Newcastle University: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (MSc)

InstitutionNewcastle University View institution profile
Department School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Study type Taught


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.

Staff research:

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.


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. See our Prospectus online for full details.

2 course options

Qualification MSc
Level RQF Level 7
Entry requirements

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

food or environmental science
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.

Location Main Site (Newcastle)
King's Gate
Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle University

Our University

Newcastle University is ranked one of the best in the UK for teaching and learning. We are also a world-leader in academic excellence and original research.

  • Top 200 for Graduate Employability (ranked out of 2300 world universities) in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings(r) 2018
  • First class rating and ranked 20th in the UK for Sustainability (People & Planet's University League 2017)
  • Top 20 targeted by leading graduate employers in the UK (The Graduate Market, 2012-17)
  • Gold award in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017 - the highest rating









Postgraduate study
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