Agriculture MPhil, PhD


Student Profile

About me

Name: Amelia
Course: Agriculture, MPhil, PhD
PhD Title: Efficient use of recycled waste based fertilisers in rye and spelt trials grown on field and farm scale in the UK
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: USA

Choosing Newcastle

"I originally chose to study at Newcastle because it has a unique MSc programme in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems. I was encouraged to continue my studies through my experience on the MSc course, where I became familiar with the research team that I am now a part of through my PhD.

"My MSc was one of only two courses in the UK to focus on organic farming, so it was a clear choice to come to Newcastle. My research team encouraged me to do my PhD and I could see opportunities to continue my research.

Studying at Newcastle

"With my PhD, I have ownership of my programme of study. I feel very independent, which I like, and I like how international the postgraduate courses in Agriculture are. There are many different countries represented and it’s a good environment to be in. "For my particular research project, I split my time between the University and the experimental farm where my field trials are located. Over the winter I spend more time on campus and during the warm months I’m out at the farm collecting data.

"I do seasonal fieldwork as part of my project. In spring and summer I’ll be out doing fieldwork every day in Nafferton. I can get the bus from the city centre to the farm, and some of us students carpool instead. My studies as a PhD student are more self-directed, and while the expectation on us as researchers is more, I’m comfortable with conducting my research as a PhD student. I’m using the knowledge I gained in my previous studies and postgraduate workshops to work with statistics and software on my project."

Postgraduate Community

"In the School of Agriculture, all of the postgraduate research students are assigned a desk within a study suite, so you have easy access to other students on a regular basis. The specific research group that I am a part of (Nafferton Ecological Farming Group) is based out at the School research farm, so I also feel a part of a community when I am working off campus. Postgraduate student reps also make an effort to organise casual events to allow postgrads to socialise both within and outside of the University.

"My research group meets regularly and this gives us the opportunity to discuss or raise what we’re working on. We meet at the farm and socialise, including senior researchers and administrators. There’s a real sense of community. We also have access to academic workshops within the Agriculture department, and within the department our PG ambassadors set up events to attend including coffee mornings and birthdays. We also attend the Northumberland County Show, which is organised through the School, and go on farm walks and visits."

Funding my studies

"I was aware of some international grants offered by Newcastle for my MSc. I am funded by a Doctoral Training Award through the Newcastle University Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. I applied with my specific supervisors and project proposal and obtained funding for a four year project. I was awarded a Doctoral Training Award, I applied through my research group and originally applied through a central studentship through the University website. I spoke to my supervisor and they advised me to go through the DTC."

"I am ultimately interested in farm-based education and hope to teach, while also working in agriculture. When I finished my MSc I found that I was either over- or under-qualified for the roles I wanted. My PhD is giving me the research experience and expertise that I need to gain a position in teaching. I’ve done some teaching and organised school group visits to Nafferton. Eventually I would like to return to the US, but I might stay for a bit after my PhD to follow up and finish my research."


"I live in private accommodation (a two-person flat with my partner) in Heaton, which is an affordable and student-friendly neighbourhood just outside of the city centre.

"I’ve lived in Newcastle for three years, at first in Fenham, then Blaydon, then Heaton. I like Heaton because it’s really nice, close to the city centre but it has its own restaurants, pubs and is close to the Ouseburn. It gives me access to parts of the city I like and it’s still affordable." "After living in Newcastle for a couple years, I discovered certain areas/neighbourhoods that I really enjoy. I am particularly fond of the Ouseburn area for its pubs, food, live music and art studios. The University is also centrally located, so I can run errands on days when I’m at the School and/or easily meet up with friends at the end of the day.

"The city definitely grows on you, it’s perfect for an agricultural postgraduate and has unique organic farms. I like it for the fact that it’s also easy to get to other interesting places such as Edinburgh and Durham. Northumberland is great for hiking and you can get across to the Lake District too."

Remembering Newcastle

"I associate Newcastle with the River Tyne—the images of the bridges over the Tyne are iconic and are really beautiful to see in person. I also cycle regularly and the paths along the Tyne extend in both directions and provide a scenic route to explore the surrounding area.

"I’ve enjoyed organising trials on the farms and events to attract people to the farms. It’s good that farmers participate in my research too. As we need more people to grow, use and eat cereal crops, having farmers and artisan bakers involved in organic farming is great. My research is very specific but it’s part of a growing trend and it’s great to see the results of my research such as artisan bread production."