Postgraduate taught 

Food Security MSc



Compulsory courses:

Introduction to Food Security (20 Credits)

This course will introduce you to the major issues in global food security. It will include topics such as changes in demographic and consumption patterns, waste, socio-economic and political aspects of food security, biodiversity and climate change. The course is taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials and is assessed through an oral presentation and an essay.

Food Security Fundamentals: food of animal origin (20 Credits)

This course highlights important issues in animal food production, including nutrition, breeding, health and welfare, food processing and preservation. For assessment, you will produce a poster presentation and a ‘food portfolio’, discussing a range of aspects associated with production of a selected food of animal origin.

Food Security Fundamentals: crops (20 Credits)

Crop production is a key topic in food security and this course will introduce you to fundamental issues limiting crop production, such as disease, nutrition and water availability, and the prospects for crop improvement. Assessment is through an oral presentation and the production of a ‘crop portfolio’, focusing on a selected crop.

Optional courses:

Role of Insects in Food Security (10 Credits)

This course introduces you to the positive and negative contributions of insects to food security, considering their role in crop production and animal agriculture. For assessment, you will produce and discuss a poster on an aspect of the topic.

Global Animal Production (10 Credits)

The aim of this course is to provide you with knowledge and understanding of systems of food animal management, production, marketing and tracing, including recognition and control of diseases of major relevance to food security. The course includes site visits and assessment is through written assignments.

Production of Food from Animals (10 credits)

The course will provide knowledge and understanding of the process of meat harvest and the principles of meat hygiene, and of the legislation designed to safeguard public health. It will also evaluate existing transport, slaughter and meat inspection procedures. Assessment is through written assignments.

Animal Ethics (10 credits)

This course discusses the ethical issues associated with uses of animals by humans, including in farming and food production. You will also learn about the relevant legislation relating to animal welfare. Assessment is through an essay and oral presentation.

Policies for Sustainability and Development (10 Credits)

In this course you will learn about the different policy and economic approaches in use of energy and environmental resources and in seeking sustainable development. Assessment is by an essay.  

Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (10 Credits)

This course discusses the nature of bioscience businesses, including opportunities for innovation, regulatory requirements, intellectual property and ethical issues. Working with other students, you will design and evaluate a market research strategy and business plan for a small company planning to commercialise a recent bioscience discovery. You will be assessed through a report and your group work.

Plant Genetic Engineering (10 Credits)

You will undertake laboratory work to learn skills involved in genetic modification of plants. Assessment is through a written report of laboratory work.

Crop Biotechnology Applications (10 Credits)

This course provides information on the major applications of crop biotechnology, including disease resistance and stress tolerance and discusses aspects of crop genomics, breeding and genetic manipulation. You will be assessed through production and discussion of a poster.

Molecular Lab Skills (10 Credits)

You will undertake laboratory work and associated computer-based analysis to acquire practical skills in molecular biology. Assessment is via a short written test. 

Omic Technologies (20 Credits)

This course introduces genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic technologies and data analysis. The applications of these methods in biological systems will be discussed. Assessment is based on writing a project proposal in which omic technologies are used to answer a selected biological question.

Quantitative Methods (10 Credits)

This course provides you with an understanding of quantitative and epidemiological methods that can be used for investigation of food security questions, including issues of food production, animal health and pest control. Assessment is through written assignments.

Food Security Project (60 Credits)

During the summer, you will undertake an investigative project on a topic in food security chosen through discussion with an academic supervisor. Depending on the topic and supervisor, the project may be partly or entirely laboratory-based, or involve no laboratory element. For assessment, you will write a report, give a presentation on the topic and discuss the project in a viva.