APMA114-Contemporary Issues in Animal Science

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Rachael Neal

Email: r.a.neal@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

You’ll gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of some of the challenges and opportunities that animal science faces in making livestock production sustainable in the 21st century including animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance, use of precision livestock farming technologies, environmental impact of livestock production and animal product composition in relation to human health. This distance learning module is available to students enrolled on the distance learning MSc by Research in Animal Science and the Advanced Training Partnership programmes and comprises a series of interactive, online sessions and discussions.

This online learning module is available to students on the following modes of study: students enrolled on the distance learning MSc by research in Animal Science programme; students enrolled on AgriFood Training Partnership programmes; students wishing to undertake independent study on a modular basis; students engaged in continuing professional development (CPD), taken as a stand-alone module with or without assessment. Students wishing to take the course as part of an unassessed CPD programme should ensure that they are enrolled on the CPD version of the module (APMA514).


To provide an overview of the major challenges currently facing livestock production and an in depth knowledge and understanding of the fundamental and applied science which may be used to address key issues associated with livestock production.  

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the key issues facing livestock production in the 21st century

  • Critically evaluate the challenges and opportunities facing applied animal science research in addressing these issues

Additional outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between fundamental and applied science

  • Use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic

  • Communicate research findings clearly

Demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material

Outline content:

Topics within this module will include:

  • Reducing the environmental footprint of livestock production

  • Management of animal health: addressing antibiotic and anthelmintic resistance

  • The role of the gut microbiome and the animal metabolome in livestock production and health

  • Issues in animal welfare science

  • Precision livestock farming

  • Animal products and human health

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials.  There will be a series of online discussions and exercises to support learning.  An online presentation by each student will form the basis of discussion at the end of the module, and form part of the assessment of the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module will be assessed by written coursework and a screencast/ online presentation.  The written assignment will comprise 70% of the overall module assessment.  An online presentation (screencast) will be prepared and uploaded for viewing by peers and academic staff as part of an online conference/discussion.  The presentation and the contributions made to the online discussion will comprise the remaining 30% of the overall module mark.


Formative assessment methods:

Online exercises and quizzes, and feedback and contributions from others in the online discussion fora will provide the basis for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:

Work that is submitted up to one calendar month after the submission deadline (and time) will be subject to a deduction of 10%.  Work that is submitted after one calendar month beyond the submission deadline will not be marked (unless extenuating circumstances have been agreed).

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall (weighted average of the coursework marks).

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 29 July 2020


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