PgC / PgD / MSc
Integrated Pest Management

Unfortunately many universities have closed down or reduced their teaching and research in agriculture and crop science. There is a shortage of expertise in important topics, often in subjects that are closer to the farmer, where UK scientists and agronomists have traditionally played a leading role. Several key subjects are particularly vulnerable, including plant breeding, various aspects of pathology including mycology and virology, whole plant and crop physiology, agricultural entomology, nematology and soil science. There is a danger that valuable skills will be lost as researchers and teachers retire.

(Reaping the benefits: Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture - October 2009, Royal Society)

Are you interested in crop protection and sustainable agriculture?
Are you looking for a research career working in agriculture and related areas?
Do you want to do something positive for the environment?
Then Integrated Pest Management is the postgraduate course for you:

The course

The continuing production of safe, wholesome food in an environmentally sensitive manner is a major political issue for national governments and internationally within global commodity markets.  A report produced by the UK Cabinet Office in 2008 (Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century) predicts that the global population will rise to 9Bn by 2050 rising from a current estimate of nearly 6.8Bn. This increase in population size will substantially increase the demand for food. The global estimates vary in magnitude, but it is thought approximately 25% of crops are lost to pests and diseases, such as insects, fungi and other plant pathogens (FAO Crop Prospects and Food Situation 2009). 

The Crop Pest and Disease Management course will offer students training in techniques to facilitate crop food production. The course covers a broad range of topics in applied entomology, plant pathology and nematology and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter either a pest/disease management work environment or a research career in applied entomology, plant pathology or pest management. There is, however, considerable flexibility within the course thus enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions. 

Research projects are available in a wide range of subjects covered by the research groups within the Crop and Environment Sciences Department and choices are made in consultation with expert staff.  Projects at linked research institutes in the UK and overseas are also available. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of research at Harper Adams and long-standing collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

A distinctive and integral feature of our MSc is the high degree of input from entomologists, plant pathologists and pest managers in collaborating governmental organizations and commercial biological control companies. This participation takes a variety of forms, including guest lectures, field visits and specific training courses, but may also include providing research projects in their organizations.

Examples of collaborating organizations include, CEH Wallingford, Forest Research, Horticultural Development Company, The International Pesticide Application Research Centre, The Natural History Museum London, Rothamsted Research, and Wye Bugs.

How will it benefit me?

Having completed the MSc you will be able to identify the underlying causes of major pest and disease problems and recognize economically important insects, plant diseases and weeds. 

You will also be able to apply integrated pest control methods and oversee their application. The course will focus on the ecological and management principles of pest control and you will learn to evaluate the consequences of pesticide use and application on the biological target.  You will also receive training in the evaluation of the economic and environmental costs of integrated approaches to pest control in relation to biological effectiveness. Ultimately, the course will enable students to produce integrated pest and disease management solutions that pay due regard to agricultural, horticultural, social and environmental requirements.

In addition, there is considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions

The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pest and disease management research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments or surveys. You will learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing pest and disease management case studies.

The MSc covers a broad range of topics relevant to pest and disease management and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter a vocational work environment or pursue a research career. There is, however, considerable flexibility enabling each student to focus on specialist subjects consistent with their interests and future career intentions. 

Scholarships and funding

The Horticultural Development Council typically fund three bursaries each of £5,000 to support the MSc IPM course. Visit the scholarship page for further details and application information.

The full-time and two year part-time courses are eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Contact Information

Professor Simon Leather

Professor Simon Leather
Professor of Entomology
Office: AY03
Email: Click here to contact Simon Leather
Telephone: 01952 815488

For further information on any aspect of postgraduate study, or to receive an application form please contact:

Photo of Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan
Postgraduate Administrator
Telephone: 01952 815289
Fax: 01952 814783
Email: Send Heather Hogan a message

Course structure

Compulsory module
Optional module
Blank Not available
Module Title (click for more info) Credit Value PgC (60 credits from) PgD (120 credits from) MSc (180 credits from)
Plant Health Management - Principles 15
Plant Health Management - Practices 15
Fundamentals of Agro-Ecology 15      
Insect Physiology and Behaviour 15      

Previous graduates from the course have mainly gone on to work for ADAS or commercial biological control companies, the agro-chemical industry or horticulture sector.  Others have joined Research Institutes such as Forest Research, FERA, or Rothamsted Research.  Typically 30% of MSc Integrated Pest & Disease Management graduates will go into research careers or onto PhD courses.