Woman bent over working in a maize field with palm trees in the background. © Riccardo Niels Mayer

MA Food & Development

FOod system innovations are key to achieving sustainable development.

Key information

Food is a cross-cutting development issue that concerns hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, environment sustainability, power, politics, social justice and cultural identity. It is about the global and the local and the hard trade-offs that the globalisation era has brought about.

The MA Food and Development draws on wide-ranging expertise of faculty at both IDS and School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex (where you will be based). You will gain an advanced understanding of the complex relationship between food and development. We build your analytical and practical skills, improving your ability to engage critically with issues such as:

  • food and nutrition security
  • sustainable food systems
  • value chains and corporate power
  • agri-food technology and its contestations

Our faculty have extensive knowledge and direct field experience. And our guest speakers – from government bodies, international organisations, NGOs, and local food networks and movements – introduce you to contemporary policy debates and practices.

World-leaders in development studies

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) delivers world-class research, learning and teaching that transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally. IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies, in partnership with the University of Sussex. The School of Global Studies is world leading in the field of development studies and offers the opportunity to learn from critical and engaged academics who are making a difference to global communities through research, teaching and activism.

Who is the degree for?

We welcome applicants with a broad range of career trajectories. Successful applicants will typically have at least one year’s practical experience in development alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry. Previous experience and engagement with issues relating to food in development (e.g. food security, nutrition, food systems, food policy and regulation, food rights or food sovereignty) is an advantage.

Course content & structure

The academic year commences in September. Three terms run as follows: autumn term (September to December), spring term (January to March) and summer term (April to June).

Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests. This list gives you a flavour of our options, which are kept under review and may change, for example in response to student feedback or the latest research.

While it’s our aim for students to take their preferred combinations of options, this can’t be guaranteed and will be subject to timetabling. Options may be grouped and if so, students will be able to choose a set number of options from the selection available in any particular group.

In the summer term, you will research and write a 10,000-word dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member, or undertake a dissertation with placement.

IDS is a place rich in diversity, excitement and challenges. I arrived with a set of preconceptions about the world and sustainability issues and came away with a mindset shift. I now have the confidence and tools to engage with complex and conflicting arguments and understand the importance of finding depth in knowledge, and consistently show up with intent to unpack and challenge the status quo. These lessons I carry with me throughout all of life. Thank you!
- Amber Lawes
The teaching has been excellent. The nature of both the lectures and seminars is very much student focused, and debates and challenges are encouraged.
- Will Hopson, MA Food and Development

Key information

Full time duration
One year
Part time duration
Two years
Home fees (UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
Overseas (including EU)

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Key contacts

Pedram Rowhani

Senior Lecturer

Related links

Why study at IDS First in the world for development studies Development Studies Scholarships and Funding Responding to Covid-19

We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described in this prospectus. However, we may need to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.