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Programme Specification for the 2019/0 academic year

MA Food Studies

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMA Food Studies Programme codePTA1HPSHPS72
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2019/0
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
Programme start date


NQF Level7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

This course will prepare you to understand, critically assess, and practically engage with foodways and food systems. Three core modules will provide interdisciplinary perspectives on foodways and food systems from within fields of study including archaeology, classics, history, anthropology, sociology, geography, and political economy. The historical development of agriculture and food—from the agricultural revolution, to the industrialization of agriculture and food manufacturing, to the globalization of food—will be examined. You will gain an appreciation of the place of agriculture and food in the constitution of social identities and institutions, from the family, to social classes and ethnic groups, to the nation. You will also analyse the workings of mainstream and alternative food systems and food chains, from production and processing, to trade and retail, to preparation and service, to consumption and waste. The course will give foundation to comparative understanding of foodways and food systems in industrialized and non-industrialized societies, and the relation of each of these to global forces. Optional modules will allow you to develop focused expertise in areas such as sustainable food production, health and nutrition, community development, education, or business and management. You may also prepare for further research by taking optional modules in theory and methods in a range of disciplines. A placement or internship in food-focused institution, organisation or business and will afford the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and to develop networks, while the dissertation will provide the chance to acquire expertise in a particular area of study and to develop research and writing skills.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

With food at the centre of so many pressing global issues today, the field of Food Studies is rapidly developing. This programme allows you to combine study in the humanities and social sciences with study in fields such as the Life Sciences or Business, giving you a unique combination of skills in the critical analysis of foodways and food systems as well as in more practical undertakings, such as growing or preserving food, developing an educational curriculum, or setting up a social enterprise. An optional module on the course allows students to do an internship or placement in an area of professional interest while simultaneously informing yourself about the relevant context of your work through directed readings with a member of staff teaching on the course. Through such forms of study, the programme engages in substantial ways with vibrant food, farming and fishing sectors in Exeter and the Southwest of England. The course equips you to conduct research on foodways and food systems—whether past or present, whether in the UK or elsewhere in the world. It fosters comparative understanding of the economic, political and cultural dynamics of food systems and foodways, as well as critical perspectives that will allow you to identify issues and problems faced by different stakeholders and the potential consequences of various forms of intervention and transformation. Graduates are prepared to articulate these perspectives in various forms, from the writing of reports or scholarly pieces to the production of grant proposals or business plans.  Depending you’re your interests and career objectives, you may go on to conduct doctoral research, or to find employment in: the food industry or small and medium sized food businesses; government departments and agencies engaging with agriculture, fisheries, food manufacture, food safety, public health, or culture and heritage; food-focused print, broadcast and new media; or third sector organizations focused on issues such as environmental sustainability, trade policy, food safety, public health, food poverty, or social isolation.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The MA in Food Studies is a one year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). The programme is divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.


The programme is studied over 12 months (full time) or 24 months (part time) and is University-based throughout the period. The programme comprises 180 credits in total: taught modules worth 120 credits in total and a supervised dissertation worth 60 credits. Teaching takes place over two terms (October to May), followed by completion of the dissertation over the summer (June to September). Each taught module spans one term and is normally taught through seminars, underpinned by reading and essay assignments. The taught element consists of core modules, directed options and free options.


Interim Awards

Under exceptional circumstances you may exit this programme with a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Studies on successful completion of 90 Credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma in Food Studies on successful completion of 120 credits.

Stage 1

105 credits of Compulsory Modules, 75 credits of Optional Modules.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
ANTM004 Food and Agriculture in Historical Perspective 15Yes
ANTM021 Food, Body and Society 15Yes
POLM016 Food Systems, Alternative Food Networks, and Ethical Consumption 15Yes
SSIM909 Dissertation in Food Studies 60Yes

Optional Modules

You will be required to take an additional 75 credits of options from a selection offered from the Departments of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology; History; Classics and Ancient History, Archaeology, Politics; Biosciences and the Business School. These options may vary from year to year and will be displayed on the College webpages:

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
HISS MA Food Studies Optional Modules 2019/20
SSIM908 Directed Practical Study: Agriculture and Food 30 No
ANTM002 Permaculture and Gardening with Nature 15 No
ANTM003 Theory and Methods of Food Preservation 15 No
SOCM019 Research Methods in the Social Sciences 15 No
ARCM110 Research Design in Archaeology 15 No
ARCM120 Themes in Archaeological Theory and Practice 15 No
CTHM007 Research Skills in Classics, Ancient History and Theology 30 No
HISM016 Advanced Historical Research Skills 30 No
SOCM027 Social Theory 30 No
POLM073 Political Economy of Food and Agriculture 15 No
BIOM562 Sustainable Land Use in Grassland Agriculture 15 No
BIOM566 Sustainable Livestock and Fisheries 15 No
BEMM381 Tourism Business: Management, Impacts and Evaluation 15 No
BEMM374 Tourism and Marketing 15 No
BEMM108 Entrepreneurship: New Venture Development 15 No
ARCM407 Zooarchaeology 15 No
ARCM403 Advanced Zooarchaeology 15 No
ARCM130 Discovering the Past with Molecular Science 15 No
SOCM035 Knowledge Exchange in the Field 15 No
SOCM036 Knowledge Exchange in the Field 30 No
Total Credits for Stage 1


6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Critically analyse a wide range of historical and contemporary foodways and food systems
2. Trace the historical origins and transformations of particular foodways and food systems
3. Assess how individuals use food to shape their bodies as well as how groups use food to produce and sustain community

Reading and discussion-based seminars, lectures

1 Reading response papers (1-3)

2 Essays (1-3)

3 Dissertation (1-3)

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

4. Critically evaluate information and arguments relating to foodways and food systems, and discern underlying social political and economic dynamics
5. Conduct independent and original research on foodways and food systems
6. Formulate and present persuasive arguments in relation to food-related issues

Reading, discussion-based seminars, lectures

4 Reading response papers (4-6)

5 Essays (4-6)

6 Dissertation (4-6)

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

7. Identify timely food-related issues and formulate questions for research
8. Use scholarly resources to inform perspectives on contemporary food issues
9. Propose interventions for the development, transformation or preservation of specific foodways and/or food systems

Reading, discussion-based seminars, lectures, placement

7 Reading response papers (7-9)

8 Essays (7-9)

9 Dissertation (7-9)

7. Programme Regulations

University Regulations on the number of credits to be taken and at what level for each stage of the programme can be found in the Credit and Qualifications Framework.


Condonement is the process that allows you to be awarded credit (and so progress to the next stage or, in the final stage, receive an award), despite failing to achieve a pass mark at a first attempt. You are not entitled to reassessment in condoned credit. Regulations on condonement can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

Assessment and Awards

For undergraduate degrees assessment at stage one does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. Details of the weightings for each year of all programme lengths can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.


Full details of assessment regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and the classification of awards can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

You can also read details of Generic Marking Criteria.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic Tutoring

It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you with individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support fo the duration of your programme, and this support extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information on the College Personal Tutoring system, library provision, ELE resources and access to College support services can be found on the College webpages for current students.

Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)

SSLCs enable students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Learning Resources

The University Library maintains its principal collections in the main library buildings on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, together with a number of specialist collections in certain Colleges. The total Library collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions.

IT Services

A wide range of IT services are provided throughout the Exeter campuses, including open-access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpdesks are maintained on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Student Support Services

The University provides many support services including health and wellbeing, multifaith chaplaincy, family support, the Students' Guild and international student support.

10. Admissions Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates for undergraduate programmes must satisfy the undergraduate admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of education provision. The College documents the performance in each of its tuaght programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER).

Subject areas are reviewed every five years through a College Academic Audit scheme that includes external contributions.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Social Sciences and International Studies (CSSIS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by


18. Final Award

MA Food Studies

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits


ECTS credits


22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date Date of last revision