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The University of Edinburgh: Food Security

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


Access to good and healthy food is a basic human right.

However, in 2022, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that about 29.6% of the global population is food insecure. In recent years, the prevalence of food insecurity has increased globally due to a global food shortage.

Several challenges are generating this complex situation, such as:

  • climate shocks

  • finite resources

  • political crises

  • globalisation

  • the Covid-19 pandemic

  • cost of living crisis

  • urbanisation

This MSc programme explores important issues related to food security. It is designed with specific attention on the social and economic aspects of food security. For example, the intersection of food production, distribution, consumption, agriculture, environment, nutrition-related policies, and human behaviour.

What will I learn? Our interdisciplinary MSc will provide you with knowledge and problem-solving skills on the broad topic of food security. You will receive training on quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques that will help you to understand and measure the effect of the drivers of food insecurity. In addition, you will learn how to design effective policies to improve people's food security in developed and developing countries.

Through this programme, you will explore issues such as:

  • social demographics

  • diet and nutrition

  • the transformation of the food system

  • food supply chain

  • trade

  • technology and innovation

  • conservation

  • climate change

You will also learn about the role of genetics in addressing sustainable food production, the importance of orphan crops and the increasing pressures on resources such as water and soil, among other topics.

You will explore how food security has become a critically important issue for societies around the globe. It concerns not only food production systems and supply chains but also development issues such as land tenure, inequality, and the exchange value of commodities.

Is the MSc for me? We welcome students from a wide range of backgrounds, from agricultural and environmental science to economic or political science, among others. This programme is suitable for students who want to better understand how to analyse food security at local and global levels and are interested in developing skills to work towards reducing food insecurity and making the food system more sustainable.

Food security versus food safety and hygiene Please note: the MSc Food Security is not a suitable qualification for those mainly interested in Food Hygiene, Food Safety or related areas.

Please read about this programme carefully and ensure you understand the nature of the programme before you apply. Applicants who do not show a clear understanding of the programme will not be accepted.

Scotland's Rural College This programme is delivered in collaboration with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).

You will benefit from being a fully enrolled student at the University of Edinburgh, as well as access to all of the complementary staff, expertise, and resources at SRUC. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded your degree by the University of Edinburgh.

Accreditation There is no professional accreditation associated with this MSc.

However, some of our students submit their dissertations to the Agricultural Economics Society (AES), or the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAEC), among other professional associations to become members.


Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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