MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security


Royal Agricultural University Campus


1 year (full time) or 2+ years (part time)

Academic Year

Commences either 30 September 2024 or 27 January 2025

This course will equip you with the specialist knowledge and skills needed by governments, NGOs, commercial companies, and farms as they respond to some of today's biggest challenges within the agriculture and food sectors.

Course overview

You will delve into critical issues such as the human exploitation of the Earth’s resources, poverty alleviation and food security, and the ethical and cultural implications of policy development. You will study five core modules covering understanding and improving agricultural and food supply systems. You can then select three electives to enable further specialisation including crops, livestock, management, and different system approaches.

Practical exercises which are embedded into your study will prepare you for a successful career including preparing tenders, presentations, and group assignments. This programme attracts students from around the globe. This is a key part of the study experience; working on a range of tasks using examples from around the world and drawing on each other's knowledge and experiences. You will gain skills including critical analysis, open-mindedness, and reflection as well as technical knowledge.

If you are driven by a desire to shape public and political attitudes, this is the ideal environment in which to develop a strategic and operational mind-set in a way that will expand your own opinions and those of global decision-makers.

Our renowned lecturers and researchers will guide you through theoretical study and practical exercises that will prepare you for a successful career in a wide range of organisations. 

Course content

The course may be studied full-time over 12 months, comprising five core modules and three elective modules, followed by a Research Project carried out over the summer culminating in a review of a key topic and an academic paper. You can enter the programme in either September or January.

You will gain a broader understanding of relevant issues through knowledge acquisition, intellectual enquiry, debate, and team/individual research.

In addition to lectures, you will participate in case studies, seminars and management projects. This approach fosters teamwork and complements individual study and student learning.

The in-person teaching sessions are timetabled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with core modules mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. This means your presence on campus would depend on a combination of your elective modules and core modules each semester. This scheduling allows you to fulfil other commitments you may have, such as work, family and interests. For part-time students the module sessions are timetabled with fewer days a week.

The modules available for this course are shown below. They may change for your year of study as we regularly review our module offerings to ensure they’re informed by the latest research and teaching methods.


  • 4038a Integrated Agricultural Systems: Explore complex systems including agroforestry, regenerative agriculture and vertical farming
  • 4201 Poverty and Food Security: Examine the inter-relationships between poverty and food security
  • 4250 International Rural Development: Critically engage with normative and historical concepts of development theory and practice
  • 4409 Facing the global challenges in food and agriculture: Discuss challenges affecting food production, including the global population increase and the energy crisis
  • 4413 Research Skills: Develop research competencies related to data collection and analysis
  • 4727 Managing Global Soils in a Changing Climate: Understand the fundamentals of soil processes key to protecting this precious resource
  • 4414 Research Dissertation: Undertake an independent research project with guidance from a supervisor

PLUS a choice of THREE elective modules (all modules 15 credits each):

  • 4203 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply: Examine how small scale farmers contribute to food systems on a national and global scale
  • 4262 Sustainable Business Strategy: Investigate how businesses can embed sustainability into their core business models
  • 4263 Entrepreneurship and Business Planning: Understand and critically evaluate the linkages between entrepreneurship and venture creation, development and growth
  • 4278 Organic Systems: Understand the agroecological principles and practices of organic systems
  • 4722 Climate Change and Sustainability: Critically assess the causes and impacts of climate change
  • 4723 Crop Technology and Innovation: Gain an understanding of the various technologies applied to improve crop production globally
  • 4724 Environmental Science in Agriculture: Develop practical skills in interpreting environmental data within agricultural contexts
  • 4725 Environmental Technology and Innovation: Develop creative solutions for sustainable farming landscape transformation
  • 4726 Livestock Production Technology and Innovation: Appraise the science behind different livestock technologies and evaluate their benefits, disadvantages and applications in different real-life systems

The availability of electives to individual students will be dependent on timetabling considerations and on sufficient students electing to take part.

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

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Careers and graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to enter production, policy, and research and consultancy careers in the agricultural and food quality sector, within:
  • International organisations - United Nations (UN), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) etc
  • Government departments in various countries
  • NGOs internationally - Envrionment Agency, National Farmers' Union (NFU), Country Landowners Association (CLA) etc
  • Research institutes​

"Every module was a new adventure, taking us from our familiar UK landscape right across the world. Led by academics who were extremely knowledgeable and very often leaders in their field, it was also packed with opportunities for independent research and problem solving. I cannot recommend this course more highly.
Life changing."

Iris McCormick, Graduate

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Entry requirements

An Undergraduate Honours Degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or overseas equivalent, or a professional qualification and/or experience considered to be equivalent to the above. For information on international qualifications, please, see our country specific pages. For countries not listed please contact

We welcome applications from applicants with non-standard qualifications who are able to demonstrate knowledge, experience and skills developed in the workplace or elsewhere and which are relevant to the programme of study. Applicants will need to use their personal statement to provide further details supported by a CV. All non-standard applications will be considered by the Programme Manager on a case-by-case basis and applicants can expect that an interview may be required as part of the admissions process.

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our English language requirements for the level of study. For postgraduate taught programmes this is IELTS Academic min. overall 6.5 with no element below 5.5 (or equivalent). English language tests usually have a validity of two years from the date the test is taken.

Offers will typically be made in line with the academic requirements set out above. Offers can be conditional or unconditional. An unconditional offer will be made to applicants who have already met the conditions and provided evidence that conditions have been met. Where academic or language requirements have not yet been fulfilled, applicants will receive a conditional offer stating the requirements that must be met. 

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Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing module fees, or dissertation extensions).

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are:  

  UK Overseas/EU
Full-time £10,950 per year £18,050 per year

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.

Please note: International students can study on a part-time basis only if they are in the UK with a different type of visa (other than Student Visa/Tier 4 General) that allows them to undertake part-time study and their visa does not expire prior to the end date of the proposed course of study.


The University offers a range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the scholarships, awards and bursaries available, please visit the scholarships webpage.

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