Agroecology and Food Security MSc | 2017/18
CLOSE

Campus Map

Working with Coventry University

Working at Coventry University

Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

View current job vacancies.

LOG IN TO THE COVENTRY UNIVERSITY SITE

Staff portal

Access the central point of information for all staff across the University.

LOG IN TO THE STAFF PORTAL

Student Portal

Check your assessments, access Solar and get course information.

LOG IN TO THE STUDENT PORTAL

Agroecology and Food Security MSc 2017/18 entry

Course code:

BEST127

Study options:

1 year full-time, 2-3 years part-time

How to Apply
Location:

Coventry University

Starting:

May 2018

 

Fees:
Faculty:

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:


+44 (0) 24 7765 2152


Overview

Food security is of critical concern globally, making the development of food systems which provide food of high quality and quantity in a sustainable way a research and policy priority.

This innovative master’s in Agroecology and Food Security is designed to prepare you to critically analyse and assess the relationships between agroecological food production and management, farming systems, climate change and the environment.

Ranked 12th in the UK for ‘Geography and Environmental Studies’ (Guardian University Guide 2018) Coventry University has successfully trained graduates for analytical, managerial and policy making roles for the past two decades. They can now be found working all over the world within government agencies, commercial organisations, independent environmental consultancies, universities, colleges and research institutions.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

Employability

Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Student experience

All the support you need, in a top student city

What our students say...

Having been involved in political activism and permaculture I felt that going back to university and doing the Master’s in agroecology and food security would be an interesting thing to do. Having a biology degree has helped complement the knowledge that I have gained on this course. My favourite module is definitely food security and I have enjoyed the lessons on food sovereignty in particular.

Joe McCrohon, MSc Agroecology and Food Security, current student 2016/17

Course information

Provoked by a rapid rise in food prices combined with global economic recession, civil unrest in 2008 heightened awareness of the underlying problems in the agro-food system and the unsustainability of food supply arrangements.

With 890 million people starving, yet 1,500 million overweight, traditional intensive systems of food production have not only failed to feed everyone adequately, but also caused serious long-term harm to society as well as the planet.

On this programme, we aim to provide a deeper professional understanding of contemporary food and agroecological systems and their sustainable management. You will be able to choose from a range of optional modules that focus on aspects of production, management, law and governance.

Your learning will be underpinned by the three pillars of food security: the availability of food – its presence in terms of quantity; the accessibility of food – whether everyone can obtain the food available through purchasing or other means; and the adequacy of food – whether it meets the nutritional and cultural requirements of society and for the individual development of the human being.

Much of your learning will be based on real-world case studies or fieldtrips. Our extensive laboratory facilities also allow you to undertake practical work analysing soil and water for physical, chemical and biological properties.

Modules

Overview

In the final semester, you can carry out an independent piece of research of your choosing, which seeks to develop skills in personal organisation, research and critical thinking, as well as advancing your knowledge in the subject area. Previously, students have looked at food waste, greening of refugee camps along agroecological principles and examining nutrition amongst refugees and examining mitigation of greenhouse gases associated with the smallholder livestock sector.

Modules

  • Semester 1

    Typical pattern of study

    • Food Security 
    • Agroecological Production Systems 
    • Agroecological Techniques and Practices 
    • Stabilisation Agriculture
  • Semester 2

    • Clean Energy, Climate and Carbon 
    • Gender, Food Systems and Natural Resources
  • Optional modules

    2 from the following

    • Ecological Management and Assessment 
    • Environmental Impact Assessment 
    • International Environmental Law 
    • Environmental Observation by Remote Sensing 
  • Semester 3

    • Master’s Project

In more detail...

  • Coventry is ranked 12th in the UK for ‘Geography and Environmental Studies’ in the Guardian University Guide 2018.
  • Strong portfolio of farming-related research in resilient food and water systems, fundamental processes of resilience, community self-organisation for resilience and policies to enable resilient food and water.
  • High levels of postgraduate student satisfaction for teaching of ‘Physical Geography and Environmental Science’ – 91%, above the sector average of 85%, in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2016.
  • Extensive links with a wide range of potential future employers, including Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Organic Research Centre, The Soil Association, European Agroecology Network, The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and many more.
  • Opportunity to study at Garden Organic, located within 10 acres of organic gardens at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, halfway between Rugby and Coventry.  This includes a suite of brand new purpose-built laboratories to support environmental monitoring and access to field and glasshouse facilities.
  • A programme of guest speakers via our Global Leaders Programme (GLP), which in recent years has included the Group Strategy Director of Jaguar Land Rover, a NASA Astronaut and a Vice President of Telefonica Europe, and our CAWR seminar series, which has debated topics such as alternatives to the neo-liberalist food system, peasant farming movements and quantum agriculture.

Opportunity to engage with fieldtrips, which in recent years have for example included Abbey Home Farm (a mixed organic farm).

The four key study themes are:

  • Food security: We trace the development of the food security concept from early ideas, which proposed national self-sufficiency in grain reserves as a solution to hunger in poor countries, to present day. We will examine the current emphasis on efficient functioning global markets in food and the shift to understanding access to food as being based primarily on capacity to purchase, rather than as a fundamental human right. You should gain a full understanding of the way in which the food security concept has evolved in relation to changing political ideologies, together with the implications of these changes for households, regions and countries around the globe. We will consider key food security challenges and their causes, as well as the different solutions, comparing examples from developing and developed countries

  • Agroecological production systems: Introduces you to the scientific basis of crop selection, crop and livestock breeding and a systems approach to agricultural production. Adopting an international perspective, we study a wide variety of agricultural systems involving interactions between trees, crops, livestock and aquatic organisms. We will also analyse the ecological, economic and social dimensions that together characterise the agroecological approach. Special attention will be given to the development and practice of organic agriculture, including the regulations that govern the marketing of organic and the outputs of other agroecological farming systems.   

  • Agroecological techniques and practices: Covers agricultural technologies that sustain yields whilst ensuring food nutritional health. Conventional agriculture is focused on chemistry, but greater emphasis on biological interactions reduces the reliance on external inputs. Key areas include the maintenance of soil fertility, for example, green manures and composted wastes, weed, pest and disease management, the importance of biodiversity and the efficient management of key resources, such as water and energy. The impact of adopting sustainable technologies on farm economics will be addressed and the approaches available will be illustrated by examples of farming systems from the UK and the rest of the world.

  • Stabilisation agriculture: Considers stabilisation as a critical tool for effective and innovative humanitarian aid programmes and aspects of urban agriculture. We will introduce you to methods to design, implement and evaluate such schemes, applicable in both rural and urban settings for fragile, post-conflict and resource-poor countries. We will consider the current international legal, regulatory framework, principles and standards of humanitarian interventions.

The programme typically operates over three semesters. It can be studied full-time over one year and is also available in part-time study, usually taking around two years to complete, starting in September.  

The programme is divided into two parts. The first part is delivered over 32 weeks of full-time study consisting of eight modules (15 credits), of which six are mandatory taught modules that underpin the essentials of agroecology and food security, followed by a choice of two optional modules. Part two is completed by the submission of a dissertation or research project. This requires full-time attendance for a further 16 weeks.

Our teaching staff have considerable professional experience, including the, an Executive Board member of Quaternary Research Association and the Editor-in-Chief of African Journal of Range and Forage Science.

Teaching incorporates a range of learning methods, including lectures, tutorials, practical exercises, fieldwork, workshops, and skills development. You will have opportunities to access to our well-equipped laboratories and field and glasshouse research facilities.

Field trips provide an unrivalled opportunity for you to contextualise classroom-based learning and develop practical skills. We organise a range of one-day site visits within the United Kingdom, for example, visiting Ryton Woods, one of the county’s largest semi-natural ancient woodlands.

We try to incorporate current practitioner input wherever possible; previous students have had the opportunity to hear from guest lecturers on topics such as agroforestry, participatory research methodology and organic methods of pest, disease and weed control in commercial organic vegetable production.

The learning outcomes of modules, assignments and projects will be clearly stated. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve these learning outcomes and your final feedback will refer to each outcome, as well as providing an overall percentage grade. You need to achieve an average of 40% or above to pass each module; marks of 70% or above are classified as ’Distinction’.

Assessment methods vary and include written practical reports, in-class tests, project reports, presentations, essays, laboratory reports, and seminars.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Coursework reports, essays, practicals, presentations: 65%
  • Project work: 35%

35% assessed by project work

On succesful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • Concepts of food security, sustainability and management in relation to food production and consumption.
  • The relationship between food security and agricultural production systems at both a regional, national and global level.
  • The ecological principles that underpin the sustainable management of food systems.

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 12 ‘contact’ hours of teaching, if studying full-time. This generally breaks down as:

  • Lectures: 8 hours.
  • Tutorial/problem solving/laboratory sessions: 4 hours.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours of self-directed study each week.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2014/15, we were able to provide a total of 2,264 student experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 73% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 27% from postgraduate travel. Plus, we've been able to help more than 5,000 students spend time in other countries, from America to China, India and beyond.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA)


2,264

Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2014/15



12,000

and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far

21

global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses


What our students say...

Having been involved in political activism and permaculture I felt that going back to university and doing the Master’s in agroecology and food security would be an interesting thing to do. Having a biology degree has helped complement the knowledge that I have gained on this course. My favourite module is definitely food security and I have enjoyed the lessons on food sovereignty in particular.

Joe McCrohon, MSc Agroecology and Food Security, current student 2016/17

Entry Requirements

At least a Second Class Honours degree in a relevant discipline; or other qualification (which may be an appropriate professional development qualification), or considerable relevant work experience.

At least a Second Class Honours degree in a relevant discipline; or other qualification (which may be an appropriate professional development qualification), or considerable relevant work experience.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

At least a Second Class Honours degree in a relevant discipline; or other qualification (which may be an appropriate professional development qualification), or considerable relevant work experience.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

What our students say...

Having been involved in political activism and permaculture I felt that going back to university and doing the Master’s in agroecology and food security would be an interesting thing to do. Having a biology degree has helped complement the knowledge that I have gained on this course. My favourite module is definitely food security and I have enjoyed the lessons on food sovereignty in particular.

Joe McCrohon, MSc Agroecology and Food Security, current student 2016/17

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

Starts

Fee


May 2018

£7,374 (per year)


Scholarships

If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship. Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.

Starts

Fee


May 2018

£7,374 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Starts

Fee


May 2018

£12,656 (per year)


Scholarships

For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

What our students say...

Having been involved in political activism and permaculture I felt that going back to university and doing the Master’s in agroecology and food security would be an interesting thing to do. Having a biology degree has helped complement the knowledge that I have gained on this course. My favourite module is definitely food security and I have enjoyed the lessons on food sovereignty in particular.

Joe McCrohon, MSc Agroecology and Food Security, current student 2016/17

Career prospects

Equipped with a detailed understanding of food systems and a range of appropriate practical skills, your potential for employment should be strong.

You could pursue roles in a wide range of specialist fields including: crop management, agricultural research, agribusiness, environmental protection, cooperative extension, farm management or environment regulation.

Opportunities present themselves in national and international government agencies, non-governmental policy, research and development organisations, as well as the private sector, including food companies and farming.

When you are ready to find permanent employment, you can also receive support from our award-winning Faculty careers service, EC Futures, which won the ‘Best Placement Service in the UK’ award at the National Undergraduate Employability Awards in 2015 and 2016. Previous graduates have gone on to work for Action Against Hunger and British Grassland Society as well as undertaking PhD studies.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University’s Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

What our students say...

The MSc programme was fascinating and gave me an edge; I am passionate about working with Action Against Hunger in Nigeria with the help of skills I acquired.

Ismail Rilwan, MSc Agroecology and Food Security, graduated 2015, now Food Security and Livelihoods Officer with Action Against Hunger in Nigeria
Disclaimer

By accepting your offer of a place with us, a Student Contract (“the Contract”) will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail all of your rights and also the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will also contain all of the obligations that the University owes to you.  We would encourage you to read the Student Contract before you accept any offer of a place at the University. A copy of the Contract can be found here.