Taught course

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Royal Agricultural University · Royal Agricultural University

Entry requirements

An Honours degree at upper second level. Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered for entry, following interview with the course manager. Students with other qualifications, including overseas awards and alternative English language qualifications, are advised to contact Admissions to discuss the suitability of their award.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

This MSc combines the principles of sustainable development with an examination of the various systems of food production in the context of providing a secure supply to meet the ever-changing requirements of a growing world population.

This course is ideal for those looking for a career in production, policy, and sustainable development focusing on food or resource consumption in agriculture.

The principal aim is to enable you to gain the specialised knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to contribute effectively and ethically to strategic decision making, opinion forming and operational management for the sustainable development of agricultural and food supply systems.

The following themes underpin the course:

  • Human exploitation of the Earth's resources and the global implications of human development
  • The ecological basis for sustainable natural resource utilisation, including agriculture
  • The role and function of local, national and global institutions, policies and conventions in relation to development, resource exploitation, social, cultural, ethical and inter-generation considerations
  • The application of development paradigms, models and tools to build capacity within communities, institutions and individuals


The course may be studied full-time over 12 months or part-time over two years.

You will study five core modules and three elective modules, followed by the Research Project on a topic related to one of the key themes of the course. The Research Project is introduced in January to be carried out over the summer and submitted at the end of September. It will be presented as a review of the topic and as a research paper.

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.

You will gain a broader understanding of relevant issues through knowledge acquisition, intellectual enquiry, debate, and team/individual research. The course will provide a learning environment that encourages you to explore factors influencing sustainability while at the same time reflecting on your own actions and attitudes, and those of others.

There are two entry points to the programme, either in September or in January.

September entry

Students will study four modules in the autumn term followed by four modules in the spring term, and complete their Research Project by the end of September.

January entry

Students will study four modules in the spring term, complete their Research Project by the end of September, and study four modules in the autumn term.

Modules will be taught in 10 week blocks.


  • Integrated Agricultural Systems
  • Agricultural and Rural Policy
  • Poverty and Food Security
  • Sustainable Management of Soil and Water
  • Development Project Management
  • Research Project

Plus choice of THREE elective modules, selecting at least TWO from:

  • Sustainable Agricultural Intensification
  • Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply
  • Organic Production and Marketing


MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security graduates have gone on to enter production, policy, and research and consultancy careers in the agricultural and food quality sector, within:

  • International organisations
  • Government departments
  • NGOs
  • Research institutes
  • Universities
  • Commercial companies worldwide

Information for international students

For students whose first language is not English, the University will accept International English Language Test (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5 in all elements. Students with other qualifications, including overseas awards and alternative English language qualifiications, should contact Admissions.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and bursaries are available - please check our website for further details.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

John Conway
01285 652531
01285 650219