MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production

Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to help agriculture to meet the challenges of the 21st century!

This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production MSc centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. The programme provides flexible, accessible, postgraduate level training for people employed in the agri-food sector. Training comprises distance learning modules and work-based research projects. These are accessible as CPD or as credit-bearing units, which can be built towards a range of postgraduate qualifications. Generous bursaries are available to those employed in the UK agri-food sector.

Since this programme is aimed at people who are already working, training is via distance learning often complemented with short optional workshops.

Key Facts

Duration:

Two to five years to complete a full MSc. 14 weeks for one module by distance learning Three intakes per year (January, May, September).

Our distance learning modules are designed to be flexible so that you can fit studying around your work and other commitments. A typical Masters student is expected to study for 200 hours when taking a 20 credit module. As a rule of thumb you should anticipate spending approximately 2-3 hours a week on online lectures, presentations and podcasts, and the remaining time on readings and assignments; the more time and effort you can put in, the more you'll benefit from studying the module and the better your grades are likely to be.

Contact Time:

We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each topic comprises a 12-14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the full five years.

Assessment:

There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion.

Entry Requirements:

All modules are taught at postgraduate level (Level 7). Candidates must hold at least a second class Honours degree in agricultural or biological science, or a closely related discipline. Applications from mature candidates with relevant experience are welcome and will be given equal consideration.

Non-graduates must:

§  Have at least 24 months of relevant full-time work experience in an agri-food industry.

Relevant experience will be determined by the University. If you have employment experience which you consider may be equivalent to a degree, please give details of positions held, dates of employment, responsibilities within the position held and employer contact details on a separate sheet.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Module cost £750 / £450 for those eligible for a bursary

Fees are required to be paid in full before training commences. If you are employed full-time within the UK Agri-food sector you may qualify to receive a bursary. Examples of sectors which qualify are: supermarket supply chain advisors, farmers and farm managers, agri-supplies, vets, agri-environmental advisors, agricultural consultants. We regret that teaching staff in HE establishments do NOT qualify for bursaries. Please contact the ATP office for more information. Email: atp-enquiries@aber.ac.uk

Bursary eligibility information can be found here: ATP website

Overview

Course Details

This Sustainable and Efficient Food Production postgraduate course centres on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental impact within the extensive pasture-based production sector. The programme provides flexible, accessible, postgraduate level training for people employed in the agri-food sector. Training comprises distance learning modules and work-based research projects. These are accessible as CPD or as credit-bearing units, which can be built towards a range of postgraduate qualifications. Generous bursaries are available to those employed in the UK agri-food sector.

Taught by experts at both Aberystwyth University (AU) and Bangor University (BU) through the Advanced Training Partnership (ATP), the Sustainable and Efficient Food Production course offers you a highly vocational option. In the most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014), the department was placed in the top 10 universities in the UK for research intensity and 78% of our research was world-leading or internationally excellent.

To achieve an MSc students must complete five optional modules (including up to three from BU) plus Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences and a Dissertation.

Optional modules include: Ruminant Nutrition, Improved Silage, Improving Ruminant Production, Sustainable Home-grown Feed, Ruminant Gut Microbiology, Low Input Ruminant Production, Ruminant Health and Welfare, Upland Farming Systems, Soil Management, Sustainable Grassland Systems, Carbon Footprinting and Lifecycle Analysis, Ruminant Health and Welfare, Agricultural Genetics and Genomics, Resource Efficient Farming, Anaerobic Digestion*, and Ecosystem Services

(*subject to approval).

Course Duration: Maximum 5 years for MSc

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Options You may choose any of the following modules commencing in January (14 weeks).

Semester 1

Ruminant Nutrition BDM0320

Improving Ruminant Production BDM5420

Silage Science BDM5620

Options You may choose any of the following modules commencing in May (14 weeks). NB: Research methods & advances in biosciences (BDM5520) is compulsory for this course.

Options You may choose any of the following modules commencing in September (14 weeks). NB: Research methods & advances in biosciences (BDM5520) is compulsory for this course.

Core (60 Credits) You must take the dissertation

How to Apply

Contact Us

ATP course enquiries

Telephone: 01970 823224

Email: atp-enquiries@aber.ac.uk

You can apply by completing the forms below and forwarding them to:

ATP Admissions Office

Stapledon Building, IBERS

Aberystwyth University

Gogerddan Campus

Aberystwyth

SY23 3EE

* Before applying please make sure to read the guidance notes

ATP guidance notes

ATP application form

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Modules

The menu of optional distance-learning modules available is:

Improved Silage (AU) This module will develop the trainee’s knowledge of modern forage and grain ensilage systems; and their skill to integrate recent research into their work.

Sustainable Home-grown Feed (AU) The role of novel feeds and forages in improving animal production, whilst helping to meet and mitigate climate change challenges, will be evaluated.

Improving Ruminant Production (AU) The focus of this module is ruminants: reproductive technology, genetic improvement, dairy cattle production systems, meat production systems, meat and milk quality, and disease prevention and management.

Ruminant Nutrition (AU) Trainees will develop understanding of: Digestion and metabolism of nutrients, ecology of the rumen and methods used to modify it; and methods used to modify characteristics of meat and milk.

Sustainable Grassland Systems (AU) Trainees will develop in depth knowledge of pasture based systems and learn to develop management plans towards optimizing meat/milk quality and yields; and conservation requirements. The potential of new forage crops will be explored.

Carbon Footprinting and Life Cycle Assessment (BU) This module will provide a theoretical and critical analysis of the practice and application of Carbon Footprinting (CF) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as key tools in assessing the environmental impact of agricultural systems.

Soil Management (BU) This training will equip delegates to undertake soil quality assessments both in the field and laboratory, critically evaluate the results, and utilise these in the design of sustainable soil management regimes.

Upland Farming Systems (BU) Trainees will gain insight into the UK’s upland farming systems and the pressures upon them. They will identify drivers of change and viable responses to these.

Resource Efficient Farm Management (BU) This module looks at practices to optimise efficiency and minimise impact.

Agriculture and Society (BU) Trainees will examine current perspectives on ethical issues surrounding food production.

Agro Ecosystem Services Assessment (BU) This module introduces ecosystem services approach to assessing pasture-based food production.

Ruminant Health and Welfare (AU) Focuses on diseases of most concern and on adapting systems to reduce the disease risk. Students can specialise in: dairy, beef or sheep.

Agricultural Genetics and Genomics (AU) This module focuses on the challenges facing land based production and the role of emerging technologies to meet these challenges sustainably.

Low Input Ruminant Production (AU) This module examines the concepts behind ruminant production in a low input or organic system and considers alternative production methods.

Ruminant Gut Microbiology (AU) The module evaluates methods used to investigate rumen microbiology and reviews of ways of manipulating rumen fermentation to improve productivity whilst decreasing the environmental footprint. 

Core Modules

BDM5520 - Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences

The compulsory module- Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences - is available three times a year so that students can fit it around their optional modules. This module must be taken before you begin your research project.

BDM3560 - ATP Dissertation (60 Credits)

The compulsory module– ATP Dissertation – can be started in any semester. This module should only be taken when Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences has been completed and will involve a work-plan developed with your ATP tutor, academic supervisor and employer (if relevant).