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MSc in Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty

About the Programme

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience are pleased to announce the launch of our new MSc in Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty. The programme will commence in September 2018 and January 2019 - recruitment is now open!

THE CONTEXT

The new MSc is structured according to the thematic pillars of our Centre’s research and will be a multi- and transdisciplinary course introducing students to a range of different approaches to foster equitable and sustainable food and water systems.


In the context of wide-ranging and persistent global challenges to food and water security, resilience, including climate change, malnutrition and ecological degradation, this course will equip students with cutting edge knowledge in the field to enable them to critically understand the complex interactions between social and natural systems, between scientific and non-scientific knowledge, and between politics and food and water system outcomes.


The programme is designed for students from a range of disciplines, 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.


Note: This will replace the MSc Agroecology and Food Security which runs for the last time in the September 2017-18 academic year.

 

THE COURSE

 

Why Agroecology, Water and Food Sovereignty?


Agroecology is the discipline that addresses practical aspects of resilient food production and natural resources management, their environmental impact as well as the governance and socio-economic challenges facing current food and farming systems.


Water and Food Sovereignty widen the focus of the course, closely linking agroecological approaches that reflect the need to address pressing global issues (i.e. access to adequate nutrition), our right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods; and people’s right to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems.


Food Sovereignty also promotes the formulation of trade policies and practices that serve the rights of people to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable food production.


This is a unique approach to the design and management of socio-ecologically resilient water and food systems in that it goes beyond the issue of access to natural resources, food and water, and addresses their governance locally, nationally and at global scale. 

  
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 system
  • secological management of freshwater systems
  • stabilisation agriculture.

COURSE START AND DURATION

 

Enrolment: September

Full-time: 12 months 

Part-time: 24 months

 

MODULES

 

  • Policies and Institutions for Food and Water Sovereignty
  • Global Processes for Water Sustainability and Resilience
  • Community Self-Organisation and Resilience
  • Resilient Food and Water Systems in Practice
  • Participation, Power, and People’s Knowledge
  • Agroecological Techniques and Practices
  • Gender, Food Systems and Natural Resources
  • Stabilisation Agriculture
  • Project
  • Global Professional Development – Consultancy (Chartered Management Institute)

 

Each module involves ‘face-to-face’ contact at the university (including lectures, seminars and workshops), accompanied by directed and self-directed study.  Modules are delivered both on campus as well as our Centre’s base at Ryton Organic Gardens.  Transport is provided for the modules delivered at Ryton Gardens.

Module Information

Policies and Institutions for Water and Food Sovereignty


This module aims to introduce student 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.


Giving prominence to food sovereignty and right to food approaches, this module will introduce students to a number of key lenses and tools to enable them to analyse these approaches, and situate them in relation to, and use them to critically assess, dominant policy narratives and frameworks.


This module will draw from theories and models of power and policy-making, to illuminate the complex ways in which adaptation to ecological factors and change is mediated by wider policy and institutional dynamics, and the wider social and cultural contexts in which these are embedded.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Interactive workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work

Students will be expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions.


This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Joshua Brem-Wilson.

 

Global Processes for Water Sustainability and Resilience


This module is concerned with the fundamental processes that underpin environments (focusing predominantly on aquatic environments). The processes can be biological, chemical and physical, but the social and cultural processes (e.g. religion, policy, governance) can also play an important role. 
Understanding the processes, how each works and the interactions between them is essential to developing responses to address the changes to the processes. Developing models based on a sounds understanding of processes can be used to make predictions of future states, or used to predict outcomes under different scenarios.


The module will focus on students developing a deeper understanding of the processes that underpin environmental systems, 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).


Linkages between different environmental compartments, or land or water uses, and surrounding compartments, will be discussed. Examples, form around the world will be used as case studies to illustrate key concepts.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work
  • Laboratory work


Students are expected to engage in all activities. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the course director Sara Burbi.

 

Community Self-Organisation and Resilience


This modules focuses on the complex and contested ways in which communities self-organise to manage the food and water resources upon which they depend. From re-purposing and re-valuing forgotten resources and skills in an age of austerity, to adopting new technologies for new opportunities, or re-building livelihoods after disasters or conflicts, communities embrace multiple strategies and tactics in their pathways to resilience.


Over the course of the module students will be introduced to a range of different examples of community self-organisation from across the globe, including South America, Cuba and Africa. We will also explore the diverse interconnections between communities and their natural resources in both rural and urban settings and we will critically examine the underlying political-ecologies which allow and prohibit communities from successfully self-organising.


The module will focus on how communities can organise foo and water resources for resilience but we will also address issues around the use if science and technologies by communities and issues of financial self-organisation.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work
  • Field work


Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Adrian Evans.

 

Resilient Food and Water Systems in Practice


This module aims to provide students with a broad perspective on the applied dimensions of agroecological food and water systems.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory work
  • Online activities
  • Group work


An all-day field trip is organised to complement learning activities.


Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Katharina Dehnen Schmutz.

 

Participation, Power and People’s Knowledge


We live in a world that provides a range of privileges to a few whilst many people face oppression and dehumanisation, both in the west and the ‘global south’. Hence, there is a need to understand how this world is constructed and how to create and platform alternatives. One way in which to examine these alternatives is to mobilise, affirm, amplify and develop knowledges that promote social justice and ecological regeneration.


This module will explore the politics behind knowledge, focusing on the structure of power and its links to creating or silencing knowledge production. It will also explore how creative participatory practice has been used by communities, social movements and civil society groups to tackle oppression and advance social justice.


The module will explore 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.


How will I be taught?


The module will be taught in the spirit of participatory action research and learning will involve a process of mutual exchange. In this way, the mode of teaching will align with the content of the course and students will learn together through ‘study’ and the ‘doing’ participation. This will require students to take responsibility for their learning and to contribute both as learners and teachers in the classroom as is the tradition in the well-established field of critical pedagogy, participatory action research and popular education. A variety of pedagogical approaches will be utilised including student lead discussion, arts-based inquiry, hands-on activities, collective reading, meetings with participatory practitioners, engagement with community groups, and individual and group reflection.


This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from face-to-face contact.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Jasber Singh.

 

Agroecological Techniques and Practices


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, energy and plant varieties. The impact of adopting sustainable technologies on farm economics will also be addressed and the approaches available will be illustrated by examples of farming systems from the UK and around the world.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory work
  • Workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work

Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Francis Rayns.

 

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. 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.


How will I be taught?


Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work


Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions. 


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Deepa Joshi.

 

Stabilisation Agriculture


This module aims to familiarise students with stabilisation theory relevant to agriculture, landscape and urban management.


The module also aims to provide students with practical skills in the planning and design of stabilisation agriculture programmes, and in the planning and evaluation of urban agriculture policies.

 
Central to the stabilisation agriculture module is the ability to apply theory and practice to real-world settings through project and programme management expertise and skills. An understanding of the theory and practice of stabilisation agriculture is critical for effective and innovative humanitarian aid programmes. In addition, critical aspects of urban agriculture are also covered to provide skills sets that are applicable in both urban and rural settings for fragile, post-conflict and resource-poor countries.


How will I be taught?

Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Online activities
  • Group work


Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Andrew Adam-Bradford.

 

Project


This module aims to extend the experience of the student in independent investigative work with a view to enhancing the ability of the student to undertake research on an issue or issues relevant to one or more of the mandatory or optional modules of the MSc.


The student will, therefore, extend his/her understanding and research capabilities in a field of study relevant to his/her course. The taught element of this module includes basic principles of the philosophy of science and knowledge, together with research methodologies/methods, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed.


Written presentation skills are developed as an integral part of the project/dissertation. The module aims to develop the student’s ability to carry out research independently, critically and sensitively, to contribute to new knowledge acquisition in furtherance of the common good, and to commission, manage, and evaluate research within a variety of socially and ecologically appropriate contexts.


This project is an essential component of the award of an MSc.


How will I be taught?


Students are expected to attend lectures, workshops and seminars on project associated issues. They are also expected to read the online E-learning material on academic skills and research methods and complete the associated online self-assessment tests.


Students will be required to produce a project proposal outlining the aims and objectives of the study, the methodology, resource requirements and details of any collaboration arrangements. This must include the contextual background for the planned work with reference to previous work carried out in this field and, in the case of an industrial based project, the framework of reference with respect to the industrial organisation. Satisfactory ethics and appropriate risk assessments must be submitted and approved prior to starting the project phase.


Students are expected to undertake a significant research project, with guidance from an identified supervisor, but largely independently. Prior to the start of the project, the supervisor and student will complete a ‘Research Project Learning Contract’. Students and supervisors will engage in regular supervisory meetings to discuss progress and actions to take with regards to project completion and dissertation submission.


If you have any questions please contact the module leader Mark Tilzey.

How to Apply?

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

At least a Second Class Honors degree in a relevant social or natural science discipline; or other qualification (which may be an appropriate professional development qualification), or considerable relevant work experience.  It is not necessary to have agricultural qualifications.

 

FEES

Home/EU: £7750

International: £13,350

Please note International Students are advised to submit their applications by 31st July 2018. This allows sufficent time to meet the conditions of your offer, apply for visas and sufficient time to arrive and enrol before the course starts.

 

HOW TO APPLY

To apply via the University's application page please click here. The course code is EECT008.

If you require any assistance please contact:

Liz Woodard - Administrative Assistant (Postgraduate Support) liz.woodard@coventry.ac.uk