For more information about Agriculture at Newcastle University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
12 months

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study

Course starts
find out

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Agriculture at Newcastle University

MPhil and PhD supervision covers a number of research topics supported by research active academic staff. Our range of research areas relate to crop science, soil science, ecological (organic) agriculture, and agricultural water management.

Crop science

Genes and physiological traits, such as:

  • resistance to crop pests and diseases
  • molecular-assisted selection and breeding methods
  • plant environment interactions and their relationships to stress biology
  • physiological basis of crop yield and quality
  • biotransformation of synthetic compounds and natural products in plants
  • herbicide selectivity in cereals and competing weeds

Soil science

  • soil ecology and the contribution of soil biodiversity to soil quality
  • soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics
  • interpretation of soil and landscape processes to improve understanding of recent and historical environmental change
  • land degradation processes and their control

Ecological (organic) agriculture

  • functional biodiversity for control of pest, disease and weed pressure
  • long term factorial systems comparison experiments for in depth study of different aspects of conventional and organic farming systems

Agricultural water management

  • irrigated agriculture
  • interactions between land-use and hydrological response in a semi-arid environment
  • soil hydrological processes affecting management of salinity in irrigated land


We offer a number of different routes to a research degree qualification, including full-time and part-time supervised research projects. We attract postgraduates via non-traditional routes, including mature students and part-time postgraduates undertaking study as part of their continuing professional development. Off-campus (split) research is also offered, which enables you to conduct trials in conditions appropriate to your research programme.


Farms: Our multi-purpose farms provide demonstration facilities for teaching purposes, land-based research facilities (especially in the area of organic production) and they are viable farming businesses.

Cockle Park Farm is a 262ha mixed farm facility that includes the Palace Leas Plots hay meadow experiment and an anaerobic digestion plant that will generate heat, electricity and digestate - an organic fertiliser - from pig and cattle manure.

Nafferton Farm is a 300ha farm with two main farm units covering conventional and organic farming systems. The two systems are primarily focussed upon dairying and arable cropping. Both also operate beef production enterprises as a by-product of their dairy enterprises, although the organic system is unique in maintaining a small-scale potato and vegetable production enterprise.

Laboratories: Our modern laboratories provide important teaching and research environments and are equipped with analytical equipment such as HPLCs, GCs, CNS analyser, centrifuges, spectrophotometers and molecular biology equipment. Our specialist research facilities include:

  • tissue culture laboratory
  • plant growth rooms
  • class II laboratory for safe handling of human biological samples
  • taste panel facilities and test kitchen
  • thin section facility for soils analysis

We operate closely with other schools, institutes and the University's Central Scientific Facilities for access to more specialist analytical services. For work with human subjects we use a purpose built Clinical Research Facility which is situated in the Royal Victoria Infirmary teaching hospital and is managed jointly by us and the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

    Training & Skills

    As a research student you will receive a tailored package of academic and support elements to ensure you maximise your research and future career. The academic information is in the programme profile and you will be supported by our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme, doctoral training centres and Research Student Support Team.

    Researcher Development Programme

    Our Science, Agriculture and Engineering Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme aims to help you develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during your research degree.

    Our programme will help you to:

    • complete a training needs analysis, so that you know what your current skills are and where you need help and development
    • use your training needs analysis to create your personal development plan
    • identify appropriate workshops or other events that will help you most and best address your development needs
    • gain the personal and professional key skills development for the successful completion of your research degree

    Postgraduate Research Student Support:

    Our award winning Research Student Support Team is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. The team can help and advise you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.

    How to Apply:

    You should get in touch about our research degrees before you apply. Use our Applicant Portal to apply for your course. We have a step-by-step guide to help you.

    You can apply for funded and non-funded PhD opportunities in the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.


    You'll be invited for an interview as part of the application process. The supervisor will arrange this with you.

    Start dates:

    The course starts in September, but we consider January and April start dates on an individual basis. 

    There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.

    We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.


    If you live outside the UK/EU you must:

    • pay a deposit of £1,500
    • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

    The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.

    Study options for this course

    • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
    • The awardMPhilHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
      Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
    • The awardPhDHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study36 months
      Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
    • The awardMPhilHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
      Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
    • The awardPhDHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study72 months
      Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

    Notes about fees for this course

    See our course-specific Fees and Funding page.

    Entry requirements

    A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

    We usually expect research experience and/or a postgraduate qualification, such as a MRes or MSc, for PhD study. Please contact us if you are in any doubt.

    International Students

    To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

    Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

    If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

    Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

    The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

    Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

    • 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
    • 10 week Pre-sessional entry:  IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)

    You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

    You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.

      Join Our Newsletter


      Sign up to today for free and be the first to hear about any new study abroad opportunities

      Subscribe Now