Postgraduate research opportunities

The RAU provides a close-knit and stimulating environment for individuals wanting to further their academic and professional careers through doctoral study. All our post graduate degrees are validated by the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) so you will be part of a wider vibrant community of students all studying for a variety of post graduate qualifications.

Research and innovation are vital to the land-based industries, which face the constant challenge of adapting to scientific and technological advances. Expert, evidence-based insights lie at the heart of the industry’s ability to respond to those changes in a way that will benefit the industry itself and the wider world.

You will be trained by the RAU and UoG researchers in how to formulate enquiries, critical approaches to reading, scientific writing, research methodology and statistics (e.g. Genstat, SPSS, NVivo).

You will also gain the skills and confidence to give lectures and contribute to internal seminars and external conferences. You may also attend taught subject classes to update your knowledge and understanding on disciplines related to your chosen subject of study and to further your critical review skills.

The programme is completed when you submit your thesis for assessment at the end of of your study period and defend your research in a viva voce examination. 

PhD programme

MSc by Research

Why choose to study at the RAU?

  • Access to the RAU’s 12,500 strong and influential alumni network, to help you in developing skills and contacts to last a lifetime.
  • Excellent job prospects for PhD candidates in both industry and academia
  • Attractive safe campus based in the heart of the Cotswolds, yet in easy reach of major conurbations such as Bristol, Bath, Swindon and London
  • Our research degrees are validated by University of Gloucester allowing you to interact with a large and subject-diverse post-graduate community
  • Integrated structured training on research methodologies, statistics, presentation skills and academic writing
  • Range of on-farm facilities including a herd of eight research ponies and established trial-plot areas to support your work 
  • Strong research collaborations with University of Nottingham, University of Glasgow, Rothamsted Research Station and University College of Dublin allowing you access to some ‘state of the art laboratory facilities’ 

Research facilities

The development of the John Oldacre Rural Innovation Centre (JORIC) at Harnhill, opened by the RAU's President, HRH The Prince of Wales in Nov 2013, is a research and knowledge exchange facility that allows staff and students to utilise a wide range of animal and crop systems and laboratories to develop and test ideas. The JORIC is close to the exciting new Farm491 incubation units where agribusinesses can interact with staff and facilities to develop products and systems that have a real impact on agribusinesses.

Fossehill Farm is the RAUs equine facility and includes a 60 x 40 m all-weather Martin Collins arena, a 1 km chipped bark gallop, horse walker and an American barn stabling block with 24-hour observation equipment. All of this enables our work on equine nutrition, behaviour, gait analyses and standard exercise regimes to be done. We work closely with the equine industry and are continually investigating how new products and management systems affect the physiology, health and welfare of the horse.

Laboratories on the main campus facilitate nutritional and hygienic assessment of feed, DNA extraction, microbiology culturing, and histology.