Sustainable and Efficient Food Production

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

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent.  Non-graduates must have at least 24 months of relevant full-time work experience in an agri-food industry.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Key Facts

This course has 3 intakes per year, meaning you can start in January, May or September.

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 £800, dissertation cost £1,800

Fees are required to be paid in full before training commences.


Funding opportunities may be available, please check the funding calculator for details.

International scholarships:

International scholarships of up to 80% are available: Find out more and apply at 


For more information on the course or entrance requirements, please contact

For more information on the application process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office at or +44 (0) 1970 622270. 

Course Overview

Why study Sustainable and Efficient Food Production via distance learning at Aberystwyth University?

  • Our training has been designed to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. The course is entirely online, enabling you to study when and where (provided you have Internet access) is convenient for you.
  • This course is highly flexible. With a wide range of option modules available, you are able to pick and choose the modules you wish to study according to your needs and interests. We also work closely with Bangor University, which means that you can also take relevant Bangor modules as part of your studies.
  • Taught by experts at both Aberystwyth University (AU) and Bangor University (BU), this course offers you a highly vocational option.
  • The Institute of Biological, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Aberystwyth University has 1000 ha of farmland, a 400 cow dairy unit, upland and lowland sheep and beef units and a flock of layer hens. IBERS livestock-related research was worth in excess of £20 million in the last 5 years.
  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) review of university achievement, 78% of our research was classed as world-leading or internationally excellent, and 76% of our work was recognised as having a practical applied impact on society at a world-class level.
  • Our most recent joint submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) was the 5th strongest submission in the UK and placed our Department in the top 10 universities in the UK for research intensity. 
  • IBERS has previously been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and we received the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' award at the 2013 Times Higher Education Award
  • A three year version is available for those in receipt of a student loan.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Research Methods BDM0120 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Business Management for Rural Entrepreneurs BDM8320 20
Genetics and Genomics in Agriculture BDM5820 20
Grassland Systems BDM5120 20
Nuffield Scholarship Project (Post-Completion) BDM1840 40
Organic and Low Input Ruminant Production BDM7520 20
Plant Breeding BDM8420 20
Ruminant Gut Microbiology BDM2820 20
Ruminant Nutrition BDM0320 20
Ruminant Production BDM5420 20
Silage Science BDM5620 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Dissertation BDM3560 60

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Learning & Teaching

How will I learn?

Modules can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest, or they can be built towards a variety of postgraduate qualifications. To complete a full MSc, you can take between 2 to 5 years, and you must complete five option modules (including up to three from BU) plus the core Research Methods module and a Dissertation.

The training is entirely web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material for each 14 week module includes recorded lectures from academics and industry experts, presentations, podcasts, e-group projects, guided readings, 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.

The research elements of this qualification are usually carried out in your workplace with regular academic supervision. However, there are also opportunities for research projects to be based at IBERS. Please ask us if this option would be of interest to you.

A typical Masters student is expected to study for 200 hours when taking a 20 credit module. 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 will benefit from studying the module and the better your grades are likely to be.

What will I learn?

Students undertaking the full MSc must complete a core module which prepares them for independent research and a 60 credit research dissertation. Up to 3 option modules may be taken from those offered by Bangor University.

There are a wide range of option modules available including: Ruminant Nutrition (AU), Silage Science (AU), Global Ruminant Production (AU), Sustainable Home-grown Feed (AU), Ruminant Gut Microbiology (AU), Organic and Low Input Ruminant Production (AU), Ruminant Health and Welfare (AU), Genetics and Genomics in Agriculture (AU),  Sustainable Grassland Systems (AU), Smallholder Agriculture (AU), Farm Business Management (AU), Plant Breeding (AU), Upland Farming Systems (BU), Soil Management (BU), Carbon Footprinting and Lifecycle Analysis (BU), Resource Efficient Farm Management (BU), and Agro Ecosystem Services (BU).

Further information on modules can be found via the modules tab.

How will I be assessed?

There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via coursework (namely reports and essays, but also literature reviews, case studies, business plans and data analysis tasks), presentations and forum discussion.