MSc / Postgraduate Diploma / Postgraduate Certificate

Equine Science

Typical offer: 2:1 honours degree (2:2 applicants considered individually)

Duration: 1-3 years; full-time and part-time options

Awarding body: Hartpury University

Apply for this course here:


Course overview

Apply theory to practice on a campus equipped with world-class equestrian facilities, including competition arenas, equine therapy and rider performance centres, as well as over 200 horses and riders of all levels.

This MSc Equine Science degree provides the ideal opportunity for you to advance your existing expertise within the field of applied equestrian science.

You’ll build on previous knowledge and skills, studying a diverse range of industry-informed modules that have been designed to give you specialist understanding of the interaction of science with real-world equine practice.

Key to the course is developing your understanding of new technology in the field, with opportunities to utilise our state-of-the-art equipment, including thermography, gait analysis and electromyography. Data collection and measurement through your modules and thesis will enable you to uncover new knowledge in line with your own interests and industry needs.

You’ll be encouraged to attend and present at industry conferences to develop your academic and industry networks, including at our own annual Alltech-Hartpury Student Research Conference.

Apply now Contact us: +44 (0)1452 702244

What you'll study

What you'll study

MSc degree

The full master’s degree covers a core range of applied biological science-based topics. Subject areas include pathologies that impact performance management, research-informed practice within clinical rehabilitation, and the impact of management on equine cognition and behaviour.

Whilst the majority of the course is composed of compulsory modules, which will support you to develop core foundations of equestrian science, many allow you to tailor your projects to your specific areas of interest or career goals.

The dissertation exemplifies this, as you're able to design, undertake and report on an independent piece of research, in line with your interests or goals, with support from specialist staff.

Regardless of your choice of modules, the course will increase your understanding of the way science can maximise performance, extend career length or aid performance horse selection, with a core goal being to optimise the horse’s welfare.

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma

These qualifications form part of and are at the same level as the full master’s degree. They provide the ideal opportunity for you to develop your professional expertise via shorter part-time qualifications to fit around commitments, whilst allowing flexibility to progress each qualification through to the next level including the full master’s degree.

Postgraduate Certificate

The Postgraduate Certificate includes a range of optional modules, selected to your interests and career goals. It equates to approximately one-third of the master’s degree.

Postgraduate Diploma

The Postgraduate Certificate includes optional modules around a range of applied topics. It equates to approximately two-thirds of the master’s degree.  


Below you’ll find the compulsory and optional module indicators for the full MSc degree.

Students on the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma courses will be able to select from both compulsory and optional modules in line with interests and career goals.

Compulsory modules

Undertake analysis of the physical demands and exercise testing for various equestrian disciplines.

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

Critically evaluate the role of horses in modern society and the ethical considerations of their use and management.

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

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

Develop and implement a research project of your choosing. You’ll be allocated an individual supervisor to guide and support you to undertake this innovative independent piece of research.

Optional modules

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

Recent modules have independent evaluation of literature to create an evidence-based debate of a selected topic, and analysis of human anatomy and physiology in the context of rider performance across disciplines and levels.

Please visit our document library for more module information.

Further module information

How you'll study

How you'll study

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.

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.

Your learning experiences

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

Further details

One year, full-time

You can study each of these qualifications full-time and subsequently complete each 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.

The full MSc course is made up of three semesters and the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma courses consist of two. The MSc includes compulsory and optional modules, while the certificate and diploma include optional modules only.

The course is taught in English.

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 qualification differential award (pass, merit or distinction).

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.

Contact learningPlacement learningIndependent learning
MSc degree15%0%85%
Postgraduate Diploma21%0%79%
Postgraduate Certificate20%0%80%

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

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 examPractical examCoursework
MSc degree17%26%57%
Postgraduate Diploma25%26%49%
Postgraduate Certificate25%25%50%

Semesters normally consisting of 12 weeks of scheduled teaching and then assessment weeks, with an overview below:

  • 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


Your career

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

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 the opportunity to get hands-on with clinical cases and to network with the range of allied professionals that involved in the rehabilitation and management of the horses, including veterinarians, farriers, nutritionists and more.

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 below.

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 places such as 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 extend your learning and professional networks, recently including physical therapists, veterinary surgeons, research scientists in reproductive immunology, artificial Insemination technicians and performance coaches.

Graduate destinations

Whether you have already defined your career goals or you’re keen to explore your options, these programmes provide opportunities 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 have included:

  • Animal Health Technician, Equine Hospital
  • Research Ethics Officer, University Hospital
  • Nutritional Advisor, Saracen Horse Feeds
  • Marketing Executive, Animal feed manufacturer
  • University lecturer
  • Equine Events Coordinator, Hartpury Equestrian


Dark bay horse on high-speed treadmill in Hartpury's Equine Therapy Centre

World-class facilities

You’ll have access to a diverse range of facilities while you’re here, many of which are newly built and world-class. Alongside lectures halls and workshop spaces, these include:

Equine Therapy Centre

Our campus Equine Therapy Centre is among the best in the UK, being a highly reputable and well-established referral centre for over two decades. Alongside being a successful business, treating a diverse range of horses, from Olympic athletes to companion ponies, it’s a place of learning for our students, embedded into both teaching and research activities.

You’ll have the opportunity to experience first-hand the techniques used on clinical cases as part of professional networks and, where relevant, be able to utilise the centre for your postgraduate research project.

The Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance

Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance

Our Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance is the most advanced of its kind at an academic institution in the world. It provides the perfect place for you to develop real-world expertise, providing access to world-leading equipment and industry experts. Facilities within the centre are incorporated into relevant modules within the programme and, where relevant, are available for use within your postgraduate research project.

Equine Centre

Comprising our commercial livery yard for 230 horses and modern equestrian facilities, our Equine Centre provides a diverse learning and research environment. Riders and horses at different performance levels, alongside diversity of stabling types, offer students extensive opportunities to enhance their learning and practice. Projects recently undertaken utilising Equine Centre resources have uncovered new knowledge in nocturnal behaviour, workload modelling, dietary supplement efficacy and performance parameter assessments, to name only a few.


Our laboratories are modern and well­-equipped, providing the ideal spaces for scientific activities and research. Some are used for specialist microbiological culturing and analysis, others for biochemistry and dissections.

Study spaces

Our University Learning Centre has journals, ebooks, computers and break-out study spaces, as well as our Study Zone – an informal space with sports equipment, study booths and chill-out spaces to support both studying and relaxation. Postgraduate students also have a specially designated study area with 24-hour access that's only open to postgraduate students at Hartpury.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


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 sufficient 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:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

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.

Below you'll find extra costs associated with studying this course, as well as costs associated with living and extra-curricular activities that might be of interest.

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.

Accommodation and living costs

Please visit our student accommodation page for details.


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.

"Finally finding this Hartpury degree brought me back to my passion."

Thalia Edwards, Equestrian Sports Therapist, MSc Equine Science graduate

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Get in touch

We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch. You can ask a specific question or simply pop your details in to be kept up-to-date with news and events.

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.

*Reflects activities after 15 months for those who graduated in 2019.