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Sustainable Food Systems

Apply for this course

The deadline for UK students to apply for this course for entry in 2023 was 31 August 2023.

The deadline for international students was 14 July 2023.

UK students

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What you'll need

As part of the application process, you'll need to submit:

  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts and certified translations if applicable
  • Degree certificates
  • Personal statement outlining your learning ambitions

Our application process

  • Sign into our online portal, Apply Yourself, and start your application
  • Submit your application
  • We'll email you to let you know we're processing your application
  • Track the progress of your application using the Postgraduate Application Tracker (we'll send you a link to the tracker)
  • We'll email you when a decision has been made
  • If you've been made an offer, you can then accept or decline it using the Postgraduate Application Tracker.

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Master of Science

A Master of Science (MSc) is a master’s degree awarded for a postgraduate programme in the sciences.

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Course overview

The Sustainable Food Systems MSc will equip the next generation of food systems leaders with the critical thinking skills, resourcefulness, mindset, and perspective needed to solve global food systems issues. You will be introduced to the concepts of sustainable food systems, the interdisciplinary approaches required to both understand and design future food systems, and you will develop state-of-the-art scientific understanding of disciplines underpinning food systems.


The course draws on the expertise and connections within the University of Liverpool’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems (CESFS) to equip the next generation of food systems leaders.

You will be taught by internationally renowned experts who provide in-depth knowledge across fields of crop science, livestock health, supply chains, climate and the environment, and consumer behaviour.

The course will introduce you to sustainable food systems, their current issues and problems, and it will prepare you for careers addressing these issues. With its global perspective, the course will enable you to make an impact wherever in the world your career takes you.

You will have opportunities for project work and specialised assignments that match your interests and career ambitions and opportunities to engage in international research projects.

You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the Centre’s research partners across local government, industry, policy, and non-governmental organisations and join in ongoing food systems research in Liverpool and across the globe.

You will, via your projects, have access to research that we undertake nationally and across the globe (e.g. South America, Africa, Asia).

Please note that this programme is suitable for intercalating medical students.

Who is this course for?

This programme is suitable for students from a range of backgrounds in life sciences including health, physical and social sciences, as well as management and business, who have a passion for solving food systems issues.

What you'll learn

  • Understanding of sustainable food systems concepts
  • Interdisciplinary approaches required to understand and design future food systems
  • Develop state-of-the-art scientific understanding of disciplines underpinning food systems
  • Introduction to data science and research methodologies
  • Practical aspects of food systems to effect change, policy development, international and intranational regulation
  • Understanding of the global and intersectoral nature of food systems working in the real world
  • You will “walk the food chain” enabling you experience the processes and issues that are involved in the “farm to fork” journey.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Studying this course part-time

International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.

If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Semester one

The course consists of compulsory and optional modules followed by a research project or dissertation carried out over the summer period upon completion of Semester 2.

Students are required to complete 180 credits to achieve a full MSc. Please note that LIFE702 and LIFE703 are linked and so you will devote half of the course to your specialised project in Food Systems.

Compulsory modules


Credits: 30 / Semester: whole session

This module will prepare students for their MSc research project. Students will work under the guidance of their research project supervisor to acquire the knowledge and skills they will need for their MSc research project. Students will work in collaboration with their supervisor to identify skills and knowledge essential for their MSc research project and to devise a plan of work to address these. Students are expected to work independently through their plan of work, with guidance provided by their supervisor at regular meetings. Students will create a reflective portfolio of work which will highlight how and where the skills have been developed. Students will perform a literature search and write a literature review based on their project area, as well as write a grant proposal. Upon completion of this module, students will progress on to their MSc research project module.


Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This module will provide students with an understanding of the processes and methods required for the successful planning and delivery of research projects. It will also Introduce students to the latest, cutting edge technologies that will support their research field of interest. It will develop in students the transferrable communication skills that will enable them to disseminate their findings to both scientific and general audiences.


Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This module comprises a wide range of activities designed to help postgraduate science students develop skills that make them resourceful, responsible and adaptable graduates who are attractive to employers.

This module prepares students for enhanced communication, teamwork, interpersonal, problem solving, research and analytical, planning and organizing, technology, and lifelong learning skills.

Students will acquire knowledge in academic integrity, information retrieval, referencing tools, grant proposal writing and critical thinking; the tools that help to set up students for the start of their research project.

Students will also develop communication skills to a varied audience by engaging in public activities whilst working in groups to enhance their team-working skills. To make students digitally confident, they will be introduced to different digital platforms and will utilize these to promote their online presence, thus enhancing their employability prospects.

The module will prepare students for their job application process through CV clinics and mock interviews.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module covers the ways different food systems function with regards to production, supply and utilisation in the context of the challenge of global food security. It highlights the highly interdisciplinary nature of food systems and how they have evolved and now need to be developed to ensure future sustainable nutritious healthy diets. Successful students will have a thorough appreciation of the linkages between terrestrial and aquatic production systems, supply chains and consumer behaviour in defining food systems and how the linkages influence sustainability. The module is delivered, through lectures, small group learning and directed self-learning and assessed by continuous assessment. The module assumes level 6 prior knowledge in one of a biological, psychological, environmental science or business studies discipline. Such knowledge and understanding will be augmented in the context of the interdisciplinary curriculum of the module by guided reading (material made available on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), recognising levels of prior knowledge, and through provision within e-lectures). Each curriculum topic is introduced through a lecture which develops learning and through in-built formative assessments advises supplemental reading as required. Each topic is followed by a staff-led small group learning session in which the topic is discussed.
The module will be assessed by an essay, presentation and literature review with an emphasis on critical reading, synthesis of concepts and scientific communication.

Optional modules


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Successful research in the biological sciences inevitably depends on the power that statistical inference provides for hypothesis testing. Understanding which test to use and when is the key to success. This module aims to further this understanding of, and competence in, the use of statistical techniques in the design of experiments in biological research, and in the analysis and interpretation of data.

The module is available to students who are on-campus (LIFE707) or, alternatively, who are studying on a University of Liverpool programme while off-campus (LIFE607), for example in a yearly placement in industry or while studying at an overseas University.

The learning and teaching materials are delivered as an online set of resources (available through Canvas). The module aims to provide a guide to the statistics that students will need to complete an advanced research project (M-level or PhD), and the ability to develop a research-level statistical approach to the analysis of biological data. The module will also introduce students to the powerful open access statistical software package, R.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Successful research in the biological sciences inevitably depends on the power that statistical inference provides for hypothesis testing. Knowing which test to use and when is the key to success.

This module aims to train biology students in statistical techniques for the analysis and interpretation of data. Students will gain research-level, critical understanding of the necessary theory, and will put this into practice by using statistical software and programming to analyse biological data. The module aims to provide a guide to the statistics that students will need to complete their MSc / MRes. research project. Specifically, it is designed for postgraduate students who have not completed an undergraduate statistics module, such as the University of Liverpool’s LIFE223 (QS section). The module is taught via directed reading, lectures, and tutorial workshops, and is assessed via SAQ examination, coursework and an individual poster.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module will provide a study of the key principles, systems and techniques used to assure effective supply chain management. The module covers an extensive range of subjects including logistics, information management, inventory management, partnerships and information technology.


Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Bioinformatics is a key skill needed in many research settings. This module gives students a theoretical and technical grounding in a range of application areas including bioinformatics-related topics such as sequence analysis, phylogenetics, and the modelling of proteins, and others. While lectures are provided on core topics, there is a strong emphasis on practical exercises to demonstrate the application of common tools and data sources in these contexts. Teaching is delivered in the form of a weekly lecture and workshops. Students will be given guided reading and online activities to support their learning. The module will be assessed by three data analysis continuous assessments.

Conservation Biology (LIFE326)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module uses research-led teaching to explore current thinking in conservation biology;

The module explores patterns of biodiversity and encourages students to critically evaluate the evidence supporting alternative explanations for the extinctions or demise of many animal and plant species;

It also enables students to critically evaluate different approaches to conserving biodiversity;

The module is taught via lectures and student led seminars, in the form of debates. To support independent learning, students will also be guided to sections of specific textbooks and expected to follow upreferences, primary and secondary sources, listed by staff.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Study as an intercalated degree

Intercalation allows you take a break from your medical degree, usually after year 3 or 4, and study an additional qualification. Most intercalating students choose to study a master's degree. This gives you the opportunity to explore a subject of interest at an advanced level and acquire new skills and knowledge that will enhance and/or complement your medical degree.

Your experience

As a Sustainable Food Systems student, you will benefit from the School of Life Sciences experience in delivering dynamic, world-class, inspirational research-led teaching.  We are a melting-pot for the study of the biological sciences, and have been for over 140 years.

Careers and employability

Our Sustainable Food Systems MSc is designed to equip the next generation with the critical thinking skills, resourcefulness, a systems mindset, and the international perspective needed to solve global food systems issues.

These transferable skills are highly valuable in many fields or industries including, but are not limited to, agriculture, operations and supply chain management, charities, policy-making organisations, academia, regulatory bodies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations, food processing and manufacturing companies, journalism, and public health.

Career planning

Three career coaches standing outside the Careers Studio

Our campus Career Studio is a space for students and graduates to drop into and talk to a career coach. Career coaches are highly trained to help no matter what stage you are at in your career planning. You can access support to find and apply for full-time and part-time roles, placements, internships and graduate schemes. You will also find the help you need if you have a start-up idea or want to create a business plan. You can explore the world of work, prepare for job interviews, and access careers events and workshops. The Career Studio is open Monday to Friday from 10am-5pm, simply drop in at a time that works for you.

From education to employment

Two graduates in postgraduate robes.

We develop our programmes with employers in mind. You will be supported to enhance your long-term employment prospects as you learn. We do this by exposing you to professionals, a variety of sectors and supporting you to work collaboratively with others to develop transferable skills. You are equipped with a clearer view of what to focus on in your area of interest, and to reflect on your studies. Our digital employability tools give you a tech-enhanced curriculum experience and make it easy for you to prepare for the world of work. You can use tools like the Handshake platform to connect with employers and message the Career Studio 24/7.

Networking events

Postgraduate students hold a discussion while sat round a table in in the Liverpool Guild of Students.

You can start building good professional networks by attending events and employability activities. Our events are designed to develop your skills and expose you to many different employers, as well as to help you make contacts in your field. We help you improve your confidence when speaking to employers and give you access to unique opportunities. Our networking events also boost your understanding of the competencies and skills that employers are looking for in their recruitment process, giving you a competitive edge.

Your future

Researchers in the University of Liverpool’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems (CESFS) have an extensive network of contacts and collaborators across industry, government, policy-making, non-governmental organisations, and third sector. MSc students will have the opportunity to partake in work placements, with partners that may include:

  • IBM
  • Tesco dairy
  • Pepsi
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
  • International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya).

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £11,900
Part-time place, per year £5,950
International fees
Full-time place, per year £24,750
Part-time place, per year £12,375
Fees stated are for the 2023-24 academic year.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.

If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and Postgraduate Loans.

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.


  • International students
  • Chile

Postgraduate taught and research students from Chile are eligible for this scholarship.

Chevening Scholarships

  • International students

The University, in partnership with Chevening, is delighted to offer this generous scholarship to students who are studying a master’s programme and who have future leadership potential. Please note that there is a fee cap applied to MBA programmes that requires applicants to cover any additional tuition costs over £18,000. You will still receive all additional allowances.


  • International students
  • Mexico

The University of Liverpool has an agreement with CONACYT to support postgraduate taught and research students from Mexico.


  • International students
  • Mexico

20% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate taught and research programmes. Must be Mexico national.

Fulbright Commission Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US and another is available for a postgraduate research student to undertake a three to six month research stay from the US

FUNED Awards

  • International students
  • Mexico

Up to ten awards are available for Masters or Research students from Mexico in receipt of FUNED loans. The award gives students a 20% reduction in fees for all applications received.

HRM Princess Sirindhorn University of Liverpool Scholarship (Thailand)

  • International students
  • Thailand

The University is able to offer one award to a new postgraduate taught master’s student from Thailand.

The scholarship is open to all subjects offered as a one-year taught master’s programme.  However, priority will be given to those students who wish to study in a subject area associated with HRH Princess Sirindhorn such as science, IT, medicine, the arts, geography, history and languages.

John Lennon Memorial Scholarship

  • Home students

The John Lennon Memorial Scholarships were set up by a trust fund endowed in the University for the provision of scholarships in the memory of John Lennon. The award is intended to support students from Merseyside who might be in financial need and enhance, among other things, awareness of global problems and environmental issues.

Current or prospective UK (taught and research) students, either born in or with very strong family connections to Merseyside can apply for these awards.

JuventudEsGto Scholarship

  • International students
  • Mexico

Residents of State of Guanajuato, Mexico, wishing to study at postgraduate taught and research levels are eligible for this scholarship.

Marshall Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US to cover the cost of tuition fees. Another, to the value of £20,000, is available for Doctoral study visit:

Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary

  • Home students
  • University of Liverpool current students and alumni only

Recipients must have been in receipt of one of the University’s Widening Access Awards as an undergraduate.

UK University of Liverpool graduates who have graduated in the last two years and are progressing to a standard master’s course, including MRes programmes, in 2023.

Graduates must have been in receipt of the University’s Widening Access Award during their undergraduate studies i.e.

Liverpool Bursary
Mature Students’ Bursary
Liverpool Scholars’ Award
Realising Opportunities Award
North Liverpool Academy Scholarship
Estranged Students’ Bursary
Young Adult Carers’ Bursary
Care Leaver’s Opportunity Bursary
The Liverpool Life Sciences UTC Scholarship
Recipients of the Asylum Seekers Bursary who now have a ‘home’ fee status classification.

Postgraduate Progression Award – International Students

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool current students and alumni only

Current international University of Liverpool students and alumni are eligible for a £2,500 fee reduction when progressing to a master’s course.

If you’re a current international University of Liverpool undergraduate or alumni, including Study Abroad and Exchange students and students from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, progressing to either a full or part-time new postgraduate taught programme you’re eligible to receive our Postgraduate Progression Award.

Postgraduate Progression Award – UK students

  • Home students
  • University of Liverpool current students and alumni only

The Postgraduate Progression Award is available to all UK University of Liverpool undergraduate students or alumni considering a postgraduate taught/master’s course, including MRes qualifications, at our Liverpool campus.

Eligible applicants MUST have completed their undergraduate degree at the Liverpool campus.

Sport Liverpool Scholarships

  • Home and international students

The University is pleased to be able to offer scholarships to talented athletes competing at national and regional levels. See  for more information.

The Aziz Foundation Scholarship

  • Home students

The University of Liverpool together with the Aziz Foundation are offering master’s scholarships to support British Muslims who are dedicated to bringing positive change to society and have career aspirations in media and journalism, technology, sustainability and the environment, law, policy (excluding health policy) and creative content.

Successful applicants will receive a full scholarship for their tuition fees and access to a programme of training days and career mentors via Aziz Scholarships Plus and the Aziz Scholars Association.

Students in receipt of one of the Aziz Scholarships are not eligible for other University of Liverpool bursaries or scholarships.

Turkish Ministry of Education Scholarship

  • International students
  • Turkey

Postgraduate taught and research students from Turkey are eligible for this scholarship, see the Turkish Ministry of Education website for more information.

University of Liverpool Commonwealth Postgraduate Bursary

  • International students
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tanzania
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda

The University of Liverpool Commonwealth Postgraduate Bursary fee reduction for students from Commonwealth countries new to studying at the University of Liverpool on master’s programmes.

University of Liverpool Graduate Association Hong Kong & Tung Postgraduate Scholarships

  • International students
  • China
  • Hong Kong

The University is able to offer competitive scholarships for both postgraduate taught master’s and research programmes.

University of Liverpool Humanitarian Scholarships for Masters Programmes

  • International students

The three awards available cover full tuition fees, visas and support for accommodation and living expenses.

This scholarship is open to support people who have recognised status as either refugees or are under humanitarian protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention. This status must be held outside of the UK.

The scholarship is open for all postgraduate-taught programmes, excluding medicine, dentistry, veterinary and nursing.

University of Liverpool International College (UoLIC) Excellence Scholarship

  • International students

The University of Liverpool will award five University of Liverpool International College students, who achieve the highest academic excellence (minimum 75%) in their UoLIC Pre-Master’s programme, the prestigious UoLIC Excellence scholarship.

University of Liverpool International College (UoLIC) Impact Progression Scholarship

  • International students

University of Liverpool International College recipients of the Kaplan awards will receive the £3,000 Progression Impact Scholarship, deducted from first-year tuition fees, on successful progression to their UoL degree programme.

To be eligible for our Impact Progression Scholarships, students must apply for one of the Kaplan Impact Scholarships demonstrating their commitment to making an impact across issues of importance to the University and Kaplan. Themes include:

Women in STEM
Career Focus (Employability)

Vice-Chancellor’s International Attainment Scholarship

  • International students

Open to all new international students starting a one-year full-time postgraduate master’s programme in September 2023 who:

  • Achieve a UK first-class undergraduate degree award or equivalent qualification as defined by the University of Liverpool (click here for a list of equivalent qualifications) are studying at the Liverpool campus.

Vice-Chancellor’s International Attainment Scholarship for China

  • International students
  • China

Details are:
1 (one) Full scholarship
2 (two) £10,000 scholarships
5 (five) £5,000 scholarships
10 (ten) £1,000 scholarships
All scholarships will be awarded after the formal registration at the University and will take the form of a fee waiver.

Please note: This scholarship cannot be combined with any other scholarships or bursaries provided by the University.

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

Postgraduate entry requirements

Normally, at least a 2.1 Honours degree in subjects that include life, health, physical, social sciences, business or law, or acceptable to the Director of the Programme and the proposed project supervisor.

We would also welcome applications from students with degrees in veterinary sciences or medicine.

This programme is also suitable for intercalating Veterinary and Medical Students. We will consider applicants with a 2.2 degree, for example if they have suitable postgraduate experience or work experience.

International qualifications

If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, you could be eligible for a Pre-Master’s course. This is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. It’s a specialist preparation course for postgraduate study, and when you pass the Pre-Master’s at the required level with good attendance, you’re guaranteed entry to a University of Liverpool master’s degree.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
International Baccalaureate

Standard Level 5

TOEFL iBT 88 or above with minimum scores in components as follows: Listening and Writing 21, Reading – 22, Speaking 23.
INDIA Standard XII 70% or above from Central and Metro State Boards
Hong Kong use of English AS level C

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new application cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted on the website.

More about life in Liverpool

Discover more about the city and University.

Why study at Liverpool? Victoria Gallery & Museum

Why Liverpool?

Liverpool bursts with diversity and creativity which makes it ideal for you to undertake your postgraduate studies and access various opportunities for you and your family.

Accommodation Postgraduate students walking through the campus.


To fully immerse yourself in the university experience living in halls will keep you close to campus where you can always meet new people. Find your home away from home.

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Fees and Finance

Discover what expenses are covered by the cost of your tuition fees and other finance-related information you may need regarding your studies at Liverpool.

Changes to Sustainable Food Systems MSc

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

23 March 2023: New postgraduate taught course pages

New course pages launched.