Organic Agriculture (MOA) / MSc


With the expansion of markets for organic products as a result of increased environmental concern and consumer interest, organic agriculture has emerged globally as a recognizable sector. In order to meet the challenge of producing healthy, socially responsible and ecologically sound food, the MSc programme Organic Agriculture explores food production, food consumption and multi-functional land use using multiple disciplines (i.e. plant -, animal-, social - nd environmental sciences), multiple perspectives (i.e. sustainability, health and ethics) and different geographical scales (local, regional and global). Therefore, a systems approach characterizes both research and education in organic agriculture. The programme highly values the integration of theory and practice by focusing on action learning and action research. The MSc- programme Organic Agriculture prepares students for a wide range of positions related to multiple land use, organic agriculture and the food production chain.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- integrate knowledge of chain management, legislation and certification, consumer behaviour, marketing, economics, communication, education, plant and animal production, environmental sciences and social sciences to analyse the main components of complex farming systems and to explore the principles of food production, consumption, natural resource management, multi-functional land use and the social environment;
- describe the available research-orientations -from empirical analytical to interpretative to socially critical - and explain the merits of each orientation depending on the kind of purpose pursued and the kind of research question that is at stake;
- integrate and apply the knowledge of plant and animal production and soil and environmental science in the context of organic agriculture (Specialisation A Agro Ecology) ;
- explain the key differences between organic and conventional agricultural systems, as well as between other emerging agricultural systems (low input, sustainable agriculture), and analyse agro-ecological processes and management systems (Specialisation A - Agro Ecology) ;
- integrate basic knowledge of chain management, legislation, consumer behaviour, and economics in the development of healthy, socially responsible and ecologically sound food and other agricultural products (Specialisation B - Consumer and Market);
- apply a systems approach in analysing, evaluating and designing complex agricultural systems and (food) production chains by using suitable analytical measurements, surveys and mathematical end statistical methods;
- understand and criticize certification systems for organic products - design, independently, a research proposal in which the kind of research orientation used and details a corresponding methodology, research design and methods used are made explicit;
- execute a carefully chosen and publicly defensible research design ;
- translate (action) research data and scientific knowledge in organic agriculture into relevant solutions to complex problems, to play a pivotal role in international innovation networks and transition processes;
- contribute scientific knowledge and understanding in interactive multi-stakeholder change processes (e.g. action research) aimed at innovating and improving the organic sector, both strategically and practically;
- communicate effectively and with an open mind for new ideas about creative alternatives in organic agriculture with specialists and non-specialists, both verbally (in presentations and debates) and in writing, and act as an intermediary between science experts on the one hand and policy makers and the wider public on the other hand;
- co-operate in a multi-disciplinary international team in different team roles, including the role of team leader, to design viable alternatives for conventional strategies;
- analyse and evaluate the ethical, environmental, societal and economic consequences of research and reflect upon the various roles of the scientist in agricultural transition processes ;
- design and plan personal learning processes based on continuous reflection and feedback on individual knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance;
- reflect on the consequences of one' s values, perspectives and actions for one-self (self-reflection), others (empathic understanding) and the larger systems of which one is a part, and navigate different perspectives in time (past, present and future), space (local, regional and global), culture and discipline.


- Agro Ecology;
- Consumer and Market.

Programme Director

Dr G.J. Kuipers
Phone: 0317-(4)84767/ 82839

Study Adviser(s)

Drs C.A. Langeveld
Phone: 0317-(4)83571/ 82140

Programme Committee

Chair: Prof. dr ir A.E.J. Wals
Secretary: Dr G.J. Kuipers


Study Association

StEL, Students Organic Agriculture