The School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University offers opportunities to study for an MPhil or PhD by research.

Research within the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences specialises in the fields of:

  • Environmental Management
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Food and Agriculture.

In addition the School is developing research that will support its Rural Knowledge and Enterprise initiative, including horticulture, sustainable waste management and food technology.

The campus has its own laboratories, IT and library suites as well as an animal care unit, equestrian centre and modern glasshouses. Students based at Brackenhurst also have access to facilities at the University's Clifton campus and City site.

Undertaking an MPhil or PhD

Nottingham Trent University offers opportunities to study for an MPhil or PhD by research in all its academic schools. Supervision is available by full-time or part-time study, and can sometimes be provided by distance learning.

Supporting your studies

Carrying out research for a PhD, MPhil or ProfD requires different skills from undergraduate or taught postgraduate study. You will mostly work on your own research project, but we also emphasise the importance of regular meetings with your supervisory team.

The team consists of a director of studies (who will usually have expertise in your subject area) and at least one other supervisor selected for their complementary expertise such as relevant research methods.

The Doctoral School Team will support you from your initial enquiry, through the application process and the various stages of your degree, until your viva voce examination and subsequent graduation. Once you begin your studies, you will have induction sessions to introduce you to the University, help you settle in and meet other researchers.

Researcher training

In addition to studying for a research degree, students undertaking traditional route PhDs will participate in researcher training. This combines general research training with specific topics associated with your discipline. The training focuses on the requirements of external research funding bodies and government requirements.

We also provide a structured programme of transferable skills training and career development. This is informed by the work of Vitae, the national organisation which support researchers throughout their careers.

What you'll study

What you study

Research in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences is grounded in the following academic disciplines:

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Sedimentary Environments
  • Sustainable Environments.

Support and supervision

During your research you will be supported by a dedicated supervision team with specialist knowledge in your field of activity. You will also have full access to student support centres, financial advice, careers advice, disability support, counselling and an accommodation service.

Current research topics and supervisors

These include:

  • optimisation of bioethanol by-products for poultry feed and poultry nutrition.
  • behavioural ecology and investigations into declining farmland bird populations.
  • carnivore conservation and impacts of human modified habitats on species ecology.
  • reservoir sedimentation, surface water quality, hydrology of peat areas, fluvial geomorphology and moorland erosion.
  • ice-marginal processes, moraine sedimentology, geomorphology and structural characteristics.
  • individual behavioural variation in a variety of species and the application of behavioural variation to conservation.
  • equine perception and cognition and equine welfare.

Careers and employability

Doctorate students from the School of Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences have typically found furthered their careers at other Academic Institutions or government agencies such as Natural England.

Your career development

Nottingham Trent University prides itself on the real-world relevance of its courses, and places particular emphasis on helping students to develop the academic and practical know-how that encourages initiative, innovation and academic excellence.

All our research degrees incorporate a programme of supporting studies designed to develop knowledge and skills of all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This will ensure that you have the necessary expertise to successfully complete your doctoral programme and lay sound foundations for your future career.

Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks will cultivate contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful research practice. These abilities are also transferable to a wide range of other careers. Researchers are also invited to take part in our own Research Conferences giving you the opportunity to present your work and discuss with other researchers at NTU.

There are some opportunities for research students to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or supervising laboratory work, and students may take part in the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme.

Although formal placements are not a requirement of PhDs, the University has strong links with professionals in business and industry.

There are opportunities to participate in ERASMUS overseas exchanges in some subject areas. The University has links with many other institutions such as:

  • Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • l'Université d'Angers
  • Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona).

How to apply

Entry requirements

You will need:

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD/MPhil should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

English language requirements: IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0).

Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. Applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement will normally be asked to complete an English Language course.

Application process

To apply for a PhD / MPhil please submit a research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) which addresses the following points:

  • Provisional title
  • The topic or area to be investigated (the subject or field that you are going to investigate)
  • The problem or hypothesis to be tested (the research questions or problem you want to address, the research objectives)
  • The relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field (how your project relates to other work)
  • An indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make (what you hope to find out)
  • The methods and techniques to be used in the research (how you propose to go about the research)
  • A provisional timetable for the project, indicating anticipated activities
  • Details of your previous work in the proposed field, or relationship to prior experience or study
  • Bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal.

How to apply

Click apply to download the application form and guidance notes.

All applications should be emailed to the Doctoral School.

As you're applying for a Research degree, you may also like to have a look around our Research pages. This may help you to spot academic staff, research areas or projects that interest you.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding


See our fees and funding page for details.


Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service. Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494


See our fees and funding page for details.


We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418