Course: MSc Sustainable Food and Agriculture Policy

Course details

  • Location

    Royal Agricultural University Campus
  • Duration

    1 year (full time) or 2+ years (part time) (Full time / Part time)
  • Academic Year

    21 September 2020 - 21 May 2021. For February entry the academic year starts 18 January 2021.

A dynamic course for a rapidly-changing sector, this programme has been created in conjunction with our industry partners, including the National Trust and National Farmers’ Union. This course is primarily distance learning.

Course overview 

Working across agriculture and the food supply chain, you will gain a deeper understanding of the sector, the challenges of the future and how they interconnect.

Policy and strategy around the area of food is vital for the sustainable growth of any country. This is a time of unprecedented demand for innovative solutions to sustain the flow of high quality food to more people than ever before, alongside increasing demands for traceability and provenance.

Brexit also presents an opportunity for the UK to become an important world player in the production of high quality, sustainably produced food. To secure this aim, numerous opportunities will arise for highly educated business-minded people who are capable of leading British food production policy.

If you have an inquisitive mind, or wish to learn these skills, this course will help you develop the knowledge you need to boost or begin a career in the industry. We will provide you with important industry contacts and placements within major national companies. You will have the opportunity to connect with organisations that are shaping policy; covering areas including climate change, consumer trends, post-Brexit trading terms, public health, animal welfare and future food security.

Careers and enterprise 

This course has been carefully developed to meet skills gaps and respond to changes in recruitment trends. Graduates are highly likely to go on to pursue a career within the food or an allied industry and a number of businesses visit the University every year to recruit new staff.

Careers could include:

  • Procurement
  • Market research
  • Commercial or general management in the food industry
  • Farm or Environmental Consultants
  • Working for the Government, international agencies or NGOs
  • The development of new companies through entrepreneurial initiatives


The course is largely delivered online, in conjunction with short intensive learning periods on campus, which give you the opportunity to network and meet your classmates. An experienced online team has built a course packed with engaging multimedia content and opportunities to collaborate with other students.

With part-time and full-time options, the programme is highly flexible so that you can live at home and study in the evenings and weekends, or alongside your job. Here is an example of the format that the distance learning may take.

Course structure

With two entry points per year the course can be studied full-time over one year or part-time over two years. Eight modules will be studied, as well as a final project for which you can choose an internship within business, an applied project related to a policy challenge or dissertation based on a topic of specific interest to you.

There will be plenty of academic support during residentials and during distance learning, where you’ll discuss, challenge and create through group discussion and forums.

All students on this course will be invited to participate in at least one additional enhancement week. This optional programme, not linked to a specific module, will include farm and site visits as well as invited speakers to help students consolidate and apply their learning. This will be particularly valuable for full time residential and international students.

Academic year dates

Semester 1


30/09/2019 - 11/10/2019

Orientation (distance learning)

14/10/2019 - 25/10/2019Residential blog


28/10/2019 - 20/12/2019Distance learning
23/12/2019 - 03/01/2020University Closed - Christmas holidays
06/01/2019 - 17/01/2020Distance learning
Semester 224/02/2020 - 06/03/2020Orientation (distance learning)
09/03/2020 - 20/03/2020Residential blog
23/03/2020 - 29/05/2020Distance learning


 * Optional additions to the course will incur additional charges

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

Entry requirements 

Students will be expected to have:

  • A minimum 2.1 honours degree from a UK university, or an equivalent academic qualification from a comparable international institution
  • Students whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with no element below 5.5 or equivalent
  • Mature applicants without a first degree but with acceptable professional qualifications and/or acceptable related experience may also be considered

This course is delivered via distance learning combined with some residential elements. Overseas students are welcome, however you will need to obtain a short-term study visa for the residential elements or live in the UK under another visa that allows you to study. View our visa advice for international students for further information.


Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing module fees, re-sit fees or dissertation extensions).

2020/21 Applicants

For the academic year 2020/21 the tuition fees for this course are:  

Full-time £8,160 per year£12,240 per year
Part-time Fees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpageFees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpage

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.

2019/20 Applicants

For the academic year 2019/20 the tuition fees for this course are:  

Full-time£8,000 per year £12,000 per year
Part-time Please refer to Tuition Fees webpagePlease refer to Tuition Fees webpage

**Please note: International students travelling from overseas to attend the residential elements of the course will need to obtain a short-term study visa to come to the UK. International students who are already in the UK can study on a part-time only if they are in the UK with a different type of visa (other than Tier 4 Child/General) that allows them to undertake part-time study and their visa does not expire prior to the end date of the proposed course of study.

Please contact before you apply to confirm your egibility.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.

Residential blocks full-board costs 2019/20**

Full-time student, full-board basis£900*
Part-time student, full-board basis (course completed in 2 years)£450*
Part-time student, full-board basis(course completed in 4 years)£225*

*Costs are subject to an increase in 2020/21.

**For part-time study residential block fees are quoted per year.

Dates for residential blocks

October (2 weeks)14-18 Oct and 21-25 Oct14/10/2020*13/10/2021*12/10/2022*
March (2 weeks)9-13 March and 16-20 March10/3/2021*9/3/2022*8/3/2023*

*Dates may be subject to change

Attendance of residential blocks according to mode of attendance

 October entry
One year study

Attend both Week 1 and 2 of October and March residential blocks in Year 1

Two year study

Attend Week 1 of October and March residential blocks in Year 1

Attend Week 2 of October and March residential blocks in Year 2

Four year study

Attend October Week 1 in Year 1

Attend March Week 1 in Year 2

Attend October Week 2 in Year 3

Attend March Week 2 in Year 4


 February entry
One year study

Attend both Week 1 and 2 of March and October residential blocks in Year 1

Two year study

Attend Week 1 of March and October residential blocks in Year 1

Attend Week 2 of March and October residential blocks in Year 2

Four year study

Attend March Week 1 in Year 1

Attend October Week 1 in Year 2

Attend March Week 2 in Year 3

Attend October Week 2 in Year 4



The University offers a range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the scholarships, awards and bursaries available, please visit the scholarships webpage.

Ready to take the plunge? Apply now

Applications to study for postgraduate degrees need to be made directly through the University. 

You can now apply via our website, using the online application form. 

Alternatively, if you are unable access the online form you can call Admissions on +44 (0)1285 889 912, or email

We recommend that you keep a copy of the completed form for their records. 

Course options