Rural Studies MPhil, PhD


About me

Name: Ian
Course: Rural Development MPhil, PhD
PhD Title: Rural Development: the contribution of Rural Business Hubs
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: UK

Choosing Newcastle

"I chose to study with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy because of the national and international impact that the School has had within academia. I originally studied for my undergraduate with the School (Countryside Management BSc) before applying to continue my studies at postgraduate level (Food and Rural Development MSc). The academic staff within the School are world-class and create a friendly and stimulating environment to work in."

Studying at Newcastle

"From undergraduate all the way to my PhD Newcastle University has provided great services (from the Robinson Library through to having easy access to a PC), taught beneficial and practical modules, provided a stimulating environment and offered me great opportunities to further my learning.

"I’m really enjoying the freedom and independence of my PhD. It’s less structured than my Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, but there is more admin and I’m having to manage my time more effectively! The University has good services and resources (such as the PhD computer suite in the Agriculture Building) which is good as I get to work around other PhD students.

"What I’ve found studying my PhD is that my opinion really matters now! The staff seem to respect me more too. The most significant change has been the independence I have as a PhD student. All my previous studies have been dissertation-heavy, so research-wise there isn’t a huge amount of difference between what I’ve done before and what I’m doing now. The workload is ok, at the moment I’m mostly reading for my literature review, and thankfully early on my supervisor helped me to realise my work needs pacing and that I shouldn’t be trying to get it all done in one year!"

Postgraduate Community

"I am involved in two faculty’s communities (SAgE and HaSS) as my research is based in the social sciences and I have to take external training modules from HaSS. Both sets of students are friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. I particularly approve of working in such a transnational and multicultural environment – I learn a lot from these different perspectives and have made friends with people from all corners of the globe.

"This is very different to my undergraduate degree, the community is more diverse in terms of nationality and ethnicity, with people from different backgrounds with a range of experiences and opinions, and this helps to give different perspectives.

"I’ve also had the opportunity to go to conferences in Iceland and Belfast in May to present my work and discuss topics, both of which I found out about through my School. These are fantastic opportunities and I can’t wait to meet others who work within my field. You could say that the postgraduate community for a PhD student extends beyond the boundaries of the University to the research community at large, which is great."

Funding my studies

"I received information from my department about my funding, and they helped to put my funding together. They’ve been extremely supportive and were instrumental in securing my 3+1 scholarship with the ESRC. The staff in my School suggested to me that I should pursue this opportunity and I was successful in getting a scholarship that covered my MSc as well as my PhD course. I consider myself very fortunate that certain staff members saw the potential in me and presented the opportunity – I’m not sure I would have applied if it wasn’t for their guidance.

"Through the research council, I’ve also received funding for my travel to Belfast and Ireland in May to attend conferences, which I was given through the NEDTC RTSG fund"

Career aspirations

"Following from the positive experiences I have had so far at Newcastle University I would like to continue down the route of academia. Ideally I would like to stay at Newcastle University as the School and staff are both internationally renowned, but I would also like to work abroad at some point in my life. I have gained teaching experience through the ILTHE course, which is an advantage when wanting to continue in academia as both lecturer and researcher."


"As a resident of Newcastle before I went to university I have never needed to use any accommodation provided by the University. I live in Heaton, which is an area with good community spirit, nice people, and it’s not too expensive."

Living in Newcastle

"I have lived in Newcastle for approximately 10 years now and still love the city. The people are friendly and honest, the rent is one of the cheapest in the UK and Newcastle has recently been judged to be the happiest place to live in the UK. It has a good nightlife, music scene, plenty of nice pubs and cafes, a modern city centre and beautiful architecture."

Remembering Newcastle

"The highlights of my time as a PhD student would be getting my funding, and I imagine going to Iceland in May to present at the Nordic Ruralities Conference."