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Our MSc by Research is taught in an interdisciplinary environment, by researchers from the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research. Teaching methods and assessments have been carefully designed to simulate the challenges and skills you will need as a researcher in the agriculture and agri-environment sectors.

Your learning environment

Our teaching approach aims to connect theoretical understanding and practical experience. We use interactive learning to encourage students to develop a coherent understanding of current trends and debate.

You'll learn through a variety of teaching methods, including innovative lectures, guest speakers, tutorials, computer laboratory classes, and field trips – all drawing on student participation.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in a one-week field trip in the Autumn term, during which you will visit a range of different organisations in the agriculture and agri-environment sectors. This will provide you with broad exposure to potential employers and job roles, and a greater insight into how world-leading research is conducted.

Recent field trips have included visits to:

  • Rothamsted Research (the world's oldest agriculture research station)
  • NIAB
  • ADAS
  • KWS Seeds
  • RSPB Hope Farm
  • British Trust for Ornithology.

Programme structure and assessment

You'll take two compulsory taught modules totalling 40 credits. All compulsory taught modules will take place in the Autumn and Spring terms. You may also select a further 20 credits from taught modules, with guidance from your Programme Director.

Assessments can include essays and other assignments, problem-solving exercises, presentations, class tests and, in some instances, written examinations. The assessments for the core modules are all coursework based.

The majority of the programme consists of a 120-credit in-depth research project, which commences in January and is conducted during the Spring and Summer terms and the summer vacation. This can be on a theme of your choosing, in accordance with the aims of the degree programme.

The research project is assessed by a literature review, a presentation, and by a written thesis in the form of a scientific paper.

I love the fact that I am able to choose my modules from a wide range of available options to meet my goals, based on my career interests and aspirations.
Cecilia Agrinya, MSc Communication for Development

Research opportunities

You'll develop your research skills by working alongside our experienced researchers.

Your dissertation module will provide the opportunity to design and conduct a research project of your own – allowing you to explore a topic that you are passionate about.


You will also have the opportunity to use your dissertation to carry out fieldwork.

This can help you build your expertise in research skills and analytical tools, and could allow you to engage with or conduct your research project at another research organisation in the sector – all of which can help with your career development.

Some students opt to pursue field research overseas for their dissertation.

Our master's by research

Prepare for a research career in agriculture and agri-environment sectors, or for subsequent doctoral studies, with our MSc by Research in Agriculture, Ecology and Environment.

Why study with us

Gain specialist skills for your future career, and benefit from our extensive research and teaching facilities.

Life in the Department

Join a diverse, supportive community in the Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics.