Postgraduate study

Agriculture and Food Security PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Agriculture and Food Security

Our mission is to provide world-leading research and training in support of global food and environmental security, sustainable rural development, and animal and human wellbeing. Improving the effectiveness and sustainability of agri-food systems is vital to tackling the challenges of global population growth, rapid urbanisation, food and environmental security, and diet and health.

These challenges occur in low and middle income countries, as well as industrialised nations. Achieving sustainable, healthy diets underpins many of the Sustainable Development Goals – especially those concerned with hunger, poverty, health, gender equality, responsible consumption and production, and climate action.

We welcome applicants whose research interests are aligned to address one or more of these challenges, and that holds the potential to develop and translate scientific advances into policy and practice.

The University of Edinburgh, with Scotland’s Rural College, ranked first in the UK for Research Power in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science in the last Research Excellence Framework, REF2014 (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions). The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security builds on this strength in research excellence, and graduate student research has a central role in achieving this.

Our Global Academy encompasses research addressing global food and environmental security, sustainable rural development, and animal and human wellbeing. Our current specific expertise spans human, livestock, crop and soil nutrition and health; environmental and agri-food systems; crop and livestock production systems; climate smart agriculture; agricultural and natural resource economics; development; data science and mathematical modelling; the science-policy interface; food and land rights and law.

Most of our research is multidisciplinary in its approach, and we collaborate with other Schools and groups across the University of Edinburgh, and with a wide range of national and international partners.

Study is by supervised research. Individual students are integrated within their supervisor’s group and school, and participate fully in activities such as journal clubs, group meetings and seminar programmes. You will be expected to complete a piece of original research, directed towards solving important, novel and open questions.

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security offers a high quality interdisciplinary research and training environment, with a global perspective, underpinned by first class facilities and research excellence. Our graduate students play a central role in this vibrant and collaborative community.

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security provides a vibrant community and forum for development of ideas, collaboration, and dissemination of results, and an environment for training, development and mentoring of research students and early-career researchers.

Research projects are usually co-designed by students and supervisors, and guidance throughout the PhD is also offered by the student’s thesis committee. Training needs are identified by the thesis committee and will be both generic skills based and project specific. There will be the opportunity, where appropriate, to attend Global Academy undergraduate degree programmes lectures and to make use of online learning materials.

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security has access to an impressive range of facilities and services across the University and is involved with a number of collaborative centres of research excellence locally, nationally and internationally. We are exceptionally well-equipped with the latest technologies to enable our researchers to stay at the forefront of their fields.

A wide range of career paths will be available to our graduates depending on area of research study, these include: researchers in academia or industry; policy advisors for government departments, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), charities or industry bodies; technical advisors; consultants; teachers; marketing; managers; economists.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in a related subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDAgriculture and Food Security3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDAgriculture and Food Security6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Roslin
  • Easter Bush
  • Midlothian
  • EH25 9RG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Roslin
  • Easter Bush
  • Midlothian
  • EH25 9RG