Sustainable Food Systems MSc

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2023
  • Entry requirements: Normally, at least a 2.1 Honours degree in subjects that include life-, health-, physical-, social- sciences, business or law, acceptable to the Director of the Programme
Fruit and vegetables displayed in baskets


Sustainable Food Systems are essential to ensure that all people across the world have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. There are many current challenges to ensuring this food security and hundreds of millions of people experience malnutrition and the health issues associated with insufficient food. These challenges will intensify over coming years in the face of global population growth, climate change and increased demands on land, water and energy. Intensification of agriculture to meet these challenges must be achieved in a way that is sustainable, preserves biodiversity and does not damage the environment. In contrast, we are experiencing, at the same time, a different global health crisis arising from over-consumption of food, but often also malnourished, with rising levels of obesity and associated increases in ill health and death.

Tackling this global challenge requires an understanding of the entire food system, from farm to fork, and all of the intermediary stages associated with human-, animal- and plant-health, operations and supply chains, consumer behaviour, waste management and national and international food practices, policies and strategies. You will also learn about carbon and water footprints and the need for sustainable intensification of agriculture in terms of energy and land use, and decreased use of agrochemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides to protect biodiversity. The aim of this programme is to introduce you to these food systems, the current issues and problems, and to prepare you for careers addressing these issues. As such, this programme will be highly suitable for students with a range of backgrounds in life-, health- physical- and social- sciences, as well as management and business. 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. The programme will also have a global perspective, enabling international students to make an impact on return to their home country.

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

Taught by a multidisciplinary team of experts

This new MSc in Sustainable Food Systems draws on the expertise and connections within University of Liverpool’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems (CESFS) to equip the next generation of food systems leaders. Through this master’s degree programme, 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. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the Centre’s research partners across local government, industry, policy, and NGOs 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 (eg. South America, Africa, Asia).

This programme is designed to introduce you to the concepts of sustainable food systems, the interdisciplinary approaches required to both understand and design future food systems, and to develop state-of-the-art scientific understanding of disciplines underpinning food systems. The course provides an introduction to data science and research methodologies while providing space for students to identify and pursue their interests within critical food systems issues. The programme will also introduce you to the practical aspects of food systems that must be understood to effect change - policy development, inter- and intra-national regulation, and an 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.

Research Project Areas

Your research project will be in one of the broad areas described on the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems webpage here.

Programme structure

Assessments in this programme are designed to help students develop practical skills and experiences that are attractive to employers, such as writing policy papers, reports or press releases, effectively communicating information to the public, or identifying and assessing existing datasets to answer questions of interest.

Wide exposure to topics early in the course coupled with more self-directed and focussed learning later gives ample opportunity to pursue your previously established research interests or to explore new topics of interest to find a new direction to take. Graduates in this MSc can pursue careers in any number of fields within the Food System and will be well-equipped with the interdisciplinary, systems-thinking skills that are an asset in any position.

Flexible learning

Students who register for an award have potential exit points at Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) with 60 credits, Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) with 120 credits and master's degree (MSc) with 180 credits. The PGCert or PGDip may be taken as either free standing awards or as an intermediate exit award for any student who has successfully completed the modules required.

Watch the following short video by student Jerome about studying the MSc in Sustainable Food Systems:



Sarina Mae B. Arciga, Demetrio E. Castillo, Jeffrey D. Peregrino and Jhunell A. Regala

four students standing in front of the VG&M

I feel proud that I was still able to produce a research project, as this taught me the skills needed to become a good researcher. Graduates of this programme have a profound understanding of the food systems, supply chains, environmental impact of food production and logistics. 

Why School of Life Sciences?

International excellence in Biological Sciences

We attract high quality postgraduate students with first degrees in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Zoology and other areas of Biosciences from around the world into the following areas of biology:

Advanced Biological Sciences MSc

Watch our film 'Inside Life Sciences: A conversation with Tanya Horne and Professor Jay Hinton' to discover more.