Enhanced organic opportunities for postgraduate students

Two of the leading UK education and research organisations in the organic sector have announced they will formally join together to deliver one of the country’s few postgraduate courses in organic farming.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been running the distance learning Organic Farming MSc since 2002, and for the last 9 years the Organic Research Centre (ORC) has been involved in its delivery. The two organisations will now deliver the course in partnership, a development that will enhance the educational experience for the organic farming students.

SRUC Programme Leader, Lou Ralph, says: “Now that the Organic Research Centre has a more formal role in course delivery, students have direct access to even more organic research, thus gaining increased and significant benefits”.

As well as working together on organic farming research projects, SRUC and ORC have also collaborated in a variety of knowledge exchange events including training courses, conferences and the new online information hub, Agricology.

Launched at the same time as Scotland’s new Organic Action Plan, Organic Ambitions, which highlights the importance of spreading knowledge and boosting skills across the organic sector, this educational partnership between SRUC and ORC serves to reinforce the importance of partnership and collaboration to create a strong organic presence across Scotland and the UK.

Lou says: “Our organic farming course is unique as there are no other study programmes which offer part time online distance learning for postgraduate level organic farming studies. We attract a diverse range of students since we welcome those with industry experience as well as those with previous qualifications. Students are able to study almost entirely online, only attending the Aberdeen campus for 3 weekends a year, and they can study for between one and three years to gain a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or their MSc. Our new partnership with ORC will enable us to further strengthen this already excellent provision.”


ORC is the UK’s leading independent research centre for the development of organic and agroecological food production and land management solutions to key global issues such as climate change, soil, biodiversity conservation and food security.

ORC’s outstanding reputation for organic farming research in Europe strengthens the natural and social science base brought to the course by SRUC’s own organic farming researchers.

The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, is the trading name of the Progressive Farming Trust Ltd, a registered company No. 1513190 limited by guarantee and a registered charity No. 281276.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Leading the way in Agriculture and Rural Research, Education and Consultancy.

Scotland’s Rural College supports innovation and sustainable development in agriculture and the rural sector in Britain and internationally. We are one of the UK’s leading agriculturally-focused higher education institutions, offering a unique blend of research, education and consultancy.

SRUC’s research and education activities operate from six campuses and eight farms and research centres across Scotland. Our consultancy arm, SAC Consulting, supports more than 12,000 farms and rural businesses across the UK from 25 consultancy offices and eight veterinary disease surveillance centres.

SRUC was established in 2012 through the merger of Barony, Elmwood, Oatridge Colleges and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC).

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