Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or international equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as biology, environmental science, food science, biochemistry, agriculture or crop and soil science.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any components.
UK fees
£13,500 (Total)
International fees
£31,000 (Total)

Course overview

Sustainable agriculture header image with sheep

Feed the world whilst protecting our planet

Society is dependent on our ability to produce sufficient, nutritious food through agriculture. However farming practices have detrimental impacts on our environments, global biodiversity and climate. The increasing importance of sustainable agriculture and food production is driven by the triple threat of growing global population, rising pressure on our environment and a changing climate.

This is a multidisciplinary programme, which builds on key strengths in sustainable agricultural research within our faculty and taps into the diverse expertise available across the wider University and beyond, including the Global Food and Environment Institute.Teaching will be both interdisciplinary and research-led to ensure that you are aware of the issues throughout the field of both agriculture and food production.

You’ll be taught the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture and food production from a wide range of perspectives, before moving on to cutting edge research topics. This will include an array of agricultural innovations, including environmental management and monitoring, sustainable livestock production, genome engineering and crop biotechnology.

As well as being exposed to the latest research in sustainable agriculture, with a significant component of practical work, field skills and training in relevant techniques, you’ll build a wealth of transferable research skills. This will prepare you for your advanced research project, working under the supervision of a world-leading academic or industrial expert. We also encourage work-embedded research projects with food production-related organisations globally.

The programme will prepare you for both PhD study and employment in a large range of industries that support agriculture and food production, propelling you into roles such as consultancy, policy, scientific monitoring and biotech, to name just a few. More generally, your skills would align strongly with a wealth of opportunities in business and government around sustainability, climate mitigation, decarbonisation and circular economies.

Course highlights

  • Be empowered to research and change agricultural practices through innovative and environmental solutions

  • A significant proportion of the teaching on this course is provided by academics from the Centre for Plant Sciences, a cross-faculty research centre of excellence in plant sciences

  • Learn and undertake research within the University of Leeds and the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) specialist facilities including the research farm, which houses the £11million National Pig Centre

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the social and political aspects of sustainable agriculture and food production


You’ll have access to a wealth of facilities during your time at the University of Leeds. We’ve recently invested in a wide range of agricultural facilities at the university’s Research Farm, located just outside of Leeds. The farm houses the National Pig Centre, which was launched in partnership with the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock after an £11million investment in 2019. You’ll also be able to engage with a broad range of crop, soil and plant science research taking place on the farm site, with the option of carrying out your individual research project using the facility.

Course details

In your first semester, you will start by focussing on the fundamental, global issues in sustainable agriculture and the food production systems that support humanity. You’ll engage with a number of existing and innovative solutions to these issues across a broad range of topics, from sustainable protein production to field management systems. Both crop and livestock production will be covered in depth, alongside developing the research and data skills you’ll need to recognise the problems in agriculture and begin to apply scientific ideas to finding potential solutions.

In your second semester, you’ll build on this knowledge to gain depth of knowledge and develop a range of skills to prepare you for your future career. You’ll focus on applied research in a wide range of agricultural disciplines, including breeding, biotechnology, agricultural policy and economics. Field skills in agricultural research and environmental monitoring will develop your research capabilities.

In your third semester, you will undertake your individual advanced research project under the supervision of an expert in the field of sustainable agriculture. You’ll be given the opportunity to work with academic supervisors and in some cases industrial supervisors, where possible. You will plan, design and implement a practical, work-based, fieldwork or data-based project, and present your results and analysis in the form of a scientific report and presentation.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Global Challenges in Sustainable Agriculture 15
Crop Production in a Changing Environment 15
Sustainable Diets and Protein Production 15
Research Skills and Data Analysis 15
Crop Science & Plant Biotechnology 30
Agri-Environmental Monitoring, Economics and Policy 15
Circular Approaches to Sustainable Agri-food Systems 15
Masters Research Project 60

Learning and teaching

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, seminars and tutorials, problem-solving, practical classes and discussions. A significant component of the course is delivered via small group sessions. You will also undertake an independent research project under the supervision of an expert in the field. These teaching methods will provide you with the latest knowledge in a range of inter-related fields, as well as the transferable and technical skills needed to excel in future careers.

The course is designed to develop your independent thinking, problem-solving, communication skills and practical ability, making you attractive to employers or providing an excellent foundation for further study (eg, PhD).

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


The course is 100% coursework assessed. There are a range of authentic assessments in different formats for example practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, coursework essays, research proposals, posters and oral presentations. The assignments will focus on your ability to demonstrate key intellectual, research and technical understanding, rather than the ability to produce lengthy pieces of written work. Assignments will be flexible where practicable, allowing you to work on topics that you are interested and engaged with. Assessments are designed to develop skills relevant to a future career in the agricultural, academic or scientific sector.

Choose your independent advanced research project from a wide list of topics, which are designed to offer you an immersive individual research experience, as well as the opportunity to contribute to science in an area you are passionate about.


The MSc in Sustainable Agriculture has a number of field work components, taking advantage of the unique geographical and academic situation at the University of Leeds. The University Farm will offer valuable opportunities to apply your knowledge and practical research skills outside of the laboratory and lecture theatre. In addition, Leeds sits between the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks with easy access to the diverse agricultural heritage of both of these landscapes.


Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as biology, environmental science, food science, biochemistry, agriculture or crop and soil science.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any components. . For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Documents and information you’ll need

  • Completed online application form (for Taught Postgraduate Study).
  • Full CV.
  • Transcript of degree examination marks achieved to date.
  • Copy of final degree certificate (if completed).
  • Evidence of English language qualification (non-native English speakers only).
  • Copy of passport (if you’re an overseas student).
  • Completed supporting statement:

Find out more about how to apply.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.


It is standard procedure to interview applicants, prior to making a decision on their application, for MRes Neuroscience, MRes Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, MSc Biopharmaceutical Development (Industrial) and MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine. Interviews do not form part of the standard admissions process for other programmes in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

International application deadline: July 31 2024

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Contact us

Faculty of Biological Sciences postgraduate taught admissions team



UK: £13,500 (Total)

International: £31,000 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Scholarships for Faculty of Biological Sciences students

The Faculty of Biological Sciences offers a number of Masters scholarships to support and reward students from the UK and around the world. Don’t miss out on available support, visit our dedicated faculty scholarship page to check your eligibility.

Career opportunities

The program would align very strongly with the wide range of industries that support agriculture and food production, and with career paths in those industries. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Agricultural and/or environmental consultancy.
  • Agricultural advisory and policy organisations (Natural England, Farming Advice Service, DEFRA).
  • Environmental and agricultural monitoring.
  • Agro-chemicals (Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, etc.).
  • Plant biotechnology and crop breeding (KWS, Limagrain, RAGT, etc.).
  • Agronomy.
  • Feed companies (i.e. for livestock).
  • Agricultural equipment (particularly instrumentation).

More generally, the program would align strongly with a wealth of opportunities in business and government around sustainability, climate mitigation, decarbonisation and circular economies.

Specific job titles might include: agronomist, industrial scientist, farm assessor, academic scientist (i.e. PhD student), agricultural policy adviser, agricultural technologist.

Careers support

We take your personal development and employability very seriously. We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) who advises us on what they look for in graduates and ensures that relevant employability related skills are embedded within all our courses.


Our dedicated employability and opportunity team will support you throughout your time at Leeds, making you aware of events and opportunities to increase your employability.

In addition, our Masters Career Development Programme will support you to:

  • Explore career options and career planning.
  • Understand the PhD application process and optimise PhD applications.
  • Learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media for effective networking and career opportunities.
  • Practice interviews for both job and PhD applications.

You’ll have access to seminars and presentations from industry professionals (including our alumni) at Faculty-led career events.

We also host regular research seminars presented by leading academics from around the world on their specialist subjects.