Research course

PhD Programme (All RAU Schools of Study)

Royal Agricultural University · Royal Agricultural University

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirement is a Master's degree or an equivalent academic qualification from a comparable international institution. Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered for entry, following personal interview.

For students whose first language is not English, the University will accept the International English Language Test (IELTS) with a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in Writing and no less than 5.5 in all elements.

Months of entry

February, September

Course content

Course Overview

The RAU is committed to environmental sustainability, and so all our projects explore issues that will help farmers, horse owners, and rural businesses apply innovative techniques and models to improve output, health, and welfare while caring for the environment.

Why study at the RAU?

  • Excellent job prospects for PhD candidates in both industry and academia
  • Integrated structured training on research methodologies, statistics, presentation skills, and academic writing
  • Range of on-farm facilities and unique established trial-plot areas to support your work
  • Strong research collaborations with the University of Nottingham, Rothamsted Research, and University College Dublin allowing you access to some state-of-the- art laboratory facilities
  • Our research degrees are validated by the University of Gloucestershire allowing you to interact with a large and subject-diverse postgraduate community

Current research areas include:

Agronomy and sustainable agriculture

  • Wheat-bean intercropping and sustainable production systems
  • Environmental challenges and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Developing sustainable pest control methods
  • Efficacy of farm swales in removing pesticides from surface water

Soil science

  • Understanding management influences on soil organic matter
  • Nutrient cycling in soil and potential for carbon sequestration

Equine science

  • Behavioural probes of brain function in horses
  • Evaluating energy balance in competition horses
  • Forage hygiene and respiratory health in stabled horses

Urban regeneration

  • Smart city modelling
  • International competitiveness of Chinese construction firms
  • UAE residential valuation systems audit investigation and future pathways

The University is interested in receiving applications from suitably qualified, motivated, and self-financing students wishing to undertake research at either Master of Science by Research (MScR) or Doctoral (PhD) level.


The full-time PhD is a three year research project, submitted as a thesis and examined as a viva voce.

  • Full-time – minimum 36 months / maximum 48 months
  • Part-time minimum 48 months / maximum 72 months

Please note that the University does not sponsor Tier4 students for part-time study..

Department specialisms

Development food chain security agribusiness entrepreneurship and enterprise real estate finance, development, investment and management

Information for international students

Fees and funding

UK students
FT £4,386 p.a.(Min. registration 3 years), PT £2,193 pa(Min. registration 6 years)
International students
FT £12,240 p.a.(Min. registration 3 years)

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • Further details of qualification

Course contact details

Prof. Meriel Moore-Colyer
01285 889 912