MSc/PGDip in Organic Farming

This course is studied part time through on-line distance learning. This allows those in continuing employment or with family commitments to participate. With the exception of several weekend schools and a short study tour, the learning is carried out in the student’s own home or workplace.

There are eight taught modules providing a range of technical, marketing, management, work experience and professional skills development. A study tour is also used to visit a range of organic and conventional farms as well as businesses operating in the organic food supply and distribution chain.


Course Content:

organic crop production

This module will provide an understanding of methods of crop production for arable and vegetable field crops, with particular reference to organic farming in the UK.

Developing an understanding of breeding, establishment, nutrition, protection, harvesting and storage in the context of organic crop production of field crops.

organic farming profession

This module will provide an overview of the philosophy, principles, history and development of the organic farming industry. The organic standards will be introduced and the ways in which they are used to regulate the organic food and farming industry at UK, European and world levels will be covered.

organic forage and livestock production

This module will provide an understanding of the role of forage legumes in organic systems and describe grassland management systems that maximise the contribution of legumes. Students will also be given an understanding of the organic approach to livestock production, particularly in terms of animal welfare, preventative health management and nutrition.

soils and nutrient cycling

This module will aim to provide the students with the tools to manage their soils optimally. Ultimately, they should be able to describe soil properties, evaluate soil fertility and assess management requirements in the context of organic farming. Providing an understanding of the chemical, physical and biological features of soil fertility and nutrient cycling. Developing practical skills in soil assessment and whole farm nutrient budgeting.

organic farming case study

This module will improve the student’s ability to undertake whole farm analysis and in particular organic conversion planning. Whole farm analysis involves a range of skills and examination of a wide range of issues: technical, financial, marketing and environmental.

organic farming work placement

This module will allow students to become familiar with an organisation or business in the organic food and farming sector during a 6-week (or equivalent) work placement. The student will gather relevant and unique material to enable them to carry out a technical and business analysis and make recommendations for future development of the organisation or business in question.

issues in organic farming

This module provides an overview of the principles of environmental management in the context of organic agriculture, helping students gain an appreciation of the potential impacts of agricultural enterprises on the environment, measures for minimising such impacts, and opportunities for incorporating positive environmental management measures into farm business plans. Includes a 3-day study tour

marketing and business management in the organic farming sector

This module will provide an understanding of the concepts, principles and techniques involved in marketing management and how they are applied in the context of the organic farming sector. Financial accounts are one source of information regarding an organic business, and aid the process of planning and control.

MSc project (taken following successful completion of taught modules)

Provides an opportunity for in-depth individual research on a topic related to organic farming

Please contact the NOTS office for information on costs and starting date.

Places on this course are limited. As this is an academic post-graduate course, applicants are required to submit a detailed CV to NOTS and attend interview.