Our course provides specialist skills and knowledge about the most important issues related to the sustainability of agricultural production and food security. Our MSc 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: 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 and a need to increase food production whilst minimising the impact on the environment.
The course covers all aspects of food security as outlined by Global Food Security, a multi-agency programme involving the main UK public sector funders of research and training related to food.
You will benefit from being taught by lecturers who are industry-experienced and research active.
Dr Julia Cooper, Degree Programme Director, is an experienced researcher in the area of soil security and nutrient dynamics who has worked in the UK, Asia and Africa in sustainable agriculture research and education. She has managed research projects focused on improving resource use efficiency in both organic and conventional crop production systems. Currently she supervises several PhD students studying methods of optimising soil management for microbial community function.
Staff profiles related to research in Integrated Agricultural Production.
On the MSc 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.
The course 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
This course is taught in a block format:
- a five-week teaching block
- then two-week teaching blocks
You will be taught through lectures, seminars, practical and field classes, tutorials, case studies and small group discussions. We expect you to undertake independent study outside of these structured sessions. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through written examinations, coursework, presentations and your final major project.
You will be supported through training in designing and delivering a project based on a laboratory or field-based investigation. After choosing your topic you will collect, analyse and interpret data to produce a thesis reporting your investigation and results in a critical manner.
We offer flexible learning for those already working in industry, or you can study through the Credit Accumulation Transfer Scheme which is a framework that 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.
Our facilities and our teaching staff ensure you are fully supported in your studies.
Our multi-purpose farms provide demonstration facilities for teaching and land-based research facilities (especially in the area of organic production). They are also viable farming businesses.
Cockle Park Farm
Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm facility.
It includes the Palace Leas Plots hay meadow experiment and a new anaerobic digestion plant. The plant will generate heat, electricity and digestate - an organic fertiliser - from pig and cattle manure.
Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with two main units covering conventional and organic farming systems. The two systems are focused on dairy and arable cropping.
They also operate beef production enterprises as a by-product of dairy, although the organic system is unique in maintaining a small-scale potato and vegetable production enterprise.
Our modern laboratories provide important teaching and research environments and are equipped with analytical equipment such as High-performance liquid chromatography, GCs, CNS analyser, centrifuges, spectrophotometers and molecular biology equipment.
Our specialist research facilities include:
- a tissue culture laboratory
- plant growth rooms
- a class II laboratory for safe handling of human biological samples
- taste panel facilities and test kitchen
- a thin section facility for soil analysis
We work closely with other schools, institutes and the University's Central Scientific Facilities for access to specialist analytical services. When working with human subjects we use a purpose built Clinical Research Facility. This is situated in the Royal Victoria Infirmary teaching hospital. It is managed jointly by us and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
nu-food Food and Consumer Research Facility
The NU-Food, Food and Consumer Research Facility has undergone a £700,000 refurbishment and now boasts a culinary training suite and a sensory laboratory and food handling facility (PDF: 281KB), all supported by multi-functional rooms and a reception.