Global Food Security and Development PG Dip

Almost one in eight people around the world are chronically undernourished. Recurrent food price spikes and socio-political unrest, climate change, land degradation and scarcity of natural resources – coupled with decline in rural communities and livelihoods – have placed food security high on the development agenda. This course is designed to meet the growing demands for professionals equipped with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitude needed to deal with these challenges. 

About this course

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying food security, using insights from agroecological
sciences, geography, social and political sciences, and innovation studies. The course will use research-informed teaching to explore and analyse global food security issues, the factors that affect food security outcomes, the solutions to food security problems, and the planning and execution of food security interventions.

Your study is designed to be practice-oriented and aims to enhance your employability within development
organisations working on food security. This means that you will not only explore the status, drivers and solutions of global food insecurity, but also focus on how these aspects could be systematically analysed and acted upon in a real world setting. You’ll draw on examples from both developing and developed countries.

NTU has links with various universities and international development institutions such as the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The course pulls together staff expertise in various relevant disciplines from within the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, and also from other
schools across NTU, including the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Social Sciences, and Nottingham Business School.

How do you study?

You’ll be taught through a mixture of interactive lectures, detailed case studies, tutorials, workshops, seminars, study visits, and placements. You’ll also have opportunities to present your work to peers and academic staff.
Independent learning is required, and you’ll undertake high-quality research for the Masters awards. You’ll
research your chosen topic in depth, then design and implement a relevant research project, before communicating the findings to an informed audience in a comprehensive scientific report.

Teaching is supported by our Brackenhurst campus – a 200-hectare country estate and working farm. The
campus is part of the DEFRA Environmental Stewardship scheme, which supports the effective environmental
management of farm land and countryside estates. The farm includes sheep, a poultry unit, and a herd of
Lincoln red beef cattle, as well as arable and protected crop production. The farm promotes sustainable land
use and management, demonstrating modern farming techniques whilst achieving high conservation value.

You’ll also have access to modern, bespoke scientific facilities, teaching resources, and accommodation.

Your course leader and lecturers are actively involved in liaising with external agencies and industry, to ensure the course is relevant and meets the needs of employers. It’s been designed to meet the demand for well- qualified specialists who are ready for the challenge of ensuring global food security. Successful completion will create employment opportunities within the sector, as well as within research areas. Some of these professional opportunities include: 

• United Nations institutions and programmes such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Development Department (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
• Government departments for agriculture, food or rural development, such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the UK.
• International donor agencies, such as the Department for International Development (DFID), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
• National and international NGOs (non-government organisations), such as the Soil Association, Oxfam, CARE International, and Action Aid. 
• Charitable organisations.
• Private sector agribusiness corporations and consultancies.

What you’ll study

  • Research Methods and Data Analysis (MRes, MSc)

This module provides you with advanced skills in designing, planning and evaluating studies in research. You’ll become familiar with qualitative and quantitative research processes, as well as the methods and statistical tools used in food security research.

  • Food Security and Food Systems Analysis (MSc, PGDip, optional module for MRes)

This module introduces the concepts of food security, the theories regarding the causes of food insecurity, and the tools and methods for assessing food security. In addition, the module will explore the concept of food systems, the methods for analysing food systems, and the challenges and risks facing contemporary food systems. A special focus is placed on the links between the characteristics and dynamics of various food systems, and the achievement of food security outcomes at various levels, both in developed and developing countries.

  • Innovations for Food Security (MSc, PGDip, optional module for MRes)

This module explores innovation in the solution to food security problems. Topics will cover technological innovations in primary production (e.g. crop and animal varieties, including GMOs; farm machineries; soil and water management; and pests and disease control technologies), as well as in the processing, distribution, and retailing of agri-food products. The module also covers non-technological innovations, including policy and regulatory processes, and institutional arrangements in the agri-food sectors. A key aspect of this module will be to discuss the various approaches to promoting innovation and behavioural change relating to food and farming.

  • Food Security and International Development Cooperation (MSc, PGDip)

This module will introduce the concepts of development and development cooperation. It explores the roles of
international development cooperation in alleviating food insecurity in developing countries. Topics will include various forms of development assistance relating to food security provided by governments, international institutions and NGOs, along with assessing their effectiveness. This module will also discuss how to effectively plan and manage agricultural and rural development programmes, including such issues as situation analysis, planning, administration, and monitoring and evaluation.

  • Research Project (MRes, MSc)

Research in depth a chosen topic area related to food security. Design and implement a relevant research project with a strong aspect of originality. Communicate the findings to an informed audience in a comprehensive scientific report.

PG Dip, MSc, MRes, PG Dip, MSc, MRes Award
September Start
Full-time, Part-time Study Mode

Entry Requirements For This Course

For 2017 entry you will need:


  • A minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent  in a relevant science, humanities or business honours degree

MSc / PGDip

  • A minimum of a 2:2 or equivalent in a relevant science, humanities or business honours degree

We accept degrees in Geography; Agriculture and Land Management; Earth Sciences; Environmental Sciences and Ecology; International Relations; and Political, Legal or Business Studies. Students with an interdisciplinary background in natural and social sciences are particularly welcome to apply.

We specify these minimum entry requirements, but we will assess you  individually on your ability to benefit from the course. We sometimes offer  places on the basis of non-standard entry qualifications, and industrial or  professional experience. Entry requirements may be relaxed for students with  considerable work experience.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200

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