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We are ranked joint 11th globally and 1st among UK institutions for Agriculture & Forestry (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2022), and 95% of our research is of international standing (REF 2021).

The outstanding quality of our research is internationally recognised, making Reading one of the most highly regarded food and nutrition institutions in the world.

As part of my PhD, I have been able to get involved in teaching and demonstrating as well as mentoring undergraduate and master's students, which I have found very rewarding.

Ruth Barnes

PhD student

Flexible PhD programmes

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit your needs. Our PhD programmes are available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. We also offer distance learning for those students who live outside the UK.

Learn more about the different ways to study

PhD community

Join our vibrant PhD community and break new ground in food and nutritional sciences.

The Department has enjoyed pass rates of 97 to 100% since 1998. Students are mentored by and work with recognised world leaders in the field to tackle issues underpinning the quality, safety, and healthfulness of food and our diet.

Global outlook

Our students and researchers come from across the globe. Many return  to enhance their country's food security or nutritional health status after their studies.

You could enter a variety of areas within the food industry, including food consultancy and safety agencies, government, food departments, consumer organisations and academic research.

PhD students have led me into new areas. They're the people that are doing the research. They're actually on the ground carrying it out.

Professor Jeremy Spencer

Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry and Medicine

PhD programmes in food and nutritional sciences

We offer PhD programmes in the following areas:

  • food and nutritional sciences
  • food, nutrition and health
  • gut immunity.

Our programmes offer the opportunity to carry out multidisciplinary research that seeks to answer wide-ranging questions, from understanding the factors that influence food flavour development to the gene-specific impact of personalised nutrition on health.

Interested in the science of flavour?

Giract is offering an exciting Flavor Research Programme for students in the first or final year of their flavour-related PhD. Giract is a Swiss-based company specialising in research and consultancy focusing on additives and food ingredients.

Learn more about the Giract Flavor Research Programme

It was a real eye-opener; there's so much going on behind the scenes in many companies and flavour industries that most people never get to hear about. 

Dr Luke Bell

Winner of Best PhD Thesis in Flavour at Giract and University of Reading Lecturer


Our research

Reading has a long-standing reputation for the quality of its research in food science. 95% of our research is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences).

Our facilities

We have a large range of specialist food teaching facilities, including a pilot plant, our Flavour Centre, and the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition. 

Meet the team

Our expert staff engage in research that tackles key global challenges. They tailor their teaching to reflect the latest trends and technologies. 

Athena SWAN Silver Award