Food Challenges

Students on the Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership also benefit from being able to study taught Masters levels modules from the Lancaster Environment Centre MSc in Food Security.

Full details
Wheat Field

This Postgraduate programme is also offered to applicants from outside the partnership, and can be studied on either a full-time or part-time basis. Details of the programme are given below. Please direct any enquiries to


One of the most significant challenges currently facing humankind is to make enough food, for an active healthy lifestyle, available to a population which will probably rise beyond 9 billion within the next 30 to 40 years.

Climate change and a diminishing supply of essential resources for crop production (land, water, fertilisers, energy, labour) challenge this requirement to produce more food. The provision of these resources must be sustained while minimising any deleterious environmental effects of food production systems.

Increasing affluence means that people want to eat more and they want to eat differently, often aspiring to a more meat-rich and resource-demanding diet. More and more people now live in cities and these social changes challenge those committed to supplying more good quality food to more people.

While food production can determine food access and availability, more people can be adequately fed if food is distributed more equitably and less food is wasted. While subsistence farmers in less developed countries have some control over their own food provision, most of us live in a globally networked food system, where external shocks (eg. pandemics) can have dramatic local effects.

Recognising the importance of food provision in a sustainable way, since 2015 Lancaster University, in partnership with Waitrose, has developed this flexible online postgraduate training programme at PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc levels.

Who is the course for?

Our online programme is tailored to those around the world who aspire to work in food and farming policy, practice and research, or those that already do so. It is currently offered both full-time and part-time for students to choose the mode of study suited to their own personal and professional commitments.

The course will equip you for careers in agriculture, rural industries, the food industry, governmental agencies, research, or enhance your professional development if you are already employed in these sectors.

This course will appeal to graduates with backgrounds in graduates of biological sciences, environmental sciences, geography, agriculture, horticulture, agronomy, agri-food, food sciences, or similar degrees. However, we recognise those with prior relevant learning and experience – you don’t necessarily need a degree to apply!

Why study with us?
  • Five years of experience of a Top 10 UK University in delivering this online programme
  • Flexible delivery enables you to fast-track your learning full-time, or study part-time over several years while continuing to work
  • Enter and progress at a level to suit you – Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MScWork through the materials at your own pace online with guidance from expert tutors
  • Guidance from expert tutors available online, meaning you don’t need to re-locate to undertake this course
  • Gain technical skills and knowledge that can be directly applied to a wide range of roles and disciplines in the food industry
  • Subject to any local covid-19 restrictions, meet your fellow students and network at optional short workshops, or online discussions
  • Gain a thorough grounding in statistics, data collection and analysis (PGDip & MSc only)
  • Develop your research skills through a bespoke, often industry-focussed, dissertation project (MSc only)
  • Choose from a wide range of specialist modules that illuminate the factors impacting upon food security and environmental effects on food production
  • Analyse the factors that influence who eats what and discuss innovations that can help address shortcomings in the global food system