing date to be considered for a 2013 IBERS International Food and Water Security Masters Scholarship is 1st May 2013. If you do not wish to be considered for a Scholarship, there is no closing date for applications for just the MSc course.

Value of Scholarship(s)



International Students only. The scholarships are not open to UK or EU applicants

Application Procedure

A separate application form for an IBERS International Food and Water Security Scholarship will not be required. However, a separate Scholarship letter addressing the points below must be included with the standard student MSc course application. The closing date for Scholarship applications is 1st May 2013. Candidates will be notified of an offer of a 2013 Scholarship via email by Michelle Allen ([email protected]), the IBERS Postgraduate Coordinator. Your Scholarship letter must address the following points :
- Motivation for your application.
- How your previous experience links to/supports your application.
- What you hope to gain from the course.
- How the course fits with your career plan.
- Other possible sources of funding that you have, or you are currently, investigating.
- How you will use your training to benefit society/your home country.Awardees will need to confirm their acceptance of this opportunity via email to Michelle Allen ([email protected]) and copied to Aberystwyth University Postgraduate Admissions by no later than 31st July 2013

Further Information



International Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The scholarships will be awarded for academic excellence (minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree or the equivalent award, either already achieved or predicted by the candidate’s awarding university).In order to be considered for one of these awards, an application for a place on a taught Masters degree at Aberystwyth University must be received by 31st August 2015.Up to 72 scholarships worth £2500 towards tuition fees for full-time non-EU students on taught Masters courses are available for students who commence their studies in September 2015 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Up to 72 scholarships, each worth £2,500 towards tuition fees will be available for non-UK/EU students commencing full-time Taught Masters courses in September 2015.

Application Procedure

Separate application forms are not required. Therefore it is essential that the application for a place be received by the AU Postgraduate Admissions Office by 31st August 2015 at the very latest. Selection will be on the basis of academic excellence and the applicant’s suitability for their proposed course. A minimum (UK) 2.i Honours (or equivalent) is required for an award. Information on the comparability of non-UK degrees is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/before-you-apply/comparability/.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in any subject, though some familiarity with science is an advantage. We particularly welcome applicants with relevant experience in the area of Food and Water Security. However, those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

Course Fees

Full-time: UK/EU £6,000, International £12,250; Part-time: UK/EU £3,000, International £6,125

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