The Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty MSc is a trans-disciplinary course addressing current issues related to food production, access and management of natural resources, climate change and land degradation. It also aims to address the environmental, socio-economic and institutional implications in the building of resilient societies.
The course has a strong focus on resilient food and water systems, critically-analysed under environmental, socio-economic and political lenses to reflect the broad range of issues that relate to food and water sovereignty and how agroecology can alleviate them.
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.
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Accreditation and Professional Recognition
This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:
Chartered Management Institute
As part of this course you will undertake a professional development module which is currently accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) for the 2021-22 intake. Upon successful completion of the module, you will gain the CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership Practice at no additional cost. Further details can be found under the ‘course detail’ tab and on the Professional Development module homepage.
Coventry University’s accreditation with CMI is currently ongoing for the relevant modules and is regularly reviewed and monitored by the CMI through their quality systems. Whilst Coventry University anticipates that these reviews will continue to be successful, if they were to be unsuccessful, the relevant module in this course would no longer be accredited and we would notify applicants and students of this change as soon as possible.
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What our students say...
We have covered a huge range of subjects within the context of food and water – from climate change to gender – and the interactive teaching style has kept me really engaged. The flexible approach to assessments means you can focus on the topics that interest you.
Sustainable and fair food production systems are vital, not only for our health and well-being, but also for that of plants, animals and the natural environment. As demand for the most basic of resources intensifies, we urgently need to address the practical aspects of managing and delivering sustainable and resilient systems to meet these needs.
Throughout this trans-disciplinary MSc, you will focus on the role agroecology, water and food sovereignty plays in meeting governance and socio-economic challenges facing current food and farming systems. We look across the social and natural sciences to explore and integrate new thinking and resilient interventions in agriculture that aim to protect biodiversity, restore the ecosystem and deliver nutritious food and clean water in an increasingly fragile natural environment.
Water and Food Sovereignty broadens and deepens the course further by focusing on how fair and sustainable food and water production is formulated in trade policies and practices. Pressing contemporary global issues, such as our right to nutritious culturally appropriate food and clean water, need to be tackled at all levels of governance and established in policy and practice.
During your MSc study, you will have the opportunity to examine these live issues and explore solutions for designing and implementing ecologically sustainable, fair and resilient food and water production that benefit all.
- Policies and Institutions for Food and Water Sovereignty
- This module aims to introduce you to a range of progressive thinking and actions that are orientated towards food and water policy-making, and institutions. Adopting a ‘real-world’, people-centred, bottom-up approach, it will locate contemporary struggles for food system transformation at different scales, and in their wider policy and institutional contexts.
- Global Processes for Water Sustainability and Resilience
- This module is concerned with the fundamental processes (biological, chemical, physical or social and cultural) that underpin environments, focusing predominantly on aquatic environments.
- You will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how human behaviour can influence these processes (e.g. climate change) and the impact that the modified processes can, in turn, have on the environmental (e.g. modified rainfall) and human systems (e.g. changes in food or water sustainability).
- Community Self-Organisation and Resilience
- This module focuses on the complex and contested ways in which communities self-organise to manage the food and water resources upon which they depend by looking at a range of different examples of community self-organisation from across the globe.
- Resilient Food and Water Systems in Practice
- This module aims to give you the opportunity to develop a broad perspective on the applied dimensions of agroecological food and water systems.
- Participation, Power, and People’s Knowledge
- This module explores the politics behind knowledge, focusing on the structure of power and its links to creating or silencing knowledge production. It also looks at the use of participatory action and transdisciplinary research approaches in the context of current forms of colonisation, the politics of difference, social relations and how these interlink with food, environment and water.
- Agroecological Techniques and Practices
- This module focuses on agricultural technologies that sustain yields whilst ensuring food nutritional health, with an emphasis on biological interactions that reduce the reliance on external inputs. Key areas include the maintenance of soil fertility (for example by the use of green manures and composted wastes), weed, pest and disease management (for example by using cultural and biological controls), the importance of biodiversity and the efficient management of key resources, such as water, energy and plant varieties.
- Gender, Food Systems and Natural Resources
- This module will critically assess how the use, management and knowledge of land, water and the wider ecology is gendered, including the contradiction that women's importance as managers and users of natural resources is recognised, whereas the rights to these is vested in men. It will investigate the theory, policy and practice of gender in the governance of food systems and natural resources, and analyse the shortcomings of attempts to integrate women into development programmes.
- Stabilisation Agriculture
- This module aims to familiarise you with stabilisation theory relevant to agriculture, landscape and urban management. It also aims to give you the opportunity to develop practical skills in the planning and design of stabilisation agriculture programmes, and the planning and evaluation of urban agriculture policies.
- This module aims to extend your experience in independent investigative work with a view to enhancing your ability to undertake research on an issue or issues relevant to one or more of the mandatory or optional modules of the MSc. It is an essential component of the award of an MSc.
- Consulting - Level 7 Award in Professional Consulting
- The aim of this module is for you to critically evaluate and develop solutions to complex, inter-related, multi-faceted issues that can be found in a variety of organisations and professional contexts. The module will involve working with students across disciplines to facilitate an appreciation of how different sectors solve internal issues and how different sectors can learn and adopt or adapt solutions from other fields. International, cultural and ethical issues will underpin the practical and theoretical developments in the module coupled with the principles of consultancy and the theories and practices found in leadership. The module will engage you in wide-ranging debates and problem solving exercises using examples from real-life issues.
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We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
In more detail...
This course has been designed for students from a wide range of disciplines (for example biology, political science, international development, geography, economics, ecology) converging on agriculture, water and food systems from complementary angles that include physical and natural sciences, geography, social sciences and humanities, economics, and political sciences. It aims to equip you with the knowledge, skills and critical understanding necessary to make a strong positive impact on communities and shaping future resilient societies.
This course gives you the opportunity to:
- Equip yourself with cutting edge knowledge in the field of sustainable and equitable food and water systems, with a central focus upon agroecology and food sovereignty;
- Critically assess the complex interactions between social and natural systems, between scientific and non-scientific knowledge, and between politics and food and water-system outcomes;
- Choose and apply appropriate methods of enquiry and analysis that facilitate different ways of knowing (for example trans-disciplinary, participatory, peer-to-peer, intercultural dialogue) and effective engagement with the major debates on the dynamics of food and water systems, including their wider impacts on the environment and society; and
- Develop both theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in the fields of agroecology, resilience and food and water systems that will support you in your career progression in an academic or professional environment
The course is delivered by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), one of Coventry University’s Research Centres. CAWR is a thriving community of scholars and practitioners, including a vibrant Postgraduate Research community. From its initial location on the main campus of Coventry University, CAWR is currently based at Ryton where its offices and laboratory facilities are surrounded by organic gardens and fruit orchards.
- Up-to-date knowledge of current research, issues, challenges and developments within the field of agroecology, which encourages innovative thinking and strategies for improving environmental sustainability in food production and water systems.
- Development of a range of transferable skills, including report writing, literature searching, critical evaluation, oral and written presentations, teamwork, creativity and project management.
- Expansion of your knowledge of research methods with practical training.
- Progression of your academic critical writing skills.
- Providing you with an excellent basis should you decide to consider progressing to study for a PhD in your chosen area.
- Support towards progression into the field of agroecology and related areas.
- Offer of networking opportunities both within the university and beyond, to support you in creating interesting and useful connections in the field (subject to availability).
- Engagement with a community of friendly and supportive fellow students and staff, who share your passion for agroecology, offer motivation when needed and facilitate your studies.
The course includes modules which address key themes in:
- Resilient food and water systems
- Agroecological processes and practices
- Fundamental process in relation to soil and water management
- Climate change
- Governance and institutional frameworks
- Communities self-organisation for resilience
- Knowledge integration
- Gender studies
- Economics of sustainable food and water systems
- Ecological management of freshwater systems
- Stabilisation agriculture.
The delivery of the curriculum will be informed by University and Faculty/School developments in teaching and learning, including the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy. The Centre’s location at Ryton Organic Gardens with access to farms and laboratories supports the EEC Faculty’s ‘Activity Led Learning (ALL) delivery approach. The modules are taught in 3 hour teaching sessions over 13 weeks. The teaching sessions will be adapted to each module and may include one or a combination of the following - 1-2 hour lectures, practical workshops seminars. The ALL approach and use of different teaching and learning styles means the overall teaching and learning strategy is aligned to the course learning outcomes.
This course is assessed by coursework. Assessments will vary depending on the module and may include individual essays, presentations and group work elements.
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.
For guidance and information regarding the key skills for coursework please look at the resources from our Library and Centre for Academic Writing teams here.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:
- Critically appraise how agroecology, food security, and water and food sovereignty are defined, conceptualized and practiced, including a focus on contested meanings of key concepts used in the course (agroecology, resilience, gender, environmental change etc.);
- Undertake an in-depth analysis of contemporary food and water systems and assess their relation to individual and collective human security and wellbeing, and the environment;
- Critically evaluate the concept of resilience and its fundamental underlying processes, emphasising community resilience and social ecological resilience at different scales;
- Critically assess the roles of policies and institutions in the governance and management of food and water systems at scales (local, national, global);
- Formulate appropriate methods of enquiry and analysis that facilitate different ways of knowing (e.g. transdisciplinary, participatory, peer-to-peer, intercultural dialogue) and effective engagement with the major debates on the dynamics of food and water systems;
- Carry out enhanced research for differentiated analysis (e.g. by class, gender, ethnicity, intersectionality, and other axis of difference) of knowledge(s), access to resources and decision-making within communities and actor networks influencing the dynamics of food and water systems;
- Manage your own independent learning and self-reflective practice and to engage in continuing learning and professional development in the food and water sectors especially in relation to food and water sovereignty; and
- Work towards and achieve both individual and group goals within the course.
CAWR currently has a dedicated Postgraduate Support Team who are there to support at all stages of your progress, from application to award. Course Directors are available to advise you on academic and pastoral issues. Times that Course Directors are available to meet with you will be shown on the course Moodle website. Module Leaders and the associated module team are also available to offer support at a module level. Again, module leaders advertise their contact times on the module Moodle website. Outside of office hours, you can also email any member of academic staff. Please note, availability may be subject to change.
The modules are taught in 3 hour teaching sessions over 13 weeks. The teaching sessions will be adapted to each module and may include one or a combination of the following - 1-2 hour lectures, practical workshops seminars.
The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials. As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
CAWR has an extensive network of contacts globally that regularly collaborate with staff. In particular, we currently have strong links with institutions such as the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy (specialist post-graduate research and teaching institution) and Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
During the MSc you will be provided the opportunity to liaise with staff that have links to institutions nationally and internationally (subject to availability), based on your specific interests, ranging from institutions carrying out research in more applied natural sciences to other social and community-based organisations.
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 2018/19, we were able to provide a total of 5,469 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days.
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
Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni 2016/17
The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2018/19
The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally since 2016
As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses
What our students say...
This is a really varied and interesting course. There is a good mix of social and natural science modules taking different perspectives on the agroecology, water and food sovereignty agenda.
At least a second class honours degree in a relevant social or natural science discipline.
Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director. For information regarding what might amount to a ‘relevant social or natural discipline’ please request information.
Applicants are normally invited to visit the University as part of the postgraduate open days in the Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing. This offers an opportunity for both parties to meet and to ask questions. It also offers the applicant an opportunity to view the facilities on offer at the University.
International applicants with an equivalent of a second class honours degree or demonstrated experience at an appropriate level will be considered for admission.
Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director. For information regarding what might amount to an ‘equivalent of a second class honours degree’ or ‘demonstrated experience at an appropriate level’ please ask a question.
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
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.
£10,400 (per year)
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.
£16,600 (per year)
If you're a truly exceptional candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship. Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional achievement and academic excellence.
Course essentials – additional costsThis course may incur additional costs associated with any field trips, placements or work experience, study abroad opportunities or any other opportunity (whether required or optional), which could include (but is not limited to) travel, accommodation, activities and visas. This course may incur additional costs associated with any equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire.
EU student fees
EU nationals starting in the 2020/21 academic year remain eligible for the same fees as home students and the same financial support. Financial support comes from Student Finance England, and covers undergraduate and postgraduate study for the duration of their course, providing they meet the residency requirement.
For tuition fee loans
EU nationals starting in the 2020/21 academic year must have resided in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the three years prior to the start of their course. The purpose of that three year residency should not have been mainly for the purpose of receiving full time education.
For maintenance loans
EU nationals starting in the 2020/21 academic year must have resided in the UK and Islands for the five years prior to the start of their course. The purpose of that five year residency should not have been mainly for the purpose of receiving full time education.
What our students say...
The MSc Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty at CAWR has given me the opportunity to study all aspects of agroecology: as a science, as a practice and as a social movement. The course does not lean more heavily in either direction, but gives a broad overview of the food system, from the soil to the organisation of human societies, allowing you to identify your own interest area and pursuing it more closely in your research project. The course packs a lot into just two taught semesters!
Graduate Immigration Route visa
Based on current information from the UK Government, international students whose study extends beyond summer 2021 may be eligible for a visa under the UK Government’s Graduate Immigration Route, which will enable students to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to two (2) years. Check the most up to date guidance available to check your eligibility and any updates from the UK Government before making an application or enrolment decision.
Upon successful completion of this course, career opportunities may include scholarly research to strengthen the impact of academia on shaping resilient societies; employment by development organisations, local and national governing bodies, and international institutions (e.g. United Nations [UN], Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs [DEFRA], Natural England, Environment Agency, Department for International Development [DFID], Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres [CGIAR], International Livestock Research Institute [ILRI], International Centre for Research in Agroforestry [ICRAF], Oxfam); and entrepreneurship in several sectors, e.g. agriculture, environmental management, civil society, and policy.
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 Talent Team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.
Where our graduates work
The course is designed to appeal to a wide range of graduates from a variety of disciplines. Students successfully completing the course may have the opportunity to go on to do a PhD at the Centre or elsewhere, and pursue a career in academia. Other potential employers include:
- National and international government agencies
- Non-governmental organisations
- Research and development organisations
- Vocational teaching and training
- Community based organisations
- Private sector, including small food companies and the farming sector.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2021/22 Contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.
The tuition fee for the course that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For UK and EU students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, EU students should be aware that there may be a change to UK laws following the UK’s exit, this may change their student status, their eligibility to study part time, and/or their eligibility for student finance. We will act in accordance with the UK’s laws in force in relation to student tuition fees and finance from time to time.
For International students the tuition fee that is stated on the course webpage and in the prospectus for the first year of study will apply. We will review our tuition fees each year. For international students, we may increase fees for each subsequent year of study but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation.