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SRUC Scotland's Rural College

Sustainable Food Production and Land Use

UCAS Code: D702

Bachelor of Science (with Honours) - BSc (Hons)

Entry requirements


A level

B,C,C

To include a science subject or geography

GCSE/National 4/National 5

English and Maths are required at National 5 (Grades A-C)/GCSE level or equivalent.

Scottish Higher

B,B,C,C

To include a science subject or geography

UCAS Tariff

96-104

We've calculated how many Ucas points you'll need for this course.

About this course


Course option

4.0years

Full-time | 2021

BSc (Hons) Sustainable Food Production and Land Use is an applied biology degree that considers how land use practices can help to tackle today’s critical challenges of climate change, biodiversity and food security.
Agriculture and land use are significant sources of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change, and the IPCC has called for rapid and substantial reductions in GHG from all sectors, including agriculture, if global warming is to be kept below 1.5°C. This will require a major transition in our agricultural and food production systems.
BSc (Hons) Sustainable Food Production and Land Use is designed to equip graduates with knowledge, skills and understanding of sustainable and efficient agricultural systems that provide the growing population with food, bioproducts and bioenergy, whilst helping to combat climate change, enhance biodiversity, and minimise pollution.
The curriculum reflects the recommendations of the UK Committee on Climate Change in their 2018 report ‘Land Use: Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change’. These include increased crop productivity, reduced food wastage and a reduction in land used for grasslands and livestock production. Such measures would release land for forestry and woodlands and for the sustainable production of biomass for biorefining and a rural bioeconomy, to not only reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but also to offset the economic and social impacts of reducing livestock production. Some land released from agricultural production could also be managed for carbon sequestration e.g. by the restoration of peatlands, and the provision of other ecosystem services e.g. water catchment management and maintaining habitats for biodiversity. These issues are all explored in the Sustainable Food Production and Land Use degree.
Plants have a vital role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to generate the biomass and energy that drives all agricultural and natural ecosystems, so plant science is an important part of the curriculum. Students will investigate the latest approaches to improve the nutritional value and yields of crops and to make them more resistant to pests and diseases and more resilient to environmental stresses and climate change. They will also find out about alternative, more sustainable animal production systems, and the integration of livestock into arable rotations and agroforestry systems. Food product innovations from plants, insects and from the culture of animal cells or microbes will also be considered. Soils have the potential to store large amounts of carbon, locking it out of the atmosphere, so students will also learn how soils can be better managed to improve fertility and carbon sequestration, whilst reducing soil erosion, degradation and desertification. They will also be introduced to forestry and woodland systems and to the generation of land-based renewable energy. At an advanced level of the degree, the latest technologies for biorefining and bioproduct manufacture will also be investigated.
Throughout the course, you will develop key skills in practical laboratory investigation, fieldwork, team working, problem solving, critical analysis, communication, numeracy and data handling.
This degree is designed to equip students for a wide range of careers, for example as agricultural and environmental consultants, researchers and lecturers, as farm/estate managers or agronomists, laboratory technicians in novel food production companies or in posts with government bodies and environmental organisations.

Modules

The first year provides an introduction to the principles of cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, biotechnology, plant physiology, soils, land use, crop production, ecology, ecosystems and environmental issues. Students can choose one elective module from Biodiversity conservation, Livestock production systems or Introduction to business management. First year studies also develop associated laboratory and practical skills.

In the second year students apply these principles to the land-based sector, with the following 8 modules: Laboratory bioscience: theory and practice; Food production systems; Agroecosystems: energy and environment; Crop physiology and reproduction; Soil carbon and fertility; Forestry and woodland systems; Renewable energy systems and Land surveying and geographic information systems (GIS).

Third year modules are more advanced and specialised, with the following six mandatory modules: Innovations in food production systems; Crop metabolism, productivity & resilience; Agronomy; Advances in food safety, storage and supply; Agricultural policy analysis and Research skills and data analysis. In addition, students choose two elective modules from the following: Bioresources for a low-carbon bio-economy; Experimental and Analytical Techniques; GIS and remote sensing or Ecological principles and applications. This could include a free choice from any other third year module delivered at the campus, subject to timetabling constraints e.g. Land and habitat restoration; Multipurpose woodland management; Management, innovation and entrepreneurship; Integrated catchment management or Livestock management systems.

The fourth year includes the triple credit Honours research project, in which students investigate a relevant topic of their own choice. They also take the mandatory module Agriculture, environment, science and society, together with four elective modules from the following: Advanced agronomy; Crop breeding and biotechnology; Biorefining technologies; Food biotechnology; Urban agriculture; Soils and nutrient cycling or Advances in livestock production technology. This could include a free choice from any other third or fourth year modules delivered at the campus, subject to timetabling constraints e.g. Action for biodiversity, Advanced multipurpose woodland management or Wildlife and resource management conflicts.

Assessment methods

Modules are assessed separately on a module by module basis using a combination of coursework, practical assessment, and written examinations. Coursework assessments are varied and include, for example, laboratory reports, practical investigations, case studies, essays, reports, oral presentations and group work assignments.

Tuition fees

Select where you currently live to see what you'll pay:

Channel Islands
£6,950
per year
England
£6,950
per year
International
£14,000
per year
Northern Ireland
£6,950
per year
Scotland
£1,820
per year
Wales
£6,950
per year

The Uni


Course location:

Barony

Department:

Agriculture

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