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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOEV5100M Introduction to Sustainable Food Systems

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Effie Papargyropoulou

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Food is the single strongest lever to optimise human health & environmental sustainability. However, transforming our food system is not an easy task because it is highly complex. This module will use systems thinking as an approach/tool to explore this complexity and start identifying possible solutions to the big contemporary and future challenges our food system faces, such as food security, obesity and malnutrition, climate change, food justice etc. The cohort will reach a consensus on what sustainability means in the context of food (including environmental, social, economic, political drivers & implications), and the role various actors and governance structures play. Through problem based learning, this knowledge will be applied to identify possible leverage points that can transform the food system, and the students will gain a new appreciation of their role as change agents.


As the first module of the MSc Sustainable Food Systems it aims to:• critically examine the main components of the global food system, their relationships and interactions between them; • evaluate the wide range of approaches to sustainability and systems change; • apply a systems thinking approach to explore the current and future sustainability challenges the food systems face such as food security and the possible solutions; and• build a foundation of teamwork, develop a strong cohort identity, and forge positive relationships amongst the cohort, prior to group learning and assessment.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:

By the end of the module students will be able to (Module Learning Outcomes):

MLO1: Identify the key components of the global food system and critically evaluate the relationships and interconnections between them.

MLO2: Design/ develop a map of the global food system using a systems thinking approach.

MLO3: Propose ambitious and realistic recommendations to enhance food security and the environmental and social sustainability of the global food system.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:

1. Systems thinking: Recognises and understands relationships; analyses complex systems (environmental, economic and social systems and interdependencies across these); considers how systems are embedded within different domains and scales; deals with uncertainty;

2. Critical thinking: Demonstrates the ability to weigh up different arguments and perspectives, using supporting evidence to form opinions, arguments, theories and ideas, including reflecting on and questioning norms, practices and opinions as they relate to sustainability.

3. Integrated problem solving: Uses analytical and critical thinking to problem solve


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent Learning81.008.00
Drop-in Session21.002.00
Private study hours247.00
Total Contact hours53.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

There are opportunities for formative feedback during group discussions and activities in the seminars and during the drop-in sessions .

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/04/2024


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