Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (MSc)

the United Kingdom

For more information about Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at Newcastle University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
12 Months

Domestic course fees
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How you will study

Course starts
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International course fees
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All study options

About Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at Newcastle University

Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security.

This master's in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security is suitable if you have an interest in sustainable agriculture and food security and want to develop a broad knowledge of the subject.

Sustainable agriculture and food security focuses on the availability of food now and in the future. This is a major concern of scientific and commercial communities world-wide.

The prominence of this subject is driven by:

  • an increasing global population
  • pressure on non-renewable or scarce resources
  • a need to increase food production whilst minimising the impact on the environment

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security master's covers all aspects of food security as outlined by Global Food Security. The Global Food Security is a multi-agency programme involving the main UK public sector funders of research and training related to food.

Industry experienced and research-active lecturers teach on this course.

What you'll learn

This master's in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security is comprised of compulsory and optional modules. The compulsory modules provide a detailed overview of the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security.

Optional modules allow specialisation in one or more of the following five topic areas:

  • socio-economics, marketing and policy development
  • environmental and water management
  • soil and crop management
  • animal production, health and welfare management
  • food quality, safety and nutrition

Approximately half of your credits will be gained through taught modules, which offer an opportunity to learn about a wide range of problems in food security. This is ideal if you have an interest in the subject and do not want to specialise in one topic, or if you want to gain a wide range of knowledge in this area for your career. If you know which area you want to specialise in and are confident that you want to pursue a career in research, then you may find our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security MRes more suitable.

Our staff

Dr Hannah Davis is the Degree Programme Director and an experienced researcher in the area of ruminant nutrition and grazing management. Hannah's research aims to understand how dairy management practices affect milk quality, animal health and environmental impact with a view to optimising sustainable farming systems.

You can also view staff profiles related to research in Agricultural Production.

Our lecturers are industry experienced and research active. Our research in integrated agricultural production focuses on:

  • soil science
  • plant science
  • ecology
  • dairy and beef production

Our research spans a range of scales, from pot – plot – farm – landscape.

Strategic research embraces work on:

  • soil quality
  • rhizosphere function
  • plant-soil feedback
  • soil-carbon dynamics
  • nutrient cycling
  • sustainable livestock

Applied research addresses issues of:

  • climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
  • ecological (organic) farming systems
  • low-input crop systems
  • agriculture-environment interactions

Delivery and teaching methods

This course is taught in four-week teaching blocks.

You'll be taught through:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • practical and field classes
  • tutorials
  • case studies
  • small group discussions

We expect you to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions.

We offer flexible learning for those already working in industry through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme. This framework enables us to award postgraduate-level qualifications using credit-bearing stand-alone modules as 'building blocks' towards a qualification. This means that the credits from modules undertaken within a five-year period can be 'banked' towards the award of a qualification.


NU Farms

Our multi-purpose farms are viable farming businesses. We use them as demonstration facilities for teaching purposes. They also provide land-based research facilities.

Our facilities provide an open innovation platform enabling researchers to work with farmers, industry, and environmental and government stakeholders. Together, they develop innovative solutions for balancing sustainable global food production with a thriving rural economy and protection of the wider environment.

These research facilities help us to understand:

  • the development and functioning of plant and animal hosts, pathogens and their interactions
  • the complex biogeochemical functions of the soil
  • crop and livestock health, welfare and productivity
  • environmental impact
  • interactions between the managed farm environment and the land-air-water interface

We use this fundamental knowledge to:

  • integrate genomics, physiology and agronomy in molecular breeding approaches
  • develop and optimise farming systems

We collect real data from a network of on-farm crop, soil, livestock and environmental sensors. We use this data to calibrate and validate the digital technologies and models that help us in our research and developments.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardMScHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a related subject such as:

  • agriculture
  • soil
  • crop
  • animal
  • food or environmental science
  • biology
  • geography
  • rural
  • consumer
  • economic
  • business and/or marketing studies

We will also consider applicants on an individual basis with lower or non-standard qualifications who have relevant experience in the farming, food and associated industries. 

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry:  IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

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