Module Information

Module Information

Mandatory Modules

Food Security

Module Ref: M107GED

Type: Mandatory

Aims and Summary

Food security has risen up national and international policy agendas since 2007-8 when food prices rose rapidly and, combined with global economic recession, provoked civil unrest in many regions. The events of 2008 directed attention to underlying problems in the agro-food system, and provided an opportunity for scientists and campaigners alike to voice their concerns about the unsustainability of current food supply arrangements. However, the concept of food security dates back to the 1970s and it has been understood and defined in many ways since then. This module traces the development of the food security concept, ranging from early ideas which proposed national self-sufficiency in grain reserves as a solution to hunger in poor countries, to 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. The overall aim is to enable students to develop a full understanding of the way in which the food security concept has evolved in relation to changing political ideologies, and to also appreciate the implications of these changes for households, regions and countries around the globe. The module will draw on examples from developing and developed countries and will compare and contrast the different experiences of food (in)security in a range of households and regions. The module also aims to equip students with a critical appreciation of the key food security challenges and their causes, as well as the different solutions which are currently being debated.

AGROECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Module Ref: M106GED 

Type: Mandatory

Aims and Summary 

This module aims to provide students with a broad perspective on the principles of agroecology.  It is intended for students without previous advanced qualifications in agriculture. 

The module aims to give students an understanding of the scientific basis of crop selection, crop and livestock breeding, and a systems approach to agricultural production.

Adopting an international perspective, students will study a wide variety of agricultural systems involving interactions between trees, crops, livestock and aquatic organisms in various combinations together with the ecological, economic and social dimensions that together characterize the agroecological approach.  

Special attention will be given to knowledge transfer systems related to agricultural development and to ‘stabilisation’ agriculture’, employing an agroecological approach to enhance the ability of agriculture to withstand and respond to natural and man-made disasters. The course will thus provide students with a grounding in the contribution of the agroecological approach to the management of food security in optimum and ‘stabilisation’ situations.  

Clean energy, climate and carbon

Module Ref: M112GED

Type: Mandatory 

Aims and Summary 

Climate change, and the anthropogenic shaping of the global climate system, has become a defining phenomenon of the 21st century. Assessing and managing the risks posed by climate change is now a major driver of national policy and international diplomacy and provides a backdrop against which new social movements, business strategies and public policies are, and have, emerged.

This module examines the consequences of climate change for businesses and society, with consideration given to issues of the sustainable growth of low carbon economies. These consequences – physical effects, social responses, and technology-policy debates - will be examined from a number of different disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on sources of renewable energy and carbon management.

AGROECOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES AND PRACTICES

Module Ref: M108GED

Type: Mandatory

Aims and Summary 

This module is concerned with 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 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 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 around the world.

Stabilisation Agriculture Module

Download the Stabilisation Agriculture flyer.

Module Ref: M58GED

Type: Mandatory 

Aims and Summary 

This module aims at providing an understanding of the theory and practice of stabilisation agriculture** as a critical tool for effective and innovative humanitarian aid programmes and aspects of urban agriculture. Skills to be acquired will be applicable in both rural and urban settings for fragile, post-conflict and resource-poor countries.

Students will familiarize with stabilisation theory relevant to agriculture, landscape and urban management including practical skills in the planning and design of stabilisation agriculture programmes, and in the planning and evaluation of urban agriculture policies.

Student will have the opportunity and the ability to apply learnt theory and practice to the real-world settings through project and programme management expertise and skills and field visits.

Topics studied in the module will be set within the current international legal, regulatory framework, principles and standards of humanitarian interventions. The module targets to put the subject of stabilisation agriculture and urban agriculture policies within the context of natural and human induced disasters.

Gender, food systems and natural resources

Module Ref: M123EXQ

Type: Mandatory

Aims and Summary

This module critically assesses how the use, management and knowledge of land, water and the wider ecology is gendered. While women’s importance as users, guardians and managers of natural resources and their roles in enabling family food and nutrition security is highlighted in policies, globally the rights to land, water and trees, as well as access to other resources, infrastructure and services, are vested in men.

In this module we aim to understand these contradictions, and their implications in different farming systems, practices and socio-political contexts. We 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. We will further introduce alternative rights-based approaches to food systems and natural resources, such as food sovereignty and the right to food, from the perspective of social movements and civil society. To enable students to analyse and/or undertake research on people-nature-food linkages, we will explore conceptual frameworks, analytical insights and methodological tools stemming from different approaches to addressing gender. These frameworks will be based on thematic case studies that will provide deeper insights into different geographic, socio-economic and socio-cultural contexts.

Project Management (Research Design Methods)

Module Ref: M70GED

Type: Mandatory

Aims and Summary

The module aims to extend the experience of the student in independent investigative work with a view to enhancing the ability of the student to solve environmental problems.  Research methods for scientific investigations are included. 

Written presentation skills are developed as an integral part of the project. Concurrent with this, the student will extend their understanding in a field of study relevant to their course. 

The module aims to develop the student’s ability to carry out research independently and to commission, manage and evaluate research within an appropriate industrial, commercial or academic context.

Special Features 

The module aims to extend the experience of the student in independent investigative work with a view to enhancing the ability of the student to solve environmental problems.  Research methods for scientific investigations are included. Written and verbal presentation skills are developed as an integral part of the project. Concurrent with this student will extend his or her understanding in a field of study relevant to the course.  The module aims to develop a student’s ability to carry out research independently and to commission, manage and evaluate research within an appropriate industrial, commercial or academic context.

Optional Modules

Ecological Management and assessment

Module Ref: M58GED

Type: Optional

Aims and Summary

An understanding of the theory and practice of ecological management, underpinned by the principles of ecological assessment and countryside regulation, is a valuable addition to the skills package of a modern environmental professional.

This module aims to familiarize students with ecological theory relevant to environmental management and conservation.

The module also aims to provide students with practical skills in quantitative and qualitative ecology, along with providing a theoretical basis for the interpretation and evaluation of ecological data.

Special Features

Normally includes a field visit to a designated conservation area.

Environmental impact assessment

Module Ref: M48GED

Type: Optional

Aims and Summary

The role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a process for identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant effects of a proposed development prior to major construction decisions being taken will be explored.

An introduction to the development of EIA and current legislative requirements are followed by a detailed examination of impact assessment methods.

The module will develop skills and the thought processes required to predict significant environmental impacts and propose mitigation measures. The reliability of data and subjectivity of many impact estimates is addressed along with the quality of environmental statements.

The use of Strategic Environmental Assessment in long range environmental planning will be analysed.

International environmental law

Module Ref: M28CLS

Type: Optional

Aims and Summary

This module will introduce students to the legal and policy issues surrounding protection of the global environment.

The institutions involved and the nature of International Law as it affects the environment will be explored in the light of a series of examples and case -studies.

 The module will focus on international, regional and bi-national conventions from the point of view of international agencies, national governments, non-governmental organisations and private individuals.

Environmental observation by remote sensing

Module Ref: M47GED

Type: Optional

Aims and Summary

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) need information. More precisely, users of GIS need information that is relevant, complete, accurate, timely, accessible, available in an appropriate format and cost- effective. Earth observation (EO) by remote sensing is an established source of information that meets the needs of many users and new missions are driving change in geographical applications. EO data are essential for characterising and monitoring the environment at local to global scales. For example, our management of natural resources at regional scales would be impaired and our understanding of global processes severely limited without satellite remote sensing. At a local scale orthophotos provide the framework for land reform and other users rely on archives of EO data to create a consistent record of land use change.

The aim of this module is to better understand the principles and practice of EO by remote sensing within the context of GIS. The application of remote sensing and digital image processing to generate information involves a number of specific steps.

In this module a student will study remote sensing in terms of a source-target-sensor system, develop a model-based approach to image interpretation and examine the conceptual and technical basis for integrating remote sensing and GIS.

Special Features

Normally includes a field visit to a designated conservation area.

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