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MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production (Distance learning)


Course Description

Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to help agriculture to meet the challenges of the 21st century!

This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production MSc 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. Generous bursaries are available to those employed in the UK agri-food sector.

Since this programme is aimed at people who are already working, training is via distance learning often complemented with short optional workshops.

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/sustainable-and-efficient-food-production-distance-learning-masters/

Course Details

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. Generous bursaries are available to those employed in the UK agri-food sector.

Taught by experts at both Aberystwyth University (AU) and Bangor University (BU) through the Advanced Training Partnership (ATP), 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 Methodology and Advances in Biosciences and a Dissertation.

Optional modules include: Ruminant Nutrition, Improved Silage, Improving Ruminant Production, Sustainable Home-grown Feed, Ruminant Gut Microbiology, Low Input Ruminant Production, Ruminant Health and Welfare, Upland Farming Systems, Soil Management, Sustainable Grassland Systems, Carbon Footprinting and Lifecycle Analysis, Ruminant Health and Welfare, Agricultural Genetics and Genomics, Resource Efficient Farming, Anaerobic Digestion*, and Ecosystem Services

(*subject to approval).

Format

Key information:

- Two to five years to complete a full MSc.
- 14 weeks for one module by distance learning.
- Three intakes per year (January, May, September).

Our distance learning modules are designed to be flexible so that you can fit studying around your work and other commitments. A typical Masters student is expected to study for 200 hours when taking a 20 credit module. As a rule of thumb you should anticipate spending approximately 2-3 hours a week on online lectures, presentations and podcasts, and the remaining time on readings and assignments; the more time and effort you can put in, the more you'll benefit from studying the module and the better your grades are likely to be.

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.

Core Modules

Ruminant Nutrition BDM0320
Improving Ruminant Production BDM5420
Silage Science BDM5620

Assessment

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

Find out how to apply here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

Visit the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production (Distance learning) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!



All Available Videos:


(Student Profile)

Mark J

2942.jpg This course looked like it would give me the opportunity to bring myself up to date with the latest research without having to take time away from my farm and young family.
What worried me most was fitting study around the rest of my life – and it was quite intense but, once I had got used to studying via the web, I found it really enjoyable. The videos were easily as good as being in a lecture theater AND had the added bonus that I could pause them (to make a cup of tea!) or replay bits I felt I hadn’t quite got. I also found using the electronic library was an absolute joy in terms of time saved ferreting around in a library. The deadlines throughout the course were good because they meant that I wasn’t falling into the trap of leaving everything until the end. Fitting study around life was a struggle but once I started planning for study time my marks did reflect the extra effort I was able to make.
What I gained was a much broader understanding of loads of topics; for example, the methane debate. The course really highlighted the importance of going back to the source material rather than accepting the word of others. On top of this, learning how to critique research papers has made me much more questioning of claims and their sources.
I have made several small changes to the way I farm as a result of the course.
I am now much more aware of the impact on the rumen of changing diet and as a result I am implementing changes much more slowly; and because of my much deeper understanding I feel confident about the changes that I am making.
The course really got my brain back to work. I loved the level it was pitched at and the challenge that presented.’

(Student Profile)

Sam K

2943.jpg Sam left education at 18, straight after A levels and was lucky enough to get a job with an agricultural consultancy. For the last 12 years he has worked as a consultant and learnt a great deal, but had no formal qualifications to back this up. Aberystwyth University was able to count his years of experience as a consultant as equivalent to a degree and he was accepted as a postgraduate student. Since then he has flown through training in three modules (Ruminant Production, Ruminant Health and Welfare, and Ruminant Gut Microbiology) to gain a postgraduate certificate.

At first Sam was concerned as to how he could possibly fit studying round a working life, but he says he was pleasantly surprised by the design of the course which allowed him the scope to balance work and study, and kept him motivated. For instance, he found being able to listen to podcast lectures in the car a great way to learn whilst driving between farms. Interacting on the forums with his fellow students (all of whom were working too) sparked some great discussions and really made him feel connected.

Sam says:
“The course not only backed up the knowledge I have gained as a consultant but also gave me a much better understanding of the bigger picture. Most farmers are aware of the environmental impacts of farming but many are unsure what they can do on the farm to reduce these. I am now able to give much more comprehensive advice on both the environmental and economic impacts – which often go hand-in-hand.”

So what’s next for Sam? He seems to have got the learning bug. Now he realises that it is possible to study while working he is intending to build upon his recent success by applying for a Nuffield scholarship. He is certainly more than capable.


Scholarships

Entry Requirements

All modules are taught at postgraduate level (Level 7). Candidates must hold at least a second class Honours degree in agricultural or biological science, or a closely related discipline. Applications from mature candidates with relevant experience are welcome and will be given equal consideration. Non-graduates must: Have at least 24 months of relevant full-time work experience in an agri-food industry.

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Recipient: Aberystwyth University

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