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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL5282M Crop Science & Sustainable Agriculture

10 creditsClass Size: 25

Module manager: P. E. Urwin

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

BSc Biology or similar

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module addresses areas of current research related to crop science and sustainable agriculture. It focuses on the goals of sustainable agriculture, and how crops can be modified to meet this goals. Some of the topics covered are: how to crops are bred, how to improve resource use efficiency in crops, how to improve soil management. It is based largely on self-directed learning with tutorial support. Major aspects include critical appraisal of the scientific literature and the development of an innovative proposal to create sustainable crops.


To inform better understanding of the aims of sustainable agriculture and the methods by which crops can be modified to be more sustainable.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Explain the aims of sustainable agriculture;
2. Demonstrate understanding of the methods by which crops can be modified to be more sustainable;
3. Critique current research in the field of sustainable agriculture;
4. Predict novel opportunities for crop science to create more sustainable agriculture;
5. Construct a research proposal for the creation of novel sustainable crops.

Skills outcomes
Further develop presentational skills and the ability to communicate science.
Develop analytical and logical experimental thinking.
Improve writing skills


This module is based largely on self-directed learning. It consists of and consists of 8 small group teaching sessions.
- In the first 5 sessions, students will learn about current research in an area of crop science/sustainable agriculture.
- In the 6th session, they will present an idea for development of a new sustainable crop, based on their reading of the literature. Students will feedback on each other’s ideas.
- Students will then write a proposal based on their idea and the discussions surrounding the area, with support from 2 tutorial sessions.
- Students will be assessed on their ability to produce written critique of a research paper, their oral presentation of a new idea, and on their proposal.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours92.00
Total Contact hours8.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Private study will involve students undertaking background reading to support and widen understanding of the course material, and preparation of work for assessments. The latter involves preparation of a paper critique, an oral presentation, and a research proposal.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Feedback on general scientific writing from 1st assessment (1000 words);
- Feedback on presentations.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportProject Report 3000 words70.00
Poster Presentation10 minutes30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 15/07/2022


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