PhD Programmes

Postgraduate Research at the University of Reading


As a postgraduate research student in the School of Agriculture, Policy, and Development at Reading, you will be part of a large and vibrant community. You will work alongside a thriving group of postdoctoral researchers who recently completed their PhDs.


The School of Agriculture, Policy, and Development has a long and established track record of research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits.

We have an active community of over 100 PhD students. Our vibrant and dynamic community of postgraduate research students is an important and integral part of the School which is currently home to over 40 nationalities, represented amongst our students and staff.

Our postgraduate research students are supervised by internationally recognised researchers, many of whom have extensive experience of working or living overseas. Students also have many opportunities to interact and learn with and from other students both through academic study and social events.

Friendly and experienced staff advise and assist our students throughout their time at Reading. Students are provided with dedicated offices and have access to both a cafeteria and senior common room space within the School.

World-leading research

Our School is internationally recognised for its research excellence - ranked 10th in the 2017 QS World University rankings for Agriculture & Forestry. Within the school, GIIDAE trains a cohort of around 100 Masters students each year and provides graduate level modules for our PhD students.

We also have close links with Agrimetrics: the first Centre for Agricultural Innovation; the Walker Institute, which brings together a number of internationally renowned climate system research groups and centres with expertise across a wide range of core disciplines central to climate system science; and IFSTAL, an interactive training programme designed to improve post-graduate level knowledge and understanding of the food system.

In addition, we have active collaborations with several other schools within the University, for example SAGES, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science; and SOILS, the Soil Research Centre at Reading. 

Current PhD opportunities

We are always pleased to discuss initial research ideas with those considering a PhD or MPhil. We are particularly interested to hear from postgraduate students wishing to pursue research in the following broad areas:


We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 4-6 years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for flexible-study in Reading or at a distance.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. Students also attend research seminars hosted by the school, often featuring internationally renowned speakers.


In the first two years of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate courses, which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Skills Development Programme run by the Faculty of Science and Life Sciences and through the Graduate School in the Social Sciences.

The Graduate School

All postgraduate research students automatically become members of the University-wide Graduate School. The Graduate School provides training, professional development, study space, advice and administrative support in a dedicated building for the postgraduate research community at Reading.


Following graduation, our past students have pursued careers in academia as postdoctoral researchers, but also quickly find employment in business, government, and industry, with many of them publishing their PhD research.

Centre website


Research in the department is organised into several research groups, which overlap and interact significantly:


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