The world is currently facing the greatest environmental crisis of recent times: how to sustain over 7 billion people while maintaining a habitable environment. Projected global warming impacts, plus continuing loss of land and other natural resources, will continue to impact adversely on the livelihoods and wellbeing of millions of people. There is a need to manage the global environment in a more sustainable way and sustainable development must be underpinned by a thorough understanding of environmental issues and their interactions. Emphasising the integrated nature of the subject, this programme provides a solid foundation in environmental science, data collection and analysis, as well as the economic and social contexts in which environmental investigations operate, to give an holistic view of environmental science for modern sustainable development.
- Dr Peter Burt, Programme Leader and leader of the Research Methods, Fundamentals of Meteorology, Climate Change and Ecological Footprinting, GIS and Remote Sensing for Natural Resources. Soils and Environments, and Tools for Sustainability courses is a biometeorologist and expert on climate change and its impacts on organisms.
- David Grzywacz, deputy programme leader and project tutor, is a specialist in biological crop protection.
- Dr Rob Black, a former leader of the Institute's MSc in Natural Resources programme, is an expert in law and development in relation to plant protection, regulatory affairs, including legislative review and drafting for agriculture, and quarantine and environmental protection. He leads the Risk Analysis for Agriculture and Development course.
- Claire Coote, an agricultural economist with over 30 years' experience, in agricultural development and marketing in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean leads the Economics, Agriculture, and Marketing course, the Corporate Social Responsibility course and co-leads the Tools for Sustainability course.
- Professor Rick Hodges is an expert in aspects of reptile biology and conservation. He leads the Conservation Ecology course.
- Professor John Morton, Professor of Development Anthropology with 25 years' experience in applied social research and consultancy for rural development runs the livestock course.
- Linda Nicolaides is a food safety specialist with particular interests in aspects of the food supply chain and food security. She teaches aspects of the courses in Climate Change and Ecological Footprinting, and Risk Analysis for Agriculture and Environment. She is also Programme Leader of the Institute's MSc in Food Safety and Quality Management.
- John Orchard, NRI's Director of Research, is a plant physiologist/biochemist, and expert in the horticulture supply chain who teaches aspects of Climate Change and Ecological Footprinting.
- Dr Helena Posthumus teaches applies her expertise in aspects of ecosystems approaches, agricultural economics and policy, rural land use and soil and water conservation, to these aspects of the Soils and Environments course.
- Professor Susan Seal, Professor of Molecular Biology who has 25 years' experience in plant molecular biology, biotechnology and transgenic crops issues teaches on biotechnology and disease diagnosis.
The programme details
Research Methods (15 credits). This is delivered by a team of NRI and other University staff in methods covering use of scientific literature, experimental design, data analysis and statistics, project planning, report writing and research communication.
Fundamentals of Meteorology (15 credits) helps students to understand the operation and significance of weather and its inter-relationships with living systems, enabling them to apply their knowledge of weather and climate when analysing environmental, farming and ecological systems.
Conservation Ecology (30 credits). Delivered by a team of conservation and environmental 'practitioners' this course provides an overview of modern conservation practice and the techniques this requires.
Independent research project (60 credits). Supervised by NRIs staff of agricultural experts' gives students a chance to focus on a particular topic of interest to the student and undertake independent scientific research.
Climate Change and Ecological Footprinting (15 credits), provides students with a thorough grounding in the concept of climate change, and its potential impacts on natural and human ecosystems.
Corporate Social Responsibility (15 credits). The purpose of the course is to provide students with an insight into economic, political and social aspects of natural resources management from a corporate social responsibility perspective, particularly in the context of improving environmentally responsible practices in developing countries.
Economics, Agriculture, and Marketing (15 credits). This introduces economic issues in agriculture and the constraints to and opportunities for improving agricultural marketing and market access.
Environmental Impact Assessment (15 credits). This course aims to explain the nature of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and give a detailed knowledge of the operation of EIA procedures in the UK.
GIS and Remote Sensing for Natural Resources (30 credits) develops an awareness of applications of GIS and remote sensing for monitoring and managing natural resources, including the principles of acquiring, processing and using remotely-sensed data and simple management and analysis using GIS
Livestock and Sustainable Agriculture (15 Credits). This introduces students to the role of livestock in developing countries and its contribution to cropping and sustainable land use.
Risk Analysis for Agriculture and the Environment (15 credits). This course provides an introduction to the principles of risk analysis that underpin decision-making in regulation of agricultural technology and consequent health and environmental protection.
Soils and Environments (15 credits). This course aims to develop the student's knowledge of soil systems in the context of sustainable agriculture and development.
Tools for Sustainability (15 credits) provides students with the background to sustainability indicators, and the philosophical and practical scientific methods that can be applied to measure sustainable development.
This programme provides specialist expertise for those working or wishing to work in aspects of environmental management, consultancy or research, or seeking an advanced environmental development/management qualification in the UK and overseas. Students graduate with a broad general knowledge of environmental issues in sustainable development and also more focused in-depth knowledge of an area of specialization.
Key programme features
This programme focuses on developing country issues, although the material is applicable to environmental studies worldwide, and draws on the Natural Resources Institute's (NRI's) unrivalled pool of expertise in issues of sustainable development, climate and other environmental change, environmental data collection and analysis, biosecurity and ecological applications. The programme is focussed around providing students with the key concepts needed to address these issues, learning from real case studies delivered by experts with experience of implementing environmental projects around the world.
The research project on a topic of the students choosing benefits from having a team of supervisors who are research practitioners with global range of experience in both the technology and science of modern agriculture and the social and economic aspects of agricultural systems.
Research topics also benefit from the modern suite of laboratories, growth rooms and analytical facilities at NRI which underpin the Institute's very active research programme on agricultural and environmental issues.
What students can expect from the course
This is a full time one year course which can be started either in September or January. Teaching and learning includes a variety of educational styles including seminars, lectures, group work, assignments and tutorials. Assessment consists of a combination of assignments, essays, presentations, reports, portfolios and formal examinations.
Formal examinations occur three times a year, in January, May and August. The project, which constitutes a third of the assessment, is submitted either in August of January at the end of the Programme.
Support training in English and scientific writing is available to assist students for whom English is not a first language.