Global Food Security and Nutrition
Understanding the interconnection of food, health and the environment, as well as their trade-offs is vital to formulate policies that enable us to achieve food security in a sustainable manner.
About this programme
The MSc in Global Food Security and Nutrition recognises that food security concerns not only food policy and food production issues but other aspects such as land tenure, immigration, demographics, diet and nutrition, technology, natural resources (e.g., pressures on water and soil) and climate change. UoE and SRUC offer expertise and research on these topics, and the team have good working relationships with international organisations that are at the cutting edge of addressing food security issues, such as FAO, World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Federation of Red Cross/Crescent.
What is food security?
Food security is concerned with the availability, access, and utilisation of safe, nutritious and sustainable food to all, especially vulnerable groups within society. The challenges related to food are not only the existence of approximately 795 million undernourished people in the world (Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)) but also the increasing presence of diet related non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes and heart disease); the contribution of agriculture to greenhouse gas emissions and land use change. Understanding the interconnection of food, health and the environment, as well as their trade-offs is vital to formulate policies that enable us to achieve food security in a sustainable manner.
Our students include those with a background in agriculture, development, food systems or other food related studies, as well as professionals within a broad range of disciplines such as food production, distribution, policy, or international development. Experience of a broad range of food and nutrition related topics is also considered when applying.
The flexibility of the course allowed me to fit studying around my existing work and lifestyle. It was well organised and staff were always available to answer questions. The content was interesting and well delivered and there was scope within the assignments to tailor them to my own area of interest. Alongside the formal teaching, the opportunity to connect with other students, in discussion boards and in particular during group exercises, proved a very valuable learning experience. With students from all around the world, the range of views and experiences expressed helped put the subject into a truly global context. I have gained a solid understanding around the topics of food security and nutrition that I hope to build on in a professional context.
Free online course
Our free online course 'Sustainable Global Food Systems' is available now on edX.
How do we feed 11 billion people? Discover the importance of sustainable food systems globally with our new online course Sustainable Global Food Systems on edX.
Learn for free or upgrade for the opportunity to earn a certificate.
MSc, PGDip, PGCert, PPD
The online, part-time format of our teaching is particularly suited to students with busy lives. The flexible learning environment can be adapted to suit individual needs and online study offers you the flexibility to study at a time and location that is convenient for you.
The School has been teaching online taught postgraduate programmes since 2008 and online learning is treated as seriously as in-person. Our digital teaching platform has a dedicated e-learning team to ensure the teaching runs smoothly and students have access to support and welfare staff throughout their studies.
This programme is supported by an experienced team of a programme director, co-ordinator, administrator and course leaders and each student is provided with a personal tutor.
Key features of the programme are pre-recorded lectures that you can view at any time, study guides, textbook and journal excerpts and interactive online discussions, enabling students from a range of disciplines to bring their unique perspectives to build a community of online students.
The MSc programme begins in September and runs part-time over a period of 3-6 years. The programme is delivered using a blend of online learning methods, supported by the University’s award-winning online learning environments.
Students enrolling onto standalone short courses may have start dates throughout the academic year.
The programme is structured to allow sequential progression from short courses* to Certificate, Diploma and MSc phases however, there are several earlier exit points.
Students can opt to take time out from learning if work or family life are impacted too much. It is also possible to pay per course** to help spread the cost of your studies.
*also referred to as the Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) scheme
**The University uses the terminology 'course', and sometimes 'module', to refer to the individual components that make up a degree programme
Certificate and Diploma
The Certificate phase comprises three core courses from within the programme (see Content tab).
The Diploma phase comprises of a further core course and elective options from within the programme (see Content tab). Some elective courses are available from other programmes by request.
The dissertation element gives students the opportunity to further develop scientific skills and apply scientific theory, in a less structured learning environment.
The dissertation is designed to advance your understanding of the processes and planning involved in undertaking research and to develop your scientific written communication skills, research ethics, statistics and the principle of good research practice.
This is a self-directed course but you are supported by an allocated subject-specific expert supervisor, statistician and experienced researchers from within the programme team. You are also encouraged, where appropriate, to work closely with senior staff at your home institution.
20 credit courses (elsewhere often called ‘modules’) are delivered in 2 blocks of 5 weeks of study plus 1 week of independent study and reflection time in between.
10 credit courses are delivered over a period of 5 weeks. The majority of the lecture material is pre-recorded so that it can be watched at any time.
Each 10 credits represents 100 hours of study time and a time commitment of 20hrs per week.
|Nutrition for Food Security
|Sustainable Food Production
|Frameworks to Assess Food Security
|Interrelationships in Food Systems
|20 credits - core
|10 credits - elective
|Innovation in Sustainable Food Systems
|20 credits - elective
|Research Methods and Data Analysis*
|10 credits - elective
|Elective courses - a selection
|10 / 20 credits
*Research Methods & Data Analysis course is core for progressing to MSc
A selection of elective courses are available which allow students to follow their own interests. Electives can also be taken from within other programmes by arrangement.
Years 3 - 6
Students must complete the Dissertation Element in a single academic year by the end of Year 6 of study.
|Global Food Security and Nutrition Dissertation
Although all courses are offered, we will not be able to guarantee that all courses will be available to all students, each year. This will be dependent upon numbers of students and availability of places on non-programme owned courses.
The Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) scheme is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through postgraduate-level learning, without the time, or financial commitment, of a full award.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years and gain a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit.
You can also choose to continue your studies after one year and put credits towards a postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or full Masters degree. Any time spent taking courses through the PPD scheme will be deducted from the amount of time you have left to complete the higher award.
To view the Global Food Security and Nutrition short courses available within the PPD scheme and details on how to apply, please visit the Credit-bearing standalone short courses page.
In this post, two of our Richard Davidson scholarship students share the impact being part of this programme has had on them and their work.
As a trained chef and culinary instructor, I have always tried to get the ‘best’ food for the customers but did not fully appreciate what happens beyond the restaurant. This programme provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of food security and explores the delicate interrelationships between food systems, the impact of our eating habits and the drivers of food policies.
If you have questioned the food beyond your plate and wanted to know more about biodynamic farming, climate change, food policy and innovative technology that could support smart city development, this programme will help answer those questions.
The professors from different areas of expertise offer insight and help you to analyse information so you can create an informed opinion. The content is pertinent to what is happening in the world today and assignments are varied and relevant. Throughout my experience, I have found the support from the university to be nothing short of excellent.
The programme would be most suitable for those with an undergraduate Honours Degree (first or 2:1 or its equivalent) in biochemical or biological science. In circumstances where the background is not specifically related to these disciplines, we may also consider applications from those who have relevant work experience. Applicants can contact the programme team to check before applying. They may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.
Once successfully on the programme, completion of core courses (modules) is a pre-requisite for progression to subsequent courses.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, we will also need to see evidence of your English language proficiency before we can offer you a place.
Please note that you can pay for the programme on a course (module) basis. Each course is 20 credits and the dissertation year is equivalent to 60 credits.
Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
The University of Edinburgh subscribes to a funding database specifically for those looking for funding to support postgraduate studies. The guide contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance and tools to help you prepare a winning grant application including.
It is recommended that you conduct your own research on this, but you can refer to the University Scholarship website to view suggestions on Scholarships.
Get up to £200 towards the cost of a training course with an SDS Individual Training Account (ITA).
You could use the money to build the skills you need for a job. Or get some training to take your career to the next level. Whatever you want to do, there is a wide range of ITA approved courses on offer.
UK government postgraduate loans
If you are planning to study with us, you could be eligible for a postgraduate loan towards your fees. From this year, online programmes are also eligible for this funding (please note, restrictions apply)
This funding is available for UK nationals, those with settled status, and in some cases, EU nationals not resident in the UK.
Mastercard Scholars Foundation Scholarships 2020-21
There are up to 15 Mastercard Scholars Foundation scholarships available for postgraduate study for selected programmes at the University including MSc Global Food Security & Nutrition (online). These online scholarships are only available to students who have been a previous Mastercard Foundation Scholar in a Mastercard Foundation partner institution.
Mastercard Scholars Foundation Scholarships
Online applicaton form
Applications must be submitted through the University’s online application service, EUCLID. Offers cannot be made without a fully completed online application.
If you would like more information on applying for this programme please contact our team using the address below:
Programme Team: Food.SecurityNutrition@ed.ac.uk