Key facts

Course Dates
Part time - minimum registration of 1 year, maximum of 5 years
Entry Requirements
The applicant has obtained an undergraduate honours degree in the 1st or 2nd class range, or international equivalent, in a relevant pure or applied science, technology or engineering subject. A minimum of one year of relevant full-time work experience. Applicants who do not meet the academic requirement, but can demonstrate commensurate professional experience will be considered for admission for this programme.
Fee info
From £3200
IFST Membership
Your course enrolment also entitles you to one year of free membership to the IFST (Institute of Food, Science and Technology).
Course Provider
University Of Reading
Provider Reference Number
Course Arrangements
Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location
University of Reading
AFTP Cohort


Dr Caroline Rymer - University of Reading, Agriculture Policy & Development

Dr Andrew Ainslee - University of Reading, Agriculture Policy & Development

Course overview

Please note that we have discontinued this qualification and will be unable to offer it to applicants in the future. 

Learning outcomes

This programme has been designed with maximum flexibility in mind: you study part-time and follow a modular structure which allows you to progress at a rate to suit your own personal and professional situation. Generally, participants complete two or three modules a year progress to the PG Cert qualification, however, the flexibility of the programme allows for completion within one to five years.

Taught Element - Compulsory Modules
  • What is Sustainability?
  • Agri-Food Value Chains
  • Livestock, Livelihoods and Food Security
  • Livestock Nutrition and Feeding
  • Current Issues in Livestock Production
  • Sustainable Livestock Production Systems

You can complete the full 60 credits of the PGCert and study at distance from anywhere in the world. The £3,200 fee covers the full programme, which normally takes 12 to 24 months to complete. Alternatively, you can build credits on a module-by-module basis; the cost per 10 credits is £800 if you'd prefer not to commit to the complete programme at the start of your studies.

Course structure and dates

Courses run throughout the year and are timed to fit in with industry requirements. The PG Cert programme requires the following elements of study and research activities for completion:

Support and guidance

Following acceptance on to the course, each participant will have the opportunity to discuss their individual needs with members of the course team resulting in an agreed plan of study. All participants will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will provide academic and pastoral support throughout the course. Information on University provisions for student support will be given to each participant.

Course Structure

Agri-Food Value Chains

Start Date: 04 May 2020
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

The Agri-Food Value Chains course enables participants to develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the Agri-Food Value Chain, its main components, and the linkages between them. It also examines the main trends, drivers, and issues within the chain, covering aspects from agriculture and its ancillary industries, through to food retailing and catering, with reference to market structure, government intervention, and international trade.

Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials that will be available to the participant permanently. There will be a series of online discussions and exercises. Contributions to the discussions will be monitored, and may form part of the assessment. Feedback and contributions from the course convenor or deliverer will be the main source of formative assessment.

This course would have a broad range of applicability to professionals within the agrifood sector, but particularly those involved in food manufacturing, processing, distribution, retail, and catering.

This module is availabe for CPD (£450) or for credit (£700).. Modules taken as CPD can later be converted to credit for a fee of £250.  

Livestock, Livelihoods and Food Security

Start Date: TBC
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

This course will provide an in-depth overview of the livelihoods and food security issues deriving from farmed livestock across a global range of production systems. Focusing on the main classes of farmed livestock (dairy, beef, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry), you will explore the opportunities and challenges of keeping livestock as a means of acquiring and maintaining food security at a household, national, and global level.

This broad-ranging course will also see you investigate the impact of a range of other topics impacting on individual livelihoods and food security, including innovations in the value chains of specific livestock systems, the impact of climate change, and the role of cultural preferences and ethical concerns.

This course would be of direct importance to professionals working with livestock in any capacity, but also from those looking to understand the wider impact of livestock on an individual, local, regional, and international level.

What is Sustainability?

Start Date: 07 Oct 2019
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

Sustainability is one of the most important topics in the current agrifood sector and has become a subject of debate for governments, major companies, and the general public. That is why the ‘What is Sustainability?’ course introduces participants to the latest research in Sustainability and the relevance of this topic across the food industries. Through online lectures and seminars, you will explore the different frameworks of sustainability, including economic, ethical and environmental measures, and a practical sense of when and how these frameworks should be applied.

The course is aimed at professionals in the agriculture, food and environmental related industries (including feed, veterinary pharmaceutical and breeding companies). This may also be suitable for those with careers in research and development, as well as in the advisory or extension sector. International and national corporations will both be able to use the knowledge provided in the course as well as research and higher education institutions in the governmental sector. 

Assessments are designed to advance participants careers by developing and assessing the analytical and communication skills required by food or environmental industries. Projects are designed to be relevant to the participant's current employment. To ensures relevant research and questions are addressed, participants are encouraged to discuss particular projects with their employer.

This module is availabe for CPD (£450) or for credit (£700).. Modules taken as CPD can later be converted to credit for a fee of £250.  

Livestock Nutrition and Feeding

Start Date: 04 May 2020
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

This course will introduce you to the role of farmed livestock in agricultural systems, and the importance of feed in managing the nutritional requirements of different classes of livestock.  You will explore the variety of livestock feeds, including their manufacture and issues of food safety, and develop an understanding of how these can be used to meet the nutritional requirements of different livestock. Additionally, you will develop the ability to formulate diets for specific livestock, and the role of the feed industry in meeting these requirements.

This course would be particularly useful to those working in the livestock or feed industries, but also for producers or retailers looking to increase their understanding of their supply chain. 

Contemporary Issues in Animal Science

Start Date: 13 January 2020
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

This course is designed to introduce you to the latest research and contemporary practices in animal science, and the challenges and opportunities that this field faces in making livestock production sustainable in the 21st century.

Through online lectures and discussions, delivered through the University of Reading’s Virtual Learning Environment, the course will provide you an overview of the key issues, including producing healthy and safe animal-based foods; using fewer resources; and minimising negative environmental and health impacts associated with livestock production, while maintaining or enhancing the welfare status of the animal. You will explore the ways that animal science offers solutions to each of these problems, and the practical tools that can be developed from advances in scientific research.

After completing the course, you will have developed a well-rounded knowledge of animal science, its latest advances, and the ways that these can be applied to current problems facing livestock production in the UK and beyond. This would be of obvious practical use to those working with livestock at any point in the supply chain, but would also be of benefit to any industry professionals looking to develop their understanding of animal science and its role in modern livestock production systems. 

This module is availabe for CPD (£450) or for credit (£700).. Modules taken as CPD can later be converted to credit for a fee of £250.  

Sustainable Livestock Production Systems

Start Date: 07/10/2019
Location: Online, University of Reading
Credits: 10 credits

The Sustainable Livestock Production Systems course will explore a range of different livestock production systems and the opportunities and challenges of implementing sustainable practices. Through eight weeks of interactive, online sessions and discussions, delivered through the University of Reading’s Virtual Learning Environment, you will develop a detailed understanding of environmental, social, and economic factors associated with sustainability across a range of livestock sectors. 

After completing the course you will have an excellent understanding of sustainability factors impacting livestock production systems and will be able to identify specific issues relating to pig, poultry, dairy, and ruminant meat production systems. This will be of particular use to professionals working with livestock and looking to develop sustainability, but would also be relevant to anyone across the food industry looking to increase their understanding of these topics.     

This module is availabe for CPD (£450) or for credit (£700).. Modules taken as CPD can later be converted to credit for a fee of £250.  

My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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