MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security


Royal Agricultural University Campus


1 year (full time)

Academic Year

30 September 2024 to 30 May 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 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 (15 credits)
  • 4201 Poverty and Food Security (15 credits)
  • 4250 International Rural Development (15 credits)
  • 4409 Facing the global challenges in food and agriculture (15 credits)
  • 4413 Research Skills (15 credits)
  • 4727 Managing Global Soils in a Changing Climate (15 credits)
  • 4414 Research Dissertation (45 credits)

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

  • 4203 Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
  • 4262 Sustainable Business Strategy
  • 4263 Entrepreneurship and Business Planning
  • 4278 Organic Systems
  • 4722 Climate Change and Sustainability
  • 4723 Crop Technology and Innovation
  • 4724 Environmental Science in Agriculture
  • 4725 Environmental Technology and Innovation
  • 4726 Livestock Production Technology and Innovation

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​

"I did my dissertation on helping smaller farmers with how they can meet the global food demand and tackle climate change. This inspired me to create my own company."

Ketaki Raut, 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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Applications for 2024 entry will open in Autumn 2023

Applications to study for postgraduate degrees need to be made directly through the University using the online application form via the website.

Alternatively, if you are unable access the online form you can call Admissions on 01285 889 912, or email

We recommend applicants keep a copy of the completed form for their records.

Application deadline:

EU and overseas applicants must submit their application the latest by 17 July
UK applicants should aim to submit their applications the latest by 24 August

Results deadline:

EU and overseas applicants will need to meet their conditions by 1 August.
UK applicants will need to meet their conditions by 31 August

If you are applying for a 2024 Chevening Scholarship you can submit your scholarship application prior to receiving a course offer. Further details can be found on the application timeline and eligibility criteria sections on the Chevening website. N.B. Course applications for entry in September 2024 will open on our website closer to November 2023.

Applicants will be notified via email once a decision has been made and decision letters will be emailed to you. If there is a deadline by which applicants must accept an offer of admission or pay a deposit, this will be stated in the offer letter.

Requests to defer the year of entry will be considered only when an applicant holds an Unconditional offer and need to be submitted in writing to the admissions team. We cannot guarantee that requests will be granted. Decisions on deferral requests are considered at the end of August. If the deferral request is granted applicants will receive a new offer letter with tuition fees which are applicable to their year of entry, at the opening of the next admissions cycle.

LATE APPLICATIONS from UK applicants for September 2023 entry must be fully submitted by 9am on Friday 29 September 2023.
SEPTEMBER 2024 APPLICATIONS will open closer to November 2023. Please check back to our website around this time to apply.