Agriculture MPhil; PhD

MPhil: minimum 12 months full time; minimum 24 months part time
PhD: minimum 36 months full time; minimum 72 months part time


Fees per academic year 2014-15

UK and EU: full time £4,320-£9,420 part time £2,160-£4,710
International: full time £14,890-£19,940 part time fees

Fees vary according to the exact nature of the research project.

More information is available about tuition fees and discounts.

Research Areas

MPhil and PhD supervision is normally available across a broad range of research areas related to food security, farming and rural development such as crop production systems, animal production systems, food quality and safety, the rural environment, rural society, agricultural economics and agri-business.

Ecological agriculture
Fundamental research for the identification of genes and physiological traits (eg resistance to crop pests and diseases, nutrient use efficiency) and molecular-assisted selection and breeding methods that are required in low-input food production systems; functional biodiversity for control of pest, disease and weed pressure in low-input food production systems.

Food and human nutrition
Research on food quality in its broadest sense including sensory evaluation, effects of agronomic and production environment on nutrient and phytochemical composition, consumer acceptability and physiological responses to diet.

Integrated animal science
Applied research primarily involving farm livestock but also other domesticated animals and wildlife; development and evaluation of integrated livestock systems based on high-quality animal science and its interface with socio-economics, environmental impact, food quality and safety; animal behaviour, health and welfare; identification of desirable traits for survival, health and efficiency of nutrient utilisation.

Soils, plants and environment
Soil ecology and the contribution of soil biodiversity to soil quality; interpretation of soil and landscape processes to improve understanding of recent and historical environmental change; land degradation processes and their control; water management in irrigated and dryland farming systems; plant environment interactions and their relationships to stress biology and the physiological basis of crop yield and quality.

Rural development in advanced economies
Impact and implications of ‘local-global’ processes and relationships for rural areas; characteristics and performance of rural businesses and households; rural governance; demographic ageing and social change; living with environmental change.

Food systems, consumption and marketing
Consumer studies in food, risk and health; food supply chains and territorial development; the international political economy of food and agriculture.

Science and technology studies in food and environment
Understanding knowledge controversies in food and environment; collaborative knowledge production and exchange: the politics of biosecurity.

This list is indicative and prospective applicants are invited to make an informal enquiry to the most appropriate prospective supervisor prior to application to discuss any potential research topics in the broad area of rural development. For more information about staff specialisms please visit the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

Research Degree Training and Skills Development

The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development offers a number of different routes to a research degree qualification, including full-time and part-time supervised research projects.  We attract postgraduates via non-traditional routes, including mature students and part-time postgraduates undertaking study as part of their continuing professional development. Off-campus (split) research is also offered, which enables you to conduct trials in conditions appropriate to your research programme.

Our Science, Agriculture and Engineering Graduate School also provides training in professional/key skills and research techniques, supports personal development, hosts postgraduate events and has links with several specialist graduate training networks.

The training covers: quantitative and qualitative research methods; the organisation of PhD research; library, information and writing skills; fieldwork; scientific research and writing; and research methods and data analysis. The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development also runs regular postgraduate seminars and an annual postgraduate conference, which you are encouraged to attend.

+Entrance Requirements

An upper-second-class Honours degree, or international equivalent, in an appropriate discipline. Further research experience and/or a further qualification such as an MRes or MSc is normally expected for PhD. Please contact us with details of your proposed subject of research if you are in any doubt.

Applicants whose first language is not English require IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 90 (Internet-based), Pearson's PTE Academic Test 62 or equivalent.

Our INTO Newcastle University Centre can provide extra tuition to help you meet the University's English language requirements.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has rules for international students regarding minimum English language requirements.

+Scholarships and Other Sources of Funding

Own employer sponsorship.

International students - British Council; own government; University scholarships.

More information on scholarships, studentships, bursaries and other funding is available from our database.

+How to Apply

Visit our postgraduate application site.

Informal enquiries about research degrees are encouraged prior to formal application. Applications are considered throughout the year although specific deadlines for funding apply.

There are three possible start dates for your research degree:  

  • 6 January 2014
  • or 28 April 2014
  • 22 September 2014

However, these dates are not mandatory and in some circumstances permission can be granted for alternative start dates.

Please note: As a formal condition of the offer to study at Newcastle University, students from outside the UK and EU are required to pay a deposit of £1,500 or submit an official letter of sponsorship for their chosen programme. The deposit payment is non refundable, but will be deducted from tuition fees upon registration.

+Further Information

For further information please contact:
Postgraduate Office
School of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6900

Subject Overview

This programme is within the subject area of Agriculture.