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PhD Programmes – University of Reading

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  • Join a large and vibrant PhD community

    Explore our PhD programmes

PhD Programmes

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.

In addition to our established academic staff, you will work alongside a thriving group of postdoctoral researchers who recently completed their PhDs as you pursue your own research.


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.

Our friendly and dynamic community of more than 100 postgraduate research students is an important and integral part of the School, and we are proud to have more than 40 nationalities represented among 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 study spaces and have access to both a cafeteria and staff common room space within the School.

World-leading research

Our School is internationally recognised for its research excellence and ranked 12th in the 2021 QS World University rankings for Agriculture and Forestry.

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
  • IFSTAL, an interactive training programme designed to improve postgraduate level knowledge and understanding of the food system.
  • Rothamsted Research, with whom we have a number of research projects and a number of joining PhD opportunities via the Rothamsted Research-Reading Alliance

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

What we offer

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Over the course of your doctoral research you will also have 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 supervisors 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, to ensure that you are fully prepared for the rigors of a PhD.


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. Visit the Graduate School website for more information.

Academic departments

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

Post-Graduate Research Association

The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development has a student body called The Post-Graduate Research Association (PGRA) that is dedicated to supporting our PhD students during their studies with us.

Further information

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