Taught course

Food Security

University of Edinburgh · School of Geosciences

Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an agricultural, ecological, biological or environmental science, engineering, social science, economics, politics or other relevant subject. We may also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with relevant work experience. This programme is not suitable for applicants pursuing a career in food safety/hygiene or related areas. Language requirements: IELTS 7.0 (with no score lower than 6.0 in each section); TOEFL-iBT: Total 100 (with no score lower than 20 in each section). A degree from an English speaking university may be accepted in some circumstances. More information about other qualifications we accept is online: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/international/english * Please note - this Masters is concerned with Food Security, and not Food Safety or Food Hygiene.

Months of entry


Course content

Helping to feed the world in the 21st Century

Graduates will be equipped with the analytical and communication skills to contribute to humanity’s efforts to achieve and sustain food security during the 21st century.

This programme is not suitable for applicants pursuing a career in food science or food safety/hygiene or related areas. Please read the programme description and ensure you understand the nature of the programme before you apply. Applicants who do not show a clear understanding of the programme will not be accepted.

Food security has become a critically important issue for societies around the globe. Interactions between demographics, changes in diet, trade liberalisation, an increased focus on conservation, technological innovations including GM crops, the impact of climate change and new responses to climate change resource limitations (particularly in terms of energy, water and nutrients) all affect food security.

With such a rapid growth in this area, there is an increasing demand for qualified experts to contribute to policy creation and legislation in food production and the supply chain.

This unique MSc offers students the scope and multidisciplinary approach to address all of these issues, as well as an understanding of the technical, agronomic, environmental, economic and socio-political factors that influence food security.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Programme Structure

This MSc programme consists of six taught courses over two semesters, and an individual dissertation project of about 12,000 words.

Compulsory courses typically include*:

  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses*.

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Integrated Resource Planning
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Soil Science Concepts and Application

*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

Field trip

This programme typically includes a field trip providing an opportunity to apply some of the principles of food security to real world scenarios. Past field trips have taken place in Italy.


Graduates of this programme typically go on to work in government and non-governmental agencies as well as international bodies and businesses where they can utilise the invaluable, and highly prized, skills they have acquired on the programme, such as food security assessment.


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* Please note - this Masters is concerned with Food Security, and not Food Safety or Food Hygiene.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Students applying for Food Security may be eligible to apply for funding. For information about funding opportunities visit our GeoSciences Scholarships webpage

Or visit the University's Scholarships and Student Finance Office.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24,36 months

Course contact details

MSc Programme Secretary Elspeth Martin
+44 (0)131 535 4198