Postgraduate Certificate in Postharvest Technology - Writtle University College

Postgraduate Certificate in Postharvest Technology

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  • What is Postharvest Technology?

    Post harvest Technology is concerned with the research in to and application of new and advanced systems and processes to ensure that harvested crops receive the appropriate treatments from cropping through to sale to ensure waste is minimised. It is an increasingly important and expanding industry which requires technically aware graduates.

    Environmental concerns are now a major consideration of all aspects of production and supply chain. Worldwide postharvest losses can account for up to half of production; it is vital that supermarkets and their supply chains reduce their carbon footprint, both in terms of the impact on the economy and the environment. The industries providing the packaging, grading, storage and transport of fresh produce are actively seeking graduates who have an awareness and understanding of the issues involved.

  • About the Course

  • Students studying at Writtle University College will have access to the Postharvest Unit which undertakes research and trials in conjunction with commercial companies.

    This provides the opportunity to study a range of crops and investigate at an advanced level the techniques used for postharvest handling and the underlying mechanisms which determine and limit these techniques.

    Students will also examine crop growing using resources at the University and through visits to growers, so they develop an understanding of the supply chain from the field through to sale. Together with visiting speakers from industry, this develops students' awareness of the latest trends and research in industry. The teaching staff have developed close links with industry on a worldwide basis and research and consultancy work is used to underpin the curriculum.

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  • Course Content

  • The course combines theory, practical experience, industrial visits and presentations from industry experts.

    There are opportunities to participate in trial work and to undertake original research in the UK or abroad. The course attracts both home and international students from many different countries providing a stimulating environment in which to study post harvest technology. Semester one modules are common to all students on the programme and option modules in semester two provide an opportunity to specialise prior to undertaking the dissertation

    Information about each module can be viewed by clicking on the module title within the table below.

    Postharvest Technology
    Strategic Management and Global Trade
    Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture
    Environmental Policy and Leadership Skills
    Urban Agriculture
    Other Suitable Option Modules
    by negotiation with Course team (15 credits)



    Summer period is Dissertation only.
    60 Appropriate credits are required for the named award.
    Compulsory Modules must be taken but could be condoned subject to the Rules of Assessment.
    Optional Modules may be taken and could be condoned subject to the Rules of Assessment.
    15 credits chosen from Optional Modules.

    Students wishing to progress on to the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc Postharvest Technology course should note that all semester one modules are compulsory for these awards.

    These are the modules that are offered in this academic year; however, the optional modules available may be subject to change for the following reasons:

    • Staff availability - for example the availability of staff to deliver specialist modules, which cannot be delivered by staff who do not have the relevant specialist expertise.
    • In response to feedback and annual review processes to ensure we continually enhance our programmes. Changes in these circumstances will usually be made for the benefit of students.
    • Student demand - to ensure there are adequate numbers on a module to support the provision of an excellent Learning & Teaching experience.
    • The currency of the relevant module. Some modules are specified at a time when they reflect the issues that are currently topical in the subject area. They may have lost that currency by the time that the student is required to exercise the option. In the circumstances, in order to ensure that students are provided with an appropriate learning experience, those modules will be replaced by those which are relevant to the changing nature of the subject area.

    The Writtle University College will endeavour to ensure that any impact on students is limited if such changes occur.

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  • Entry Requirements

  • Admissions to this course are subject to the normal policies and procedures for postgraduate students at Writtle University College.

    Candidates from the United Kingdom higher education sector will normally hold a first honours degree at 2.2 or above in a related subject (such as horticulture, agriculture, floristry, environmental sciences). Prospective students with a first honours degree in another discipline but with significant work experience in horticulture, agriculture or related areas will also be considered for entrance on the masters’ programme

    Applications from international students will be considered in line with Writtle University College’s Admission Policy. International students will be expected to have achieved the equivalent of the minimum entry for UK students; qualifications and experience will be review by the Admissions Officer and assessed using UK NARIC criteria. Applications from European students will be guided by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

    Those international students whose first language is not English will be expected to have achieved a qualification in English as a Foreign Language or its equivalent in line with current Writtle University College postgraduate admissions policy.

    Consideration will be given to applicants outside the stipulated guidelines if they are able to demonstrate significant relevant industrial experience.

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  • Who is the Course for?

  • The course is designed for those who already have an interest in postharvest technology as well as those who wish to develop or update their existing knowledge.

    The course attracts students from both the UK and internationally so creating a stimulating environment in which to study. Applicants normally have a background in agriculture, horticulture, engineering, biosciences, geography, business and economics but all have the common interest of the need to reduce produce loss and the application of technologies to achieve this.

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  • Delivery and Assessment

  • Delivery is through a combination of lectures, practical, formative and summative coursework, tutor and student led tutorials, case studies and group work, including seminars and presentations.

    It is developed through a series of visits to commercial/industrial and research establishments.

    Knowledge and understanding is assessed using a combination of examination (seen and unseen), assessed coursework (lab reports, projects, case studies, presentations) and problem-based learning scenarios which include interpretative exercises.

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  • Career Prospects

  • Upon successful completion of the course, graduates have gained employment with major wholesale, retail and import/export organisations where produce quality is paramount, and where supply objectives are on a global scale.

    For students already employed in the postharvest sector, successful completion of the course is likely to enhance their prospects for career enhancement.

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  • What Next?

  • On successful completion of the course, there is the opportunity to progress on to the Postgraduate Diploma or Masters in Postharvest Technology
  • Related Learning Opportunities

  • Undertaking trial work and research for commercial partners within the postharvest unit

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This modular course can be completed in one year on a part-time basis and is an opportunity for people working in the industry to combine work and study.

The study period can be extended for those students with demanding commitments at home or work.



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