< International Master's Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security : MSc (research) (Full Time)

Contact Information

If you encounter any difficulties accessing Online Courses Handbook information you should contact the student registry:

If you require further details in relation to academic content you should contact the appropriate academic department directly.


International Master's Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

MSc (research) (Full Time)

UCAS Code: 
Minimum Length:21 Month(s)
Maximum Length:21 Month(s)
Credit Points:300
Director of Studies:Dr IC Dodd

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

back to top

The range of transferable skills that students are expected to gain includes:
- IT literacy in mainstream word-processing, analysis and presentation software
- Presenting information in verbal, electronic and hardcopy media
- Numerical skills, including statistical analysis
- Practical laboratory and field skills
- The ability to critically analyse and interpret data.

The taught element of the course, which accounts for 30% of the final assessment, provides students with a basic understanding of the principles of sustainable agriculture, with particular emphasis on optimising crop resource use efficiency based on an analysis of crop resource inputs and economic outputs. Linking crop production outcomes (both economic production, and environmental risks associated with these) to national / international policy objectives of food security is developed as a key theme within the course. Social and political considerations of food security are developed via modules run in association with the Management School and Institute of Advanced Studies.

A range of transferable skills modules are available to students through the joint science faculty Graduate Training Programme. Transferable skills (scientific writing, statistical methods, computing, presentation skills, project management etc.) are also developed throughout the taught modules and the extended research project. On completion of the taught component of the course, the students undertake an extended research project which comprises the remaining 70% of the degree. The projects are tailored to allow the students to develop particular areas of speciality relating to agricultural sciences and technology. The framework of the project enables students to enhance problem solving methodologies through the focussed application of appropriate scientific methodologies.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

back to top

Students completing the MSc programme will be expected to have gained transferable skills, subject specific knowledge and scientific methodology to Masters level. In addition to these outcomes, which are considered in more detail below, the course nurtures working relationships between students and active researchers/practitioners both internally and externally.


Transferable skills outcomes

Transferable skills achieved through varied methods of delivery and assessment of the subject specific modules which include group presentations, reports and essays, and associated practical and analytical work. The individual research projects consolidate and extend transferable skills both through the execution of the research work and the writing of the associated thesis. The range of transferable skills that students are expected to gain includes:
                       IT literacy in industry standard word processing, analysis and presentation software.
                       Presenting information in verbal, electronic and hardcopy media.
                       Numeracy, including mathematical and statistical modelling.
                       Project management.
                       Interpersonal skills in group settings.
                       Self management and motivation.
Subject specific knowledge outcomes

Subject specific knowledge is developed through research informed teaching and associated reading. Initially this is achieved through the subject specific modules that employ a range of delivery and assessment styles including lectures, practical workshops (including paper based, computer based, laboratory based and site based studies), and seminars. Students are expected to self learn using reference material to further develop their perceptual models, and to field visits are provided illustrate the associated practicalities. More depth to subject specific knowledge is added through the specialisation of students in their chosen research projects. The range of subject specific knowledge that students are expected to gain is reflected in the breadth of modules available in the taught programme. These cover a broad range of science and technology modules.
Scientific methodology outcomes

Students' scientific methodology is developed at all stages of the programme and in particular through their chosen research projects. Initially, scientific method is nurtured through the written and verbal feedback of staff to students during the taught elements of the programme, along with the exposure of students to the scientific literature. The research project affords the opportunity for closer staff student interactions where a critique of scientific method occurs within a research active environment. The range of scientific disciplines that students are expected to gain include:
Developing a robust scientific argument.
Formulating and testing hypotheses.
Assessing contrasting scientific theories.
Identifying, abstracting and synthesising scientific information.
Problem solving and decision making.
Identifying, abstracting and synthesising scientific information
The use of experimentation within a scientific problem solving exercise.
Handling complexity and uncertainty.

Structure, Features and Regulations: Compulsory and Optional Modules

back to top

Compulsory Modules

LEC.501  Dissertation Project

LEC.502  Dissertation Project (Year 2 - overseas placement)

BIOL420  Agriculture, Food Security and climate change

LEC.427  Crop Protection

LEC.428  Sustainable Soils Management

Optional Modules

Select THREE optional modules.  Your number of credits across core and optional modules must total 300 (305 is acceptable).  You should aim to balance your taught modules across each term OR take more in the earlier terms.

BIOL405  Biological Effects of Air Pollution and Climate Change

BIOL 421 Data Analysis and Interpretation

ECOL413  Using the National Vegetation Survey (Summer – 1 week)

ECOL414   Habitat Management

ECOL415  Conservation Biology

ECOL418   Wildlife Population Ecology

ECOL419  Wildlife Monitoring Techniques

LEC 430 Behaviour of Pollutants in the Environment

ENV407 Catchment Protection (Lent Vacation Week 1)

ENV431  Pollution Microbiology

ENV434  Contaminated Land and Remediation

GEOG410  Perspectives on Environment and Development

GEOG414  Environmental Management

GEOG421  Sustainable Water Management: Concepts, Governance and Practice

LEC.430  Behaviour of Pollutants in the Environment

LEC 431 Sustainable Systems

LEC.433  International Summer School: Food, Security and Environmental Issues in China

LL.M5237   Right to Adequate Food as a Human Right

LL.M5238  Environmental Law

ENV460  Numerical skills (unassessed study module to be taken as required)

Work/Study Placement

During Lent term of Year I, students will liaise with the DoS, LEC and Overseas Partner Institution academic and business (where appropriate) supervisors to develop a project. Following the Lent exams, a detailed plan and literature review will be produced by the student, which will be scrutinised by the supervisors (LEC and Overseas Partner Institution). Following approval, the students will travel overseas in late August/early September to continue the practical aspects of their project. The student will be required to submit quarterly reports to both supervisors and participate in a teleconference to review progress and plan subsequent phases. Thestudent will be expected to submit their thesis late in June of the 2nd year and will be assessed by the LEC supervisor and another academic.


Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201