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Sustainable Livestock Systems


Subject Area Agriculture & Food Science
Credits 10
Start Date 09 September 2024
Duration 12 weeks
Mode of Delivery Online 
Course Leader (opens in a new window)Professor Tommy Boland

80% Learner Fee Subsidy

Application Deadline 26 August 2024

Globally, livestock systems are the major user of agricultural land, either directly through grazing or pastoral activity or as a major consumer of cereal grains, pulses, oilseeds and their by-products. Such land use activity, while delivering multiple benefits to global society (food, fibre, fuel, nutrient cycling, etc), is associated with various negative externalities including greenhouse gas and transboundary gas emissions, deteriorations in water quality and loss of biodiversity.

Livestock production faces numerous challenges to mitigate these and other negative externalities, while at the same time delivering an increased global demand for food products of animal origin, and concurrently delivering a sustainable livelihood for the hundreds of millions of people involved in livestock production globally.

Key Features

This micro-credential is relevant to professionals interested in global systems of agriculture, food and sustainability who want to develop their expertise in livestock production systems. People working in all areas related, but not limited to livestock animal agriculture, policymakers, and sustainability decision-makers could benefit from the topics including but not limited to veterinarians, those working in animal health or welfare, product developers, animal feed manufacturers/suppliers and those working in livestock animal agriculture.

On completion of this micro-credential you will be able to:

  • Understand global and regional livestock production systems.
  • Evaluate interactions among livestock production, livestock distribution and food demand challenges.
  • Critically evaluate the environmental impact (both positive and negative) of livestock production systems.
  • Critically evaluate mitigation activities to reduce the environmental impact of livestock production systems.
  • Collaborate and communicate with peers and other stakeholders to engage and critically evaluate the latest developments in research and technology across livestock production systems.

Topics that you will cover include 

  • Global livestock production systems.
  • Integration of livestock production and cropping systems.
  • Livestock production and nature.
  • Livestock production and forestry.

Completing this micro-credential will develop your understanding of the environmental impact of livestock production systems, strategies to mitigate this environmental impact and the central role livestock production systems play in global food systems.

Additionally, you will develop expertise in understanding livestock systems, the interpretation of data and opinions, and critical thinking.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace). This is a self-directed micro-credential designed for you to work through the material at your own pace as much as possible. You will need to meet the key assessment dates, but you can read the material and engage with the lectures as and when fits your schedule.

You will learn in a variety of ways, through a mixture of autonomous learning, live online tutorials, and peer interactions.
A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student, you will have full access to the library.

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants are required to hold an NFQ level 8 Honours degree (minimum 2nd Class Honours Lower) or equivalent in a related science discipline.

Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be admitted on the basis of considerable relevant experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Assessments will be scheduled at times that vary over the trimester and will be submitted remotely through Brightspace. This will include written assignments.

Individual feedback will be provided to you on written assignments. You will also receive feedback during the live online practical tutorials taking over the course of the trimester.

This micro-credential is also a module on the MSc Animal Health.

Please note: Learners can avail of only one form of funding per application. 

Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy-Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3

The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy has been introduced to enable more learners to address critical skills gaps and engage with lifelong learning through micro-credentials. The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy is funded by Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

HCI Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidies are available on identified micro-credentials only and in fixed numbers from March 2024 until October 2025.  

Please see Eligibility Criteria for further information.