Food Security and Food Justice

A blog by University of Sheffield students studying on the MA for Food Security and Food Justice

About our MA program

Established in 2015, the MA in Food Security and Food Justice enables its graduates to be uniquely placed within the growing area of food security. The programme is unique in terms of its commitment to training future leaders who will work toward the development of food systems that are fare and just. The program does this by offering exposure to:
• A combination of interdisciplinary and international perspectives;
• A 70 hour work placement with a partner organisation working in the area of food security and food justice;
• Support for developing professional skills including analytic, funding application, project organization and management and communication skills;
• A field trip to Hong Kong that allows students to compare their experience and learning in the United Kingdom to an alternative real world context;
• Flexible options that enable the student to tailor their training to their career interests and ambitions.

Programme structure:
This MA programme consists of six taught modules over two semesters and a dissertation project undertaken over the summer months (12 months in total). Compulsory modules include Theories and Debates in Food Security and Food Justice, Professional Skills Development, Field Course for Food Security and Food Justice, and Research Methods. Optional modules focus range in topics from further specialist methods and language training to topics in areas that influence food security and food justice such as public health and nutrition; urban development, politics and planning; health inequalities, natural resource and environmental management and international development.

Learning outcomes:
Students will be able to demonstrate:
• An understanding of the intersections between food security and food justice;
• An ability to apply social science conceptualization and methods in the analysis of complex problems;
• A capacity for formulating a research problem either independently or in collaboration with a real world partner and carry out the research needed to produce useful knowledge for non-academic partners in industry, the third sector, or in local/regional/national government;
• An ability to draw out the food justice aspects in specialist topics related to food security.

What our students say about us:

Katie Badger ’16, Now works for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in Public Health:

“The Masters has allowed me to gain invaluable experience, knowledge and skills, particularly through completing my placement as part of my dissertation, at Doncaster Council. This experience developed my research skills substantially, as it has given me the opportunity to conduct research into food poverty at several locations across Doncaster, working with different communities. The placement helped me significantly with securing my new job at Sandwell Council as it gave me the chance to put my knowledge of food poverty into practice, and has given me the invaluable experience of conducting research into this area for another council. As part of my new job, I will be helping to design and implement projects in communities throughout the borough; through completing my placement and having the in-depth knowledge I have gained throughout the masters, I feel I have the experience and confidence needed to do this successfully. The professional skills module as part of the course also helped me secure the job, as it has given me experience of project management, budgeting, and several other key skills. Additionally, the international fieldwork trip was a fantastic opportunity for me to put my research skills into practice in a different country. Not only did the trip give me the opportunity to visit and explore Hong Kong, it also allowed me to work within different cultures and disciplines, which I feel are valuable skills for any career. Throughout the masters, feedback, advice and support has always been available and of an excellent standard, which I feel has helped me to improve academically.  Overall, my student experience has been excellent, and I would highly recommend the masters course!”

C71D66D1-D6A5-4480-9C07-212BC9F22CD4Pavill Ruangvichatron ’16. Now works for BioThai supporting their research activity.

“The FSFJ course of the University of Sheffield has been an outstanding personal experience for me. Everything from the course, the lecturers, my course mates, and the field trip has all been fantastic! I would recommend anyone from anywhere in the world to take up this taught postgraduate course if you want to pursue a future in the Food Security related field.”

Jessica Bricknell ’17.  Current student.  File_005

“The field trip to Hong Kong allowed us to get closer to the fascinating work that many individuals (both local people, and those who have made Hong Kong their home) are doing to make the city’s food system fairer and more sustainable. Particular highlights for me included meeting the inspiring Gabrielle Kirstein at Feeding Hong Kong – who told us about the complexities of coordinating flows of surplus food to organisations that can use it – and hearing from Andrew Tsui at Rooftop Republic about his visions for urban agriculture in Hong Kong. We saw, heard, smelled, tasted and learned so much in one week, and the experience has further strengthened my desire to work in the realm of food security and food justice while showing me some ways that might be possible.”

Career opportunities:
Graduates of this programme typically go on to work in governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations operating at the local, national, and global scale. We have a steering group comprised of external partners to enable networking opportunities with potential employers and to support the career development of our students.

In addition to these partners below, we also have partnerships with other local authorities and charitable organizations.

Fairshare UK: Fareshare is the largest Business-to-charity food redistribution organisation in the UK. They work with retailors and food producers to redistribute high quality surplus food, often food that is well in date, to organisations that serve and support vulnerable people

New-Food Innovation: The Mission of New-Food Innovation is to help build a sustainable food system in its ability to improve the health of people, the planet and its communities by providing practical, creative and effective science based solutions within the interface of the research and innovation communities and the food manufacturing industry.

Heeley City Farm: Established in 1981, Heeley City Farm is a Sheffield based community, not for profit charity and visitor attraction based on a working farm a mile from Sheffield City centre. Staff and volunteers from Heeley City Farm work with young people, adults with learning disabilities and with local communities across Sheffield to promote regeneration, environmental education, energy efficiency and health and well-being. Horticulture trainees, staff and volunteers also manage organic vegetable gardens at Meersbrook Park, Wortley Walled Gardens and Firth Park allotments.

Admissions requirements:
Prospective students with a passion for making our food systems fairer are encouraged to apply. Food is and interdisciplinary subject area and we encourage students with any degree background provided they have the equivalent to a 2.1 UK result and are willing to think critically and engage in open debate.

For those coming from non-English speaking contexts an IELTS score of 7 with no score below a 6 is the minimum requirement.  Please be aware that there is a high degree of written assessment and that there is a fair amount of independent reading and class participation required within the modules that make up the course. REF: MA, Master of Arts Food Security and Food Justice (Full Time). Please view this link to see the acceptable forms of English Language certification we can accept: http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/info/englang

Student experience:
If you would like to know more about how the students think about the issues pertaining to the intersections of food security and food justice why not come visit our student blog? http://foodsecurityfoodjustice.com. We also have a facebook page where we post news about what we are doing and upcoming events. https://www.facebook.com/ShefFoodMA/

You can also follow us on twitter @ShefFoodMA where we tweet news about what we are up to and information about jobs in the sector and scholarship opportunities.

Please also feel free to contact the course director, Dr. Megan Blake. She can be emailed at any time at m.blake@sheffield.ac.uk. If you would like to come visit the department this can be arranged as well.
Fees and funding:

Fees for students include the costs associated with the field course excluding local transport and food.

Entry year 2017: Home (UK/EU): £8500 Overseas: £20,470

The university has a number of funding opportunities for potential students to help them support their education including some fee reductions for students from some selected countries. Please see: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/finance/pg

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