The Master’s programme in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Policy Analysis (AFEPA) aims at providing a high quality education in designing and assessing public policies targeted to the agricultural and food sector as well as the rural environment to excellent students from all over the world. This Master’s programme responds to the increasing need to better understand and anticipate the various and often complex socio-economic and environmental effects of these policies either in a functioning market economy as in the European Union or in economies in a development or transition phase world-wide. The AFEPA programme offers a two-year academic curriculum with integrated and advanced theoretical, methodological and empirical courses in economics and quantitative methods as well as in the five subject areas proposed below. To connect theory and methodology to practice, a problem-solving project is developed and presented as a Master’s thesis at the end of the two-year curriculum.
The AFEPA progamme is jointly organised by four European main partner universities: the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) in Milano, Italy, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Sweden, the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn (UBonn) in Germany, and the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. The partnership also includes three associated partners: the Pontifica Universidad Catolica (PUC) in Chile, the University of Alberta (UAlberta) in Canada and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Spain. These seven partner universities are recognised worldwide for the quality of their educational programme and scientific achievements.
The 120 ECTS credits required to obtain the Master’s degree of the AFEPA programme are structured into three blocks: a minimum of two semesters of studies (60 ECTS credits) at a first main partner university, as well as two semesters of studies (54 ECTS credits) at a second main partner university, and two joint summer schools (6 ECTS) at partner universities. Some of the ECTS credits can also be earned from an associated partner university during the second academic year of the programme. Besides the mandatory courses of 30 ECTS credits in theory and methods, optional courses can be selected to form a major of 30 ECTS credits or a minor of 15 ECTS credits in the following thematic fields: 1) agri-food and trade policy, 2) environmental and natural resource policy, 3) agribusiness and market analysis, 4) market and consumer research, and 5) development policy. An internship at an associated non-academic partner organisation during the second year of study can also be taken for a maximum of 15 ECTS credits depending on the main partner university. The language of instruction and examination is English for all the courses at SLU, UAlberta, UBonn and UCSC, and for most of the courses at UCL and UPC, but in Spanish for most of the courses at PUC. Examination can be organized in English at all partners.
The resulting Master’s degree is awarded as either a joint or a double degree from main partners. Graduates are well qualified to take responsibilities in international, national and regional agencies, non-governmental organisations, consultancy firms, professional organisations and private companies. Because of the research orientation of the AFEPA Master’s curriculum, they are also well prepared for doctoral studies.
To make the AFEPA Master’s programme even more relevant for examining and debating about the many challenges that agricultural and natural resources, food security and safety, environmental protection, and rural communities well-being are facing worldwide now but also in the future, an Advisory Board staffed with professionals from international organisations and companies has been recently established. Thanks to its expertise and foresight, this Advisory Board supports in many dimensions the development of this Master’s programme to the great benefit of university partners and students.
From the academic year 2010-11 until the academic year 2015-16, the AFEPA Master’s programme has been recognised and supported by the Educational, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union as an Erasmus Mundus Master Course. During these six academic years, many admitted students and selected scholars have benefited from generous Erasmus Mundus scholarships to attend the AFEPA Master’s programme. This support has been a key leverage for initialising and developing this Master’s programme that has run independently from it for the two following academic years. The EACEA has renewed its commitment of recognising and supporting the AFEPA Master’s programme as an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) from the academic year 2019-20 until the academic year 2023-24.
In sum, why should you apply to the AFEPA Master’s programme?
- The relevance, diversity and career opportunities contained in the AFEPA study programme.
- The international feature of the programme, attracting students with diverse backgrounds from all over the world and preparing professionals for a future global job market.
- The opportunity to study in two different universities in two European countries and acquire a double or joint Master’s degree.
Main area: Social sciences (including economics)
Second area: Agricultural and forestry sciences
Third area: Geography, earth and environmental studies