Food, Space and Society (MSc)

Food is at the forefront of society’s grand challenges.

Food is a unique lens through which one can address key social science questions on resource shortfalls, environmental pressures and social development. A focus on food provides important opportunities to raise questions about the prospects for a more secure, just and sustainable future and to understand the shifting boundaries between the state, the market and civil society.

The MSc Food, Space and Society specifically targets those people wishing to gain expertise in the contemporary geography and politics of food. It offers in-depth insights into the opportunities for (and barriers to) food security, sustainability and justice; the implications of food policies on the spatial and socio-economic relationships between different actors in the food system and between rural and urban areas; and the development effects of strategies that address the welfare and health needs of the human and animal population.

A core feature of the course is its emphasis on research-led teaching. Modules are designed and taught by staff from the Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food (SURF), who have a long-standing and world-renowned expertise on conventional and alternative food networks, food consumption practices, the interplay between global and local food systems, community food growing, public food procurement, food justice, animal geographies, and the community food sector. Staff’s engagement in agenda-setting research on these topics ensures that students are exposed to the most recent debates in food studies and are involved with our extensive network of stakeholders.

Course Structure

The MSc Food, Space and Society is offered as a one year full-time or a two year part-time course.

It is divided into two parts:
Part 1 comprises a teaching programme of six core modules over two semesters (or four semesters for the part-time course).
Part 2 comprises an individual dissertation on a food-related topic selected by each student in consultation with members of staff.

The following list relates to the modules for the academic year 2015/16. Please note that these may be subject to change.

  • Geographies of Food Governance
  • Spaces of Food Consumption
  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Researching Sustainability
  • Food Security and Justice
  • Food Debates

The course is assessed through continuous assessment (a variety of seminars, essays, project work and practical exercises) and examinations. Where required there is room for flexibility in setting alternative, comparable assessments.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.


The course offers the knowledge and expertise for developing a research career or taking advantage of the increasing professionalisation of food jobs in the private and public sectors, including government departments and food agencies, the business sector, consultancy and food/environmental NGOs.
Our Alumni collectively represent the variety of potential careers and jobs that our current (and future) students may embark on.


This MSc is suitable for graduates in subjects such as geography, sociology, politics, anthropology, planning and economics, and/or those with appropriate professional experience and qualifications in food. Applicants with a background in other subjects and relevant work-based experience will also be considered.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject. A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English. Pre-course English Language tuition is available.

School Contact

Name: Dr Roberta Sonnino
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75781

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See this course on the University's Coursefinder website.