Rural Studies MPhil, PhD

Rural Studies MPhil, PhD

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


MPhil and PhD supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our broad range of research areas relate to land use, natural resources and environmental change; rural planning, community governance and resilience; rural change, culture and wellbeing; and rural economy, enterprise and innovation.

Your programme during COVID-19

Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Further information

Our COVID-19 Study page gives more information about your Newcastle University study experience.

Terms and conditions and student complaints

The University has terms and conditions which create a positive environment for learning and academic achievement.

Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to the guidelines that may be in place at the time.

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK.

Read our detailed explanation.

Details on our current research can be found at

Areas of research include:

  • 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

Opportunities are available for postgraduate research in the following areas:

Land use, natural resources and environmental change

  • multifunctional land use and the evolving role of small farms
  • land use and food security
  • the management and governance of natural resources
  • agri-environment policy
  • environmental valuation and choice modelling
  • access to land for outdoor recreation and leisure
  • protected areas management

Rural planning, community governance and resilience

  • relationship between rural development policy and communities in a changing political landscape
  • rural policies and the role of communities in policy development
  • neo-endogenous or networked rural development
  • rural housing and trends in counter-urbanisation
  • community asset management
  • rural partnerships and stakeholder relationships
  • community resilience

Rural change, culture and wellbeing 

  • perceptions of rurality
  • rural social change
  • the role of rural women
  • the needs of a changing rural community
  • wellbeing and quality of life
  • rural social capital
  • social exclusion and rural poverty
  • changing perceptions of farming

Rural economy, enterprise and innovation

  • rural enterprise and its economic contribution
  • innovation and entrepreneurialism
  • networks and knowledge exchange
  • the nature and needs of rural enterprise
  • technological adoption and innovation in agriculture
  • linkages between urban and rural economies
  • business collaboration and networking
  • expertise and knowledge exchange
  • social and community enterprise
  • the green economy

Find out more about the work of the Rural Studies and Resource Economics research group.

From undergraduate all the way to my PhD Newcastle University has provided a stimulating environment and offered me great opportunities to further my learning.

Ian's student profile



We offer 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.

Related Degrees

  • Agriculture MPhil, PhD

    MPhil and PhD supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological(organic) agriculture,and agricultural water management.

  • Food and Society MPhil, PhD

    MPhil and PhD supervision covers a number of topics supported by research active academic staff. Our research primarily involves food systems, consumption and food marketing.

All related programmes

Training & Skills

Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme and Student Support

Our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme is a community made up of postgraduates from the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering.

It will help you to develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during your research degree.

Our programme will help you to:

  • complete a training needs analysis, so that you know what your current skills are and where you need help and development
  • use your training needs analysis to create your personal development plan
  • identify appropriate workshops or other events that will help you most and best address your development needs
  • gain the personal and professional key skills development for the successful completion of your research degree

Postgraduate Research Student Support

Our Research Student Support Team will provide support and advice throughout your studies. The team can help you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.

Fees & Funding

2021-2022 fees

EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals

For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.

If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.

All students

Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.

Funding opportunities

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

We usually expect research experience and/or a postgraduate qualification, such as a MRes or MSc, for PhD study. Please contact us if you are in any doubt.

Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.

Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: for further information.

English Language Requirements

Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.

Please email us at for further information.

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a Pre-sessional English course. 

You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.

How to Apply

You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.

Applications for 2022/23

You'll be able to apply for 2022/23 entry from September 2021

Before applying for a PhD/MPhil you should contact a potential supervisor to discuss your planned research. If you are unable to identify a suitable potential supervisor you should contact Please provide a brief description of your area of study and we will pass the information to a potential supervisor/s.

You can apply for funded and non-funded PhD opportunities in Natural and Environmental Sciences


You'll be invited for an interview as part of the application process. The supervisor will arrange this with you.

Start dates

The course starts in September, but we consider January and April start dates on an individual basis. 

There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.


If you are an international student or a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you need a visa to study in the UK, you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study with us. The deposit is non-refundable, but we will deduct it from your tuition fees when you register.


Postgraduate Research Administrator
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3593