Postgraduate research degree


Typical offer: Master's degree

Duration: 3 years full time; part time options available

Awarding body: University of the West of England (Hartpury)

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Course overview

Research degrees offer a challenging and exciting opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research that makes a difference to industry practice, finds solutions to real-world challenges and helps improve the lives of people and animals. Hartpury offers a rich, dynamic and supportive environment to pursue research.

PhD's can be studied on a full or part-time basis; full-time programmes are normally 3 years in length with part-time programmes 4 to 6 years long.

PhD study is usually self-funded and doctoral loans are available, subject to eligibility, to support your study. We offer limited funded full-time PhD studentships in our priority research areas annually.

Your PhD

As a research student, you’ll become part of our active postgraduate and research communities. You'll generate research that creates evidence-informed practice and drives change across sport and exercise science, equestrian sports and promotes positive animal and equine health and welfare, as well as increasing our knowledge of human-animal interaction and developing new technological approaches to agriculture and digital farming.

You’ll design and complete an independent research project supported by our experienced researchers who make up your supervisory team. You'll also have access to our extensive postgraduate research student support workshops and up to 120 credits of taught Masters modules at no additional fee, providing you with the opportunity to develop your research skills and subject expertise whilst making a difference in an area that matters to you.

We welcome applications from students wanting to develop their own research ideas linked to our Research Centres: Animal and Agriculture, Equestrian Performance and Sport and Exercise.

High-quality research environment

Throughout your doctoral study, you’ll be supported by our specialist academics and established researchers who are also leading coaches, trainers, scientists, behaviourists, nutritionists, veterinary professionals, psychologists and more.

You’ll also have access to our world-leading facilities and specialist populations to support your research. You'll have the opportunity to network and build exciting industry and academic partnerships by attending and presenting your work at industry events and conferences at national and global levels.

Apply now Funded PhD studentship opportunities


World-class facilities

As a postgraduate research student, you'll benefit from access to a campus that’s received over £50 million investment in the last 10 years, boasting some of the most advanced technology in the world at an educational institution.

Take the virtual tour to explore our campus.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

For a supervised PhD, we normally expect that applicants will hold at least a 2:1 or a Masters qualification from a UK university or a degree of comparable standing from a university outside the UK. We also require a recognised English language qualification prior to making an unconditional offer.

For international applicants an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, or equivalent qualification, is required. If you require a Student Visa to undertake your research degree, you must apply for an academic place at least three months in advance of your proposed start date so you can obtain an offer in time to apply for your visa.

Your application

We accept PhD students at three points during the year: 1st October, 1st January and 1st April. You should submit your application a minimum of three months before your targeted entry date. We strongly encourage you to discuss your proposed programme of research with either an academic staff member or the relevant Research Centre Lead, prior to submitting an application. If you're unsure who to approach, you can explore our staff and their research interests on Hartpury’s PURE repository.

Your application should contain the following:

  • Completed application form including an outline of your proposed programme of study: title, research aims and objectives, brief rationale outlining why your project is required and a summary of the studies planned to complete your project. You should also identify any resource requirements which the project will require and identify the potential academic and/or industry impact of your project.
  • An example of critical writing: this could be a published paper you've been involved with, a previous piece of academic work or if returning to study, you may wish to write a short critical review of a topic related to your proposed programme of study.
  • Two referees to support your application.
  • Proof of qualifications: copies of transcripts of your qualifications.

Please note, applications which do not meet the minimum criteria will not be considered.

Visit PURE repository      Contact us

Fees and funding

Tuition fees and financial support

PhD study is usually self-funded and doctoral loans are available, subject to eligibility, to support your study. We offer limited funded full time PhD studentships in our priority research areas annually.

If you're a prospective UK doctoral student, and you normally live in England, you may be able to apply for a UK Government Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to support your PhD study at Hartpury. Loans are available up to £25,000, payable across the whole, or part, of your doctoral studies. Full details about the loan scheme, including details of loan payments and repayment, are available on the UK Government website.

We also offer a Research Bursary to support doctoral study. Students can apply for funding for up to £1000 full-time or £500 part-time per annum to fund costs directly associated with their research, e.g. laboratory consumables, specialist data analysis techniques or conference attendance to disseminate their research.

View funded studentships   View postgraduate bursaries

Performance Sports Academies

Find out costs and details for joining one of our Sports Academies.

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Find out costs and details for joining the Hartpury gym.

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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.

Livery options

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.

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Research centres

You’ll benefit from a campus that’s received over £50million of investment in recent years, with access to high quality equipment, some that’s the most advanced facilities in the world at an educational institution.

New technologies are regularly updated in line with industry advancements to ensure our students develop their skills and projects in line with best practice.

Home to nine specialist businesses for real-world application, Hartpury provides the ideal professional learning environment for you to absorb yourself in PhD study in the real world.

View our research centres

Global expertise

We attract a strong network of academic professionals from across the globe. Many of whom are also leading coaches, trainers, scientists, behaviourists, nutritionists, veterinary professionals, psychologists and more.

Discover more about specific research staff on our PURE research management hub.

Visit PURE Research Management hub

MRes degrees

Not sure if a PhD is right for you? Why not explore a masters in research instead – a shorter qualification that‘s regarded highly by professionals and can help to prepare you for PhD study later on.

You’ll be supported to design and deliver your own unique research project whilst developing new theoretical and practical expertise to help progress your career.

MSc degrees

Developed in partnership with employers, these degrees allow you to immerse yourself in a subject you're passionate about through a range of modules and a dissertation.

Our qualifications have been designed to fit around employment and other commitments, offering part-time and full-time options, as well as block, weekend and evening delivery.

View our MRes degreesAbout our MSc degrees

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.