Research course

Future Farming Systems

Scotland's Rural College · Department of Agriculture

Entry requirements

Most research studentships will require applicants to have at least a 2.1 at degree level or equivalent. You will also have to provide the below information with an application: •A CV, including your qualifications (for a PhD you will be expected to have an upper second class or first class honours degree). •Evidence of proficiency in English e.g. TOEFL at 580 (paper based), or 237 (computer based), IELTS at 6.5, or CPE. •Proof of funding e.g. a letter from a funding agency confirming the award of a scholarship. •Reports from two academic referees. •Some indication of your research interests. Ideally, students would provide a one page description of the topic they wish to pursue.


Months of entry

October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February

Course content

SRUC offers excellent opportunities for research leading to a higher degree, usually a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). In some cases, particularly for those studying part-time, the Master of Science (MSc) by research or the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a more appropriate aim.

A PhD is the highest academic research qualification and concentrates on a particular academic area through intensive research and investigation. Students are also given the opportunity to develop a range of transferable skills through a variety of training opportunities. PhD's are usually 3 years in length but can take longer (students should bear this in mind when considering the funding required for study - most funded PhD's will provide funding for a maximum period of 36-42 months). If you register part-time for a PhD, the prescribed period of study is 72 months. Students are required to submit their thesis as soon as possible after the end of their prescribed period of study.

An MSc by research is a one year qualification (or two years part-time) which is assessed through coursework, examination and a dissertation or research project. An MSc by research can be a useful way of preparing for advanced research.

An MPhil is a two year qualification (or four years part-time) which requires the student to acquire research skills and an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of research. The MPhil is assessed by a thesis and MPhil students may be offered the opportunity to extend their study to a PhD depending on their satisfactory progress and the availability of funding.

The majority of our research degrees are awarded by the University of Edinburgh. In addition, we have some research students registered with Nottingham, Glasgow, York and several other Universities.

Students will be assigned a supervisor at SRUC and the University who will be awarding the PhD. The supervisor's role is to provide support and advice to the student, monitoring the student's progress and ensuring the thesis meets the registering University's specifications.

Prospective students should be aware, however, that they are directly responsible for their research progressing at an appropriate pace and for the production of a quality thesis at the end of their prescribed period of study. Research programmes involve very little if any direct teaching and students are responsible for organising their workload and research activities.

To get an idea of the research programmes in SRUC and to help you choose an area of interest to you, you should visit the web pages of the Research Group:

SRUC offers funded postgraduate research opportunities through a variety of different funding sources.

Funded studentships are advertised in the Vacancies section of our website, where full details of the studentships, eligibility criteria and application process can be found.

Other useful sites to search for studentships are:

The majority of funded studentships tend to be advertised between April-October each year but occasionally studentships are available at other times so it is worth checking our website regularly.

It is also possible to apply as a self-funding research postgraduate student at SRUC.

Department specialisms

Applied Research

Information for international students

English Language Requirements - Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to provide evidence of their written and spoken English abilities.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

UK/EU Students

Tuition fees for UK/EU students registered for research degrees for the 2015-2016 session are approximately £4,052 per annum for a PhD (this figure is based on the UK Research Council's UK indicative fee level for 2015-2016) and £6,600 for MSc by research.

Overseas Students

Tuition fees for overseas students registered for a research degree for the 2015-2016 session are approximately £21,350 per annum for an MSc by research and £17,200 per annum for a PhD.

Part-time Students

Students registered as part-time usually pay 50% of the full-time fee per annum.


Some studentships will offer a student stipend/allowance. The current UK Research Council recommended stipend level is £14,057 per year but the exact stipend level will depend on the funding for each individual studentship.

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Dr Mark Hocart
0131 535 4084