Mres Equestrian Science

Equestrian Science


This unique Master of Research (MRes) degree is a specialised master’s degree that provides the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the core principles of research as well as the ability to undertake research in the equestrian science subject area.

Key Information

Course Duration: 1 year full-time; part-time options available
Part or Full Time: Full Time / Part Time
Level of Study: Master's and PhDs
Typical Offer: 2:1 honours degree (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Course information

You will expand your knowledge and understanding of current issues impacting equestrian science and will benefit from the use of a range of specialist research skills and methods, including data analysis, and will be able to apply these skills in practical environments. Throughout the programme you will use critical skills to solve complex problems, develop new ideas, and evaluate current processes and equestrian practices.

Our Equestrian Performance Research Arena is fast developing its reputation for world-leading research. Furthermore, you’ll benefit from world-class research facilities on campus, including our commercial equine and rider performance centres, training arenas, scientific laboratories, as well as our livery centre with over 230 horses and riders at different levels, from Olympic and Paralympic athletes to novice riders.

Delivery is flexible and often at weekends to fit around your work or other commitments.


2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Students with 2:2 and relevant experience will be considered on a case by case basis


Students with non-relevant qualifications but with significant work experience or professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.


In addition to the academic qualification an IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Please contact us for further information.

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Your career

Industry opportunities on this course are largely provided by our own businesses on campus (see facilities tab), as well as the networking facilitated through guest lecturers and field trips.

Field trips and guest lecturers

Field trips and industry professionals in lectures form an important part of your learning, enabling you to experience different businesses, careers and best practices.

Recent field trips have included visits to Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Tweenhills Farm and Stud, and Kingswood Stud, home of the Kurtsystem. The trips facilitate both industry networking and the opportunity to experience the application of science in practice with those using it on a daily basis.

Guest lecturers are selected to enhance your learning and extend your professional networks, with recent guest lecturers including physical therapists, veterinary surgeons, research scientists in reproductive immunology, artificial Insemination technicians and performance coaches.

On-campus opportunities

Our commercial equine therapy and performance centres offer opportunities for students to gain industry experience to support their careers.

With teams made up of expert personnel alongside volunteers, you could have opportunities to get hands-on with clinical cases and to network with the range of allied professionals involved in the rehabilitation and management of the horses, including veterinarians, farriers and nutritionists.

Furthermore, opportunities exist to gain valuable industry experience by volunteering at the national and international level events hosted by our Equine Centre. These include the Five Star Hartpury Horse Trials and the Hartpury International Festival of Dressage.

Find out more about our commercial equine activities.

Graduate destinations

Whether you have already defined your career goals or you’re keen to explore your options, these programmes provide opportunities for you to develop both the specialist and transferable skills needed for a range of graduate careers.

Our teaching staff, professionals on campus and careers team are available to provide expert advice and guidance, as required. Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Competition Administrator, British Horse Society
  • Assistant Therapy Centre Manager
  • Agricultural Recruitment Consultant
  • ‎UK representative, Digatherm Thermography
  • University lecturer
  • Assistant racehorse trainer
  • PhD study
Success Stories

We're committed to supporting you to fulfil your unique potential while you're here so that you can achieve your personal and professional goals.


One year, full-time

You can study this qualification full-time and subsequently complete it within one year.

Two-three years, part-time

Alternatively, we offer flexible part-time options to help students to manage their studies alongside other commitments. These options can be tailored to suit your own needs, enabling you to complete your qualification in two or three years. Please enquire for further details.

Your support network

You'll benefit from a strong support network from day one. This will range from your lecturers, supervisors and personal tutor to our specialist academic (Achievement and Success Centre), employability (Innovation, Careers and Enterprise) and wellbeing teams.

Teams run regular workshops, alongside offering one-to-one sessions, which can be attended on campus or virtually. Alongside this, you'll find a comprehensive bank of online study skills resources to help you make the most of your qualification.

Your learning experiences

You'll experience a range of teaching methods to strengthen your understanding of topics, including lectures, workshops and practical sessions.

Qualifications and modules

This degree is centred around developing you as a researcher. As such, the programme involves you undertaking project modules where you will be encouraged to undertake an innovative research designed to progress your own as well as industry expertise.

Scheduled teaching generally takes place in blocks across weekends and the compulsory modules will advance your skills in critically evaluating current research and develop your abilities in research design and statistical analysis.

You’ll be allocated a supervisory team to guide and support you through any project-based modules within your studies. Our academic team has extensive subject expertise, and the one-to-one support will support you to develop academically rigorous and industry-relevant research.

Alongside compulsory research skills modules, you’ll choose two optional modules from our diverse range of postgraduate equine modules to complement your area of subject interest.

You’ll also be encouraged to attend industry conferences, with opportunities to present research in key areas – this provides a great foundation for you to develop your knowledge and reputation, as well as expand your industry networks.

Explore the compulsory modules for this course. You’ll also be able to choose two modules from the diverse range of optional modules listed to complement your specific area of interest and career goals.

Optional modules change each year in line with student, industry and research demands.

Module credits

Upon successful completion of your modules you’ll gain academic credit that accumulates towards your award. The marks you gain may contribute towards your final master’s degree differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

Extended Postgraduate Research Project

Develop and undertake a detailed and independent research project on a topic of your choosing, related to your Master of Research degree.

The Research Process

Discuss research methodologies and applications, as well as strengths, weaknesses and limitations of different methods.

Investigating Equestrian Research

Gain exposure to, and analysis of, research across a wide range of topics within the field of equine science including seminar and conference attendance.

Applied Research Practice

Gain experience of exploring literature, understanding and utilising research methodologies, and data analysis aligned to your specific area of interest. This process will lead to the design, completion and write up of a preliminary research project where dissemination of research outputs will also be covered to develop scientific communications skills.

Advances in Equestrian Biomechanics (15 credits)

The application and assessment of biomechanical principles to equestrian athletic performance.

Applied Equine Exercise Physiology (15 credits)

This module allows students to explore the fundamentals of equine exercise physiology in the context of different equestrian disciplines and their application to training.

Developing a Sustainable Equine Industry (15 credits)

This module aims to provide students with the knowledge and analytical skills to critically examine the ethics and the sustainability of practices within the global equine industry in relation to a variety of stakeholders.

Equine Behaviour (15 credits)

This module introduces you to natural and domestic behavioural patterns of the horse, covering, amongst other topics, learning theory in relation to training and management.

Equine Management for Optimal Performance and Welfare (15 credits)

This module aims to provide students with the knowledge and evaluative skills to debate the ethics and practicalities surrounding management of the horse within a range of societal pressures and the wider social responsibilities of the industry.

Postgraduate Independent Study (15 credits)

You will undertake an extended literature review in an area of your choice, supported by an academic supervisor.

Rider Performance (15 credits)

Explore the physiological and biomechanical demands of the rider across difference disciplines and how the rider adapts and modifies to harmonise with the horse.

Therapy and Rehabilitation of the Equine Athlete (15 credits)

Evaluate the practical techniques used within therapeutic care of the sports horse.

This course is made up of three semesters, within which you’ll study a mix of compulsory and optional modules. Within your final semester you'll submit the postgraduate research project that you have been developing within your chosen area of interest.

The modules contain a mixture of scheduled learning – lectures, workshops and practical sessions – alongside independent learning. Students are expected to dedicate at least two to three hours of independent study per contact hour. The following breakdowns may vary, depending on module choices.

The course is taught in English.

  Contact learning Placement learning Independent learning
MRes degree 9% 0% 91%
Teaching contact time

Teaching contact time and method will vary depending on the module that you are studying.

Meetings and tutorials with your dissertation supervisor can take place either face-to-face on campus, by phone or online.

You’ll be assessed through a mixture of written exams, oral exams and presentations, and written assessments. Many of the modules will be marked based on a mixture of assessment types, whilst others will be based solely on one type of assessment.

Feedback will be provided to you throughout the course both formatively, with staff feeding back on draft work or in subject discussions, or summatively, provided by the staff commentary accompanying marked assessments. The following breakdowns may vary, depending on module choices.

  Written exam Practical exam Coursework
MRes degree 8% 18% 74%

The full-time master’s programme is delivered over three 12-week semesters, normally consisting of four of five scheduled teaching blocks and assessment weeks, delivered at set times, depending on your module selection. Part-time options vary - please enquire.

  • Scheduled teaching generally takes place across block weekends (Friday – Sunday)
  • Delivery on the teaching weekends is normally scheduled between 9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Part-time students typically study for fewer block weekends across an academic year
  • Attendance dates and timetables are available before enrolment to support the arrangement of annual leave where required
View term dates

Please visit our student finance page for information on tuition fees and student loans, as well as non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships, eligible to different groups, to support with study costs.

Studentship scheme

Our Postgraduate Studentship Scheme provides a fantastic development opportunity, enabling you to complement your postgraduate study with important real-world research within a paid position at Hartpury.

Clothing and footwear (circa £100)

A number of modules require clothing and footwear suitable to wear on the yard, eg. long trousers and boots.

Hartpury University branded clothing is also available through our online shop, for those who wish to purchase it. However, this is not essential.

Optional field trips 

Field trips are generally included in the course fees.  However, extra costs may be required for specific optional trips.


We have stabling for 230 horses on campus. If you're interested in having your horse at Hartpury on DIY livery while you study, please visit our livery page for details and costs.

Equine Academy

If you have the talent and drive to develop your skills as an equestrian athlete alongside your studies, you may be eligible to join our Equine Academy. For further details including costs, please visit our Equine Academy page.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.

For further details about this course, including the programme specification and module descriptions, please visit our document library.

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Book an appointment

Discuss this course with an Academic Programme Manager

Prospective students can book an online appointment with one of our programme managers to discuss our courses and options for postgraduate study at Hartpury University. 

Fees & Funding

It's a good idea to think about fees and funding around your course as early as you can. We can help you to understand and take control of your finances. Here’s everything you need to know at a glance.

Postgraduate Fees Funding Hartpuy University (1)


Our specialist facilities match our specialist nature. Students benefit from access to some of the most advanced facilities in the world at an educational institution.


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Find out more about our courses, professional learning environments and commercial industry connections. Learn about our world-class facilities and speak with our academic teams about how our qualifications could help to change or progress your career.

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Top 20

We're a top 20 UK university for postgraduate teaching, engagement, assessment, organisation and support (PTES 2023).

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World leading

Our research has been recognised as 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent' (Research Excellence Framework 2021).

Open up new opportunities

By studying a postgraduate qualification, you’ll deepen your expertise as part of a curious and likeminded learning community.

Megan had been overlooked for a job, with employers citing qualifications. That changed after she studied a master's at Hartpury. Find out how it gives you an edge. 

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Get in touch

Whether you're looking for more details with regards to a specific course, or information on your own academic options or life at Hartpury, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Admissions team. 

Important information

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are reviewed and developed regularly. Changes or cancellation of courses may be necessary to ensure alignment with emerging employment areas, to comply with accrediting body requirements, revisions to subject benchmark statements or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make necessary changes and will notify all offer-holders of changes as and when they occur.