Sustainable Food and Natural Resources

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MSc in Sustainable Food and Natural Resources

Develop your knowledge and understanding of the impacts of environmental change on global and local food systems and the natural world.

Explore solutions that could help address some of the urgent and crucial issues that we face, looking at different approaches and competing paradigms.

Key areas of study

Sustainable Food and Natural Resources will enable you to:

  • Become versed in climate mitigation and adaptation in food and natural resources, soil health, natural climate solutions and food and land management systems.
  • Develop skills and knowledge to transform the impacts of food production and the way our natural resources are perceived, managed, produced and distributed.
  • Learn about the social, practical, political and economic aspects of sustainable food production and natural resources management, and the effects of industry-scale farming, agriculture and materials production on ecosystems and our environment.
  • Develop a rigorous understanding of the impacts of economic structures and environmental change on diet, health, sustainability and community empowerment.
  • Gain direct practical training and develop your knowledge of the underlying theory in a range of related topics, such as soil ecology and health, growing methods and comparative yields, environmental impacts of materials, and design for sustainability.

Benefit from over 40 years’ sustainability experience

CAT’s world-leading eco-centre is a pioneer in researching and teaching practical solutions for sustainability, with over 40 years’ experience in low-impact building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable food production, natural resources management and more. Read more about the CAT location and facilities.

The taught eight-week modules offer an immersive learning experience through lectures, talks, seminars and workshops delivered by our expert in-house staff, with specialist insights from visiting lecturers from industry and academia.

Many modules are shared with our other postgraduate courses, providing you with a rich learning experience with your peers.

Flexible study options allow you to choose the level and mode of study that suits you, helping you fit your studies around other commitments. Full-time study at MSc level will allow you to complete the course in 18 months. This course can also be studied part-time and by distance.

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day or contact us.

This course is created and delivered by CAT and validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

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Entry Requirements

At CAT we celebrate and welcome diversity. Applicants require the necessary skill to begin study at postgraduate level plus a demonstrable interest in the subject. All applicants must have an adequate level of English language proficiency in order to be accepted onto one of our courses. For more detail and to apply visit the application page.

Fees and Funding

Please visit our Fees and Funding page to see the tuition fees, additional fees and also funding opportunities.

Core Modules

Sustainability and Adaptation: Concepts and Planning

This two-part 30-credit core module takes place in September and November and must be taken at the beginning of your course, no matter which route you take through your studies.

In part one, we will contextualise sustainability and transformational adaptation in view of current environmental changes, exploring the interconnectedness of the factors involved.

There will be an in-depth look at the wider implications of transformational adaptation on social structures, land use, trade, resource management, energy provision, governance, health and economic systems through a critical exploration of the primary considerations related to sustainability and environmental change.

In part two, you will experience transformational adaptation planning through a facilitated self-reflective practical team exercise, and form a deep appreciation and holistic understanding of adaptation transformation planning.

You will develop the skills and knowledge needed to assess risks and make informed decisions, despite the uncertainties that come with a changing climate.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7102 - Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts and Planning UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7501CATSCI -Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts and Planning LJMU

Ecosystem Services: Land Use, Water and Waste Management

This module gives you an appreciation of the key roles played by species, populations and healthy ecosystems in the provision of essential tangible and intangible services to human society, as well as the need to ensure ecological integrity on appropriate scales.
It provides you with an understanding of the overriding roles of climate change and industrial expansion in imposing progressive change in ecosystem and resource management, and the imperative for sustainable adaptation.

We explore the environmental impacts of sourcing, management and disposal of material and water resources, the case for minimisation, wise use and reuse where appropriate in order to function within resource, ecological and societal constraints, and the lessons to be learned from nature in resource design and processing.

It will enable you to comprehend the varied impacts of land use on environmental quality, biodiversity and ecosystem service provision, including industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes and their management; and to recognise the inherent lack of sustainability in modern, centralised food production and the necessity for ecologically-designed agriculture.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7103 - Ecosystem Services Land Use Water and Waste Management UEL

Read more about this module for courses awardedby Liverpool John Moores University 7506CATSCI - Ecosystem Services Land use and Waste Management LJMU.pdf

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Food Production and Consumption

This module takes an in-depth look at global and local trends in food production, trends in diet and health, and the impact of food production on the environment including climate change.

We explore how food can be produced sustainably, looking at the role of consumer behaviour, economics, technology and legislation.
You will study the complex interplay between global and local food markets, vertical integration of agriculture, consumer diets and health, ‘food sovereignty’, the impact of machinery and transportation, economics, labour and environmental externalities on the sustainable production of food.

You will critically evaluate how current markets, policies and consumer behaviour could be transformed to ensure greater sustainability in food production and resource use.

This is a 15 credit module.

Find out more about this module: 7503CATSCI - Food Production and Consumption LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

The Science of Sustainable Food Production

In this module we study the biogeography of crops and the importance of geographical climate, soil and water resources; and also the science behind GMOs, energy crops and different approaches to growing food, including organic agriculture, conventional agriculture, permaculture, agroforestry and agroecology, looking at the current and potential use of different systems.

You will use data to analyse the environmental impacts of different food production methods on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.

You will develop an appreciation of the key scientific advances, debates and uncertainties in the science of sustainable food production.

This is a 15 credit module.

Find out more about this module: 7510CATSCI - The Science of Sustainable Food Production LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

MSc Dissertation

The dissertation involves designing, investigating, and presenting an extended and independently conceived piece of research on a topic of your choosing within a field of study relevant to your course.

This will help you to develop skills in: research methods; data collection and analysis; interpreting results in relation to existing knowledge; self-reflection on research processes; subject-based practical skills; evaluating methodologies; analysis; conclusions; and relevance.

Teaching and learning is by tutorial-supported work on the preparation of this major item of academic discourse. After an initial seminar group meeting involving other students, tuition is mainly on an individual basis.

This is a 60 credit module.

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by the University of East London:  EV7101 - Dissertation Module UEL

Read more about the dissertation module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7500CATSCI - Dissertation LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Optional Modules

Environmental Politics and Economics

The aim of this module is to develop an informed understanding of the complexity of political and economic opinions, perspectives, constraints and interactions that influence environmental policy and action, from international to local levels.

You will investigate how these factors affect attitudes towards, and actions related to, environmental change, sustainability and transformational adaptation planning and policy.

A mixture of lectures, seminar sessions and debates will provide a thorough understanding of historical political and economic transformations in order that you can critically and systematically appraise the influences on and potential outcomes of the transformations required to deliver sustainability and adaptation.

You will develop a discerning and detailed knowledge of the complexities, interrelationships and interactions that exist between politics, economics and other social sciences so that you can contextualise them with reference to environmental sustainability and adaptation planning.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7104 - Environmental Politics and Economics UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7502CATSCI - Environmental Politics and Economics LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Cities and Communities

This module helps develop your knowledge of current research and discourse concerning adaptation planning and sustainability of cities and communities, and their place in current and future environmental contexts.

You will develop a thorough understanding of key elements, infrastructures, maintenance issues, energy budgets, material flows, waste disposal, transportation, and the social dynamics that underlie the development and management of communities and cities.

Following a critical assessment of the complex factors that influence the provision of sustainability and adaptation planning within urban and community focused environments, you will be able to recognise and rationalise the prospects for innovative research and practice for city and community regeneration in the built environment.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7105 - Cities and Communities UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University: 7504CATSCI - Cities and Communities LJMU

Energy Provision

This module takes an in-depth look at the technological and behaviour change aspects of transforming our energy systems to help address climate change and other urgent environmental challenges.

We explore the technological aspects, functioning and practical considerations of different technologies for reducing energy demand and providing more energy via sustainable sources; and investigate resource potential (and limitations), maintenance needs, associated carbon emissions and the environmental impacts of the available renewable energy technologies.

You will develop a critical understanding of the primary need for energy use reduction and how energy distribution constraints, storage, supply and demand management, efficiency improvements, market drivers, planning processes, social and cultural aspects, governmental policy and financial support mechanisms can all affect the uptake of low impact energy systems.

You will comparatively appraise the above in a holistic, objective and self-reflective manner.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7108 - Energy Provision UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7505CATSCI - Energy Provision LJMU

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment

This module involves a systematic evaluation of the environmental impacts and the wider social and health implications of building materials, looking at the use, performance and usability of different materials.

You will gain a thorough appreciation of how environmentally sustainable materials offer creative opportunities for the use and development of high quality, healthy, effective, and long lasting products that can enhance rather than damage ecosystems.

You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different materials, and look at how to use sustainable options in the most effective ways.

We explore issues around the availability, cost, physical properties, construction methods and general perceptions of environmentally responsive materials, looking at ease of use, mainstream acceptance, design limitations, logistical considerations, and economic viability.
Students joining us on-site for the study week get hands-on experience with sustainable building materials in this highly practical module, working with rammed earth, cob, hemp and lime, timber and straw bales.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7110 - Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment UEL (237 downloads)

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7507CATSCI - Sustainable Materials in the Built Environment LJMU (38 downloads)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

 

Applied Project

This project is designed to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a specialist subject within your chosen field of study.

It involves you in analysing complex evidence generated through the Applied Project, and in developing critical responses to existing theoretical discourses, methodologies or practices within your chosen subject.

This is a practical student-led project and report that will include statistical analyses of ongoing projects. It may take the form of, for example, a case study scenario exercise or a design, fabrication, experimentation and testing exercise.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7111 - Applied Project UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7508CATSCI - Applied Project LJMU

Work-based Project

Based on a project that you are undertaking in practice, for example in your workplace or community, this module allows you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of a specialist subject within your chosen field of study.

You will undertake analysis of complex evidence and develop critical responses to existing theoretical discourses, methodologies or practices within the chosen specialist area.

This is a 15 credit module.

Read more about this module for courses awarded by the University of East London: EV7112 - Work Based Project UEL

Read more about this module for courses awarded by Liverpool John Moores University 7509CATSCI - Work-based Project LJMU

Open Days

Graduate School open days offer an authentic flavour of what it’s like to learn on our postgraduate sustainability courses. Informative and inspiring, there’s time to chat with current students and our lecturers to find out if studying with CAT is right for you.

Apply Now

Begin your application today to take the next step in making sustainable change or contact us if you need more information.