Increasing concern over environmental, biodiversity and food safety issues in the Mediterranean area have formed the basis for a Masters of Science (M.Sc.) degree on “Sustainable Agriculture”. Sustainable Agriculture promotes the principles of a viable agro-ecosystem with natural living systems that operate compatibly through responsible management of abiotic and biotic resources and it is particularly sensitive on environmental pollution and waste. The postgraduate program enables the graduates to tackle the recent incorporation of environmental issues into the EU common agricultural policy. The framework of integrated and organic farming systems is provided by the quality assurance legislation and agro-environmental indicators. Technical topics are also analysed in depth: agro-ecology, ecotoxicology, agro-biodiversity, genetic resources management, soil and water management, crop protection, case studies of sustainable methodologies.
The postgraduate program enables the graduates to understand the theoretical background of sustainable agriculture and familiarize with integrated crop management and organic farming applications, capabilities and limitations. M.Sc. graduates constitute suitable employees in farmer advice/extension, teaching, research institutions, government and international agencies, management companies, aid programs, local authorities and as consultants in the private sector. Other graduates carry on pursuing further research for a PhD degree.
The first year students are introduced to some basic principles on a wide variety of modules relative to sustainable agriculture:
Introductory course: agro-ecology, integrated crop management and organic farming, ecotoxicology, agro-environmental indicators, quality assurance legislation and certification standards.
Natural resources management: soil quality and soil fertility management
Assessment of genetic resources: functional agrobiodiversity, seed production, conservation and plant breeding
Crop protection: plant/pest bio-interactions and integrated pest management, fungal and bacterial disease management, insect and weed management, detection and epidemiology of plant viruses, biotechnological approaches to crop protection
Greenhouse and post-harvest management: greenhouse technologies, soilless culture (hydroponics), post-harvest physiology, technology and handling
In the second year, successful students will be incorporated to suitable research projects to develop independent thinking in well-equipped laboratories (e.g. microbiology, soil analysis) and greenhouses leading to a M.Sc. degree.