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Course overview

You'll study farm, companion and zoo animal nutrition and the international animal feed industry. You'll learn about the latest developments in animal nutrition and consider the ethical implications associated with these trends. The programme covers the principles of nutrition including the role of diet relating to disease. You'll study feeding systems and operational management.

You will cover nutrition from the molecular level through to the whole animal production system. This includes:

  • the effects of nutrients on cellular signaling processes
  • gene expression and how this influences metabolism and growth in eukaryotic systems

Site visits, case studies and guest lectures will build your industry knowledge. This helps you to apply science to real-life industry problems. You'll also use the University Farm and Dairy Centre during the course.

There is a dedicated module on research techniques. This covers writing and presentation skills, and scientific communications.

Why choose this course?

Wide range of modules

covering livestock, companion and zoo animals

Strong industry links

mean that you'll learn about the latest developments and real-life case studies

Research expertise

you'll be taught by an academic team who are internationally recognised in this field

World-leading research

our research environment was awarded 100% for agriculture, veterinary and food science

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Course content

This programme requires 180 credits.

The full time one-year course consists of two semesters of taught modules (120 credits), followed by a research project (60 credits) of three months on a full-time basis during the summer period.

On the masters degree you will complete a research project led by a subject specialist. This will give you an in-depth understanding of a specific area of animal nutrition and the scientific research process.

Modules

Fundamentals of Nutrition 15 credits

This module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of nutrition, including requirements for macronutrients (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals).

Non-Ruminant Nutrition 15 credits
  • Digestive physiology and metabolism
  • Review of international comparison of feed evaluation and nutrient requirement systems
  • Diet formulation for non-ruminants in different physiological states (maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation, egg-laying)
  • Feed supply and management in a range of global non-ruminant production systems and environments
  • Implications of nutrition for feed efficiency, product quality, fertility, health, welfare, and environmental impacts and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content.
Ruminant Nutrition 15 credits
  • Digestive physiology and metabolism; rumen microbiology; voluntary feed intake
  • International comparison of feed evaluation and nutrient requirement systems
  • Diet formulation for ruminants in different physiological states (maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation)
  • Feed supply and management in a range of global ruminant production systems and environments
  • Implications of nutrition for feed efficiency, product quality, fertility, health, welfare, and environmental impacts and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content.
Molecular Nutrition 15 credits
  • Examine the regulatory effects of nutrients, either directly or indirectly, on cellular signaling processes and gene expression and how this influences metabolism and growth in eukaryotic systems. The mechanisms of controlling gene expression will be described.
  • Explore the regulation of signaling processes as well as gene expression and the potential for manipulating metabolic processes through nutrient supply.
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms by which nutrients regulate cell function, the basis of their effects on whole organisms and how variation in genomic sequence is likely to impact on nutrients influence on gene expression.
Feed Industry Business and Case Studies 30 credits
  • Develop an in depth understanding of the nature, structure and organisation of the industries that provide feedstuffs for farm, companion and zoo animals.
  • Develop knowledge of raw ingredient markets, industry regulatory structures and associated legislation, feed evaluation systems and veterinary clinical nutrition.
  • Demonstrate, through a series of case studies, a detailed understanding of feed manufacturing, and diet evaluation and formulation for various classes of farmed livestock, companion and zoo animals.

 

Companion and Zoo Animal Nutrition 15 credits
  • Comparative Digestive physiology, feeding behaviour and metabolism
  • Feed preferences, effective feed distribution and optimum choice of feed raw materials
  • Diet formulation for companion and zoo animals, to emphasise whether diets offered are adequate for different physiological states
  • Implications of nutritional inadequacies on health and well-being; clinical nutrition and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content
Research Techniques in Animal Nutrition 15 credits

This module considers:

  • Research processes in animal nutrition
  • Government and industry funded research
  • Knowledge transfer and communication of nutritional research
  • Techniques in animal and laboratory research
  • Experimental design, data analysis and interpretation and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content
Research Project 60 credits

You will carry out a primary research project in an area related to animal nutrition, supervised by a specialist.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 27 July 2020.
Fundamentals of Nutrition 15 credits

This module aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the key concepts in the field of nutrition, including requirements for macronutrients (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals).

Non-Ruminant Nutrition 15 credits
  • Digestive physiology and metabolism
  • Review of international comparison of feed evaluation and nutrient requirement systems
  • Diet formulation for non-ruminants in different physiological states (maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation, egg-laying)
  • Feed supply and management in a range of global non-ruminant production systems and environments
  • Implications of nutrition for feed efficiency, product quality, fertility, health, welfare, and environmental impacts and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content.
Ruminant Nutrition 15 credits
  • Digestive physiology and metabolism; rumen microbiology; voluntary feed intake
  • International comparison of feed evaluation and nutrient requirement systems
  • Diet formulation for ruminants in different physiological states (maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation)
  • Feed supply and management in a range of global ruminant production systems and environments
  • Implications of nutrition for feed efficiency, product quality, fertility, health, welfare, and environmental impacts and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content.
Feed Industry Business and Case Studies 30 credits
  • Develop an in depth understanding of the nature, structure and organisation of the industries that provide feedstuffs for farm, companion and zoo animals.
  • Develop knowledge of raw ingredient markets, industry regulatory structures and associated legislation, feed evaluation systems and veterinary clinical nutrition.
  • Demonstrate, through a series of case studies, a detailed understanding of feed manufacturing, and diet evaluation and formulation for various classes of farmed livestock, companion and zoo animals.

 

Molecular Nutrition 15 credits
  • Examine the regulatory effects of nutrients, either directly or indirectly, on cellular signaling processes and gene expression and how this influences metabolism and growth in eukaryotic systems. The mechanisms of controlling gene expression will be described.
  • Explore the regulation of signaling processes as well as gene expression and the potential for manipulating metabolic processes through nutrient supply.
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms by which nutrients regulate cell function, the basis of their effects on whole organisms and how variation in genomic sequence is likely to impact on nutrients influence on gene expression.
Companion and Zoo Animal Nutrition 15 credits
  • Comparative Digestive physiology, feeding behaviour and metabolism
  • Feed preferences, effective feed distribution and optimum choice of feed raw materials
  • Diet formulation for companion and zoo animals, to emphasise whether diets offered are adequate for different physiological states
  • Implications of nutritional inadequacies on health and well-being; clinical nutrition and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content
Research Techniques in Animal Nutrition 15 credits

This module considers:

  • Research processes in animal nutrition
  • Government and industry funded research
  • Knowledge transfer and communication of nutritional research
  • Techniques in animal and laboratory research
  • Experimental design, data analysis and interpretation and other topics as deemed appropriate to the module content
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 27 July 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Tutorials
  • Field trips

This course is offered full-time and part-time.

There is a significant proportion of independent learning and small group study. You will be guided through the process of identifying a research project to suit your career aspirations.

How you will be assessed

  • Coursework
  • Presentation
  • Examinations

Modules are assessed using a variety of individual assessment types which are weighted to calculate your final mark for each module. Typically all taught modules have one piece of coursework in addition to a final exam.

You will need an average mark of 50% to pass the MSc overall. You will be given a copy of our marking criteria when you start the course and will receive regular feedback from your tutors.

Coursework includes diet formulation exercises, case-study assignments, reports, essays and reviews. 

Contact time and study hours

As a guide, in the autumn and spring semesters you will typically spend around 25 hours per week in classes. You will be expected to spend a further 12 hours per week on self-guided study.

You will work on your research project between June and September. You would be supervised for 3 hours per week, on average.

Teaching is provided by teaching fellows, assistant professors, associate professors and professors. Technical staff, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers provide additional support in small group and practical classes.

Typically you would study with around 20 other students.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

MSc/PGDip

Undergraduate degree2:2 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a biological, chemistry, biochemical engineering or other relevant science from a recognised university; relevant workplace experience may also be accepted

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK students

Confirmed August 2020 *

International students

Confirmed August 2020 *

The UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals starting courses in the 2021/22 academic year will no longer be eligible for home/UK fee status or the same financial support as in previous years. We will update our guidance for students when more information becomes available.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

There is a clear demand for animal nutritionists worldwide. Our graduates have gone on to work in livestock-based roles including ruminant nutritionist, developmental pig nutritionist for ABN. In companion animal-based roles; research and development scientist for Blue Buffalo in the US, research scientist for Waltham Petcare Institute. In zoo animal roles; zoo nutritionist at Illinois Zoo and PhD studies on captive animals.

Average starting salary and career progression

100% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £28,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £65,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I'm the Course Manager for the MSc Animal Nutrition programme, which I helped to establish in 2014. I'm heavily involved in teaching across a number of the modules. I'm a member of the Register of Accredited Animal Scientists, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My research interests cover a range of topics across nutrition of non-ruminant, companion and zoo animals. "
Dr Gavin White, Assistant Professor in Animal Nutrition
The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Monday 27 July 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.