MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate

Applied Agricultural Sciences

Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time and part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Delivery: Online and campus-based; block delivery

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Course overview

Join the next generation of agriculturalists, equipped with the skills to shape the future. Benefit from our Digital Innovation Farm and government-funded Agri-Tech Centre.

Pursue big global issues

Pursue key agricultural solutions to today’s industry challenges of climate change, sustainability, resource management, food security, food safety and an increasing world population.

Supported by our academic and industry experts, you’ll understand how scientific theory can be used to improve professional practice.

Lead agricultural innovation

Our government-backed £2million Agri-Tech Centre and Digital Innovation Farm project have been designed to make us a leading national voice in agri-science.

You’ll be part of this initiative, playing an active role in our smart farming platform where knowledge and digital technology combine. Our smart tech, robotics and precision tools will place you at the forefront of agricultural data and science.

Create a sustainable future

You’ll have access to laboratories, our 400-hectare award-winning commercial farm (dairy, beef, sheep and arable) and smart farming initiatives. You’ll be supported to maximise learning opportunities in the real-world both inside and outside your studies, to help provide sustainable solutions for modern industry challenges.

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What you'll study

What you'll study


The master’s degree focuses on the science of agricultural production, focused on meeting current industry sustainability challenges. You’ll understand how livestock management research is informing critical initiatives to address urgent global issues across the next 50 years.

A central theme will be investigating how science can support industry to conserve natural resources; this is increasingly vital as resources become scarce and pressure to meet sustainable developments goals (SDGs) increases. You’ll evaluate effective measurement models, understanding how farming systems support the effective management of natural, manufactured and human resources, to maximise sustainability and business profitability. This will include controlling supply, demand and business value chains.

To enhance your learning, you’ll engage in new ways with your own professional practice, increasing your ability to relate academic theory to the work environment. This will ensure you’re building identified work-related skills - intellectual, transferable and subject specific - to enhance your career.

Through your dissertation, you’ll design and deliver a piece of research in line with your interests or professional focus. This could be based in your own workplace or another industry area, for example, an initiative on our commercial farm, Agri-Tech Centre or as part of our Digital Innovation Farm project.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

Studying a postgraduate certificate or diploma is ideal for those who want to complete a specific part of this master’s degree, without the academic research. In particular, this may suit people who are working in a specific agricultural sector and just want to focus on that one area for their study.

Your PGCert includes the modules focusing on the principles and practices of production and husbandry, sustainable systems and resource management. Please view the specific module breakdown for further details.

The PGDip includes all of the specialist modules without completion of a larger research dissertation. Please view the specific module breakdown for further details.


Below you’ll find the compulsory modules for the master’s (MSc) course.

If you choose to study a postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate, you’ll be able to choose from a range of optional modules to suit your interests and career goals. Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Compulsory modules

This includes discussion of research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

The module will support the students to evaluate the importance of all aspects of sustainable production with the modern industry, the legal and other frameworks governing agricultural management and review the philosophies within sustainable agricultural production, allowing for critical appraisal of current systems and assured produce production schemes.

Through this, the students will be able to select appropriate strategies for achieving sustainable targets and highlight the commercial possibilities and the uncertainties associated with such systems whilst understanding integrated land use strategies for livestock and crop production systems that manage land in a sustainable manner, giving due consideration to environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and economic growth.

Focus your attention on the importance of sustainable resource management within industry to enable you to effectively measure the capacity and efficient use of critical resources (natural, manufactured and human).

This will help you to balance resource supply / demand, maintain control over sustainable resource utilisation and improve cost efficiency to ensure business viability.

Increase your ability to relate academic theory to the work environment; reflect on and develop identified work-related skills (intellectual, transferable and subject specific skills); enhance your career knowledge; critically evaluate your learning and professional development from time spent working in industry to demonstrate its value to future career prospects.

Develop and undertake a research project of your choosing on a topic related to agricultural sciences.

Focus on the most relevant policies and legislative items that relate to agriculture and food production. These will include a range of topics such as transport, slaughter and disease control as well as looking at management of a variety of farmed species.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals. The majority of this course will be delivered face-to-face, allowing you to access the facilities and opportunities available on campus and in the local area.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

One year, full-time

You can study this qualification full-time and subsequently complete it within one year.

Two-three years, part-time

We offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Upon successful completion of your modules, you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final master’s degree differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, online learning and workshops – alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour.

The course is taught in English.

Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the modules that you are studying.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written and practical exams and written assignments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment. Feedback will be given in written form, with the option to discuss all feedback with academic staff.

Written examPractical examCoursework
  • The programme will be delivered on Wednesday afternoons across the teaching year
  • This will include taught content face-to-face and one-to-one tutorial sessions with academic staff
  • There will be online content depending on modules chosen, this will include recorded sessions and live online sessions
  • Attendance dates and timetables are available before enrolment to support the arrangement of annual leave where required


This master’s degree is focused on developing your understanding of how agricultural sciences are applied in industry to ensure that current and future challenges are met successfully.

Industry opportunities

You’ll have opportunities to learn directly on our commercial farm that works with Sainsbury’s, Muller, Glencore and Frontier, among others. You’ll also benefit from our extensive industry networks including GFirstLEP, NFU, Foyle Food Group and Agrii.

Visiting lecturers

You'll hear from a range of academic and industry professionals in lectures who are experts in their field. This will allow you to broaden your knowledge and develop your commercial connections, whilst discussing real world case studies.

Graduate destinations

This programme is well suited for people wishing to progress into higher management within the agricultural industry, work in agricultural consultancy or be active in industry research. It could also allow for excellent routes into agricultural legislation and policy, animal and plant health, and professional bodies such as NFU, DEFRA and APHA.


World-class facilities

As a Hartpury University student, you’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lecture halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Commercial farm

The farm is a traditional lowland mixed farm with a core dairy enterprise (an autumn calving Holstein Friesian herd and a spring calving Guernsey herd), a sheep flock of North Country mules, a beef rearing and finishing enterprise, and arable production. The farm works commercially with the likes of Müller, Marks and Spencer and Frontier Agriculture and includes a state-of-the-art dairy parlour, biosecurity facility and biodiversity plots – we’re also a base for ADAS’s valuable environmental research.

Agri-Tech Centre

Hartpury’s Agri-Tech Centre opened in February 2020 and is working with our commercial farm, farmers and Agri-Tech companies to help improve animal welfare and farm performance through the use of technology, as well as trialling, developing and testing new technology in a range of sectors. You’ll have access to the data collected through the centre for research purposes, have opportunities to interact with industry through discussion groups and presentations as well as establish links with tech manufacturers and developers.

Tech Box Park

Our Tech Box Park, located on our farm, supports companies to develop ideas in a commercial setting, offering an extended farming network for practical trials and feasibility testing. As a student you will have access to business support and opportunities to present your ideas to the companies for feedback and possible development.


Our laboratories are modern and well-equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and physiology.

360-hectare campus

Our campus is home to a wide range of British wildlife species, on mixed commercial farmland. Recently, we’ve recorded badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, great crested newts, deer and at least four species of bat on campus.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has books, journals, ebooks, computers and breakout study spaces. In addition, we have a study Lounge - an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access.

Take a virtual tour

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis.


Students with non-relevant qualifications but with sufficient work experience or professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information.

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

Please visit our finance pages for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Explore student finance

Performance Sports Academy membership

Find out costs and details for joining one of our performance Sports Academy teams.

Sports Academy Membership

Hartpury gym

Find out about costs and details for joining the Hartpury gym.

Explore Hartpury gym

Equine Academy

If you have the talent and drive to develop your skills as an equestrian athlete alongside your studies, you may be eligible to join our Equine Academy. For further details including costs, please visit our Equine Academy page.

Equine Academy


We have stabling for 230 horses on campus. If you're interested in having your horse at Hartpury on DIY livery while you study, please visit our livery page for details and costs.


Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

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Adding value where it matters

Our students and staff are driving forward critical knowledge to help change the future of farming.

Recent research on calf microbiome should help farmers to better manage welfare, health and yield. We’re also examining the ethics of different supply chains and uncovering new knowledge to improve farmer mental health. As part of our community, you could get involved in these kinds of projects too.

“From my undergraduate experience, I knew Hartpury would treat me as an individual and that I would be supported to mould my research to compliment my own experiences and values.”

Ellen Gibson, BSc Agriculture graduate; PhD student (stakeholder interplay in dairy welfare and production)

Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

postgraduate student studying cows

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those full-time, two years students who graduated in 2019.