Typical Course Length
The aim of this Professional Doctorate programme is to produce a qualification which, whilst being equivalent in status and challenge to a PhD, is more appropriate for those pursuing professional rather than academic careers. Our DAg programme comprises taught modules and two work-based research projects, carried out through two-day workshops, distance learning and a mixture of live and virtual supervisory meetings. While the primary academic focus is on the completion of an advanced piece of research, the collaborative route provided by a work-based research project provides an ideal opportunity to embed new knowledge in the work place and ensure that research is relevant to industry. As such, it is crucial that a student’s employer is supportive of both their research aims and the time commitment that the proposed research will involve. Self-employed students should aim to undertake research which will be closely aligned to their business.
Five to seven years to complete. 14 weeks for one module by distance learning. Three intakes per year (January, May, September).
Part I of the doctoral route comprises three taught modules (including Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences) followed by a 120 credit dissertation (20,000 words). This part will typically take 2-3 years. Part II is undertaken for a minimum of three years and comprises a longer thesis (up to 60,000 words). It will involve experimentation and must embody the methodology and results of original research. It should, ideally, build upon the Part I dissertation.
We have designed our training to be as accessible as possible, particularly for those in full time employment. Each taught module comprises a 12 or 14 week distance learning module worth 20 credits which can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest; or built towards a postgraduate qualification. The research elements of our qualifications are carried out in your work place with regular academic supervision. The training is web-based which means that as long as you have access to a reasonable broadband connection (i.e. are able to stream videos such as on YouTube), you can study where and when best suits you. Learning material includes podcast lectures, e-group projects, guided reading, interactive workbooks and discussion forums, as well as assignments and e-tutorials. By signing a re-registration form each year you will have access to e-journals and library resources for the duration of your registration.
There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via course work and forum discussion. Research is monitored and assessed. The viva is an integral part of the examination of the Part II thesis.
Candidates must hold a second class honours degree in agricultural /biological science or a closely related discipline and have at least two years relevant experience in a responsible position in the agri-food sector.
English Language Requirements:
If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.
Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.
Module cost £750
Research supervision costs £1,950 per year
Fees are required to be paid in full before training commences.
If you are employed full-time within the UK Agri-food sector you may qualify to receive a bursary. Examples of sectors which qualify are: supermarket supply chain advisors, farmers and farm managers, agri-supplies, vets, agri-environmental advisors, agricultural consultants. We regret that teaching staff in HE establishments do NOT qualify for bursaries. Please contact the ATP office for more information. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bursary eligibility information can be found here: ATP website
The ATP DAg is delivered in two parts:
- Part I is undertaken for a minimum of two years and comprises two taught modules from the ATP menu*, a taught ‘Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences’ module; and a portfolio of work or a research thesis (approximately 20,000 words in length). Each taught module is worth 20 credits and takes 12 or 14 weeks to complete. The short Part I thesis should involve analysing existing data from the candidate’s workplace. For example: Reviewing historical mineral deficiency data by species and region; analysing and interpreting the findings. Students may exit here with an MRes.
- • Part II is undertaken for a minimum of three years and comprises a longer portfolio of work or a research thesis (up to 60,000 words). It will involve experimentation and must embody the methodology and results of original research. It should, ideally, be built upon the Part 1 thesis. Thus, from the example above, could be something like: Changing practices and introducing innovation to combat mineral deficiencies.
The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry. The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
- Part II of the DAg is undertaken for a minimum of three years and comprises a longer portfolio of work or a research thesis (up to 60,000 words). It will involve experimentation and must embody the methodology and results of original research. It should, ideally, be built upon the Part 1 thesis.
Teaching & Learning
The menu of optional distance-learning modules available is:
Improved Silage (AU) This module will develop the trainee’s knowledge of modern forage and grain ensilage systems; and their skill to integrate recent research into their work.
Sustainable Home-grown Feed (AU) The role of novel feeds and forages in improving animal production, whilst helping to meet and mitigate climate change challenges, will be evaluated.
Improving Ruminant Production (AU) The focus of this module is ruminants: reproductive technology, genetic improvement, dairy cattle production systems, meat production systems, meat and milk quality, and disease prevention and management.
Ruminant Nutrition (AU) Trainees will develop understanding of: Digestion and metabolism of nutrients, ecology of the rumen and methods used to modify it; and methods used to modify characteristics of meat and milk.
Sustainable Grassland Systems (AU) Trainees will develop in depth knowledge of pasture based systems and learn to develop management plans towards optimizing meat/milk quality and yields; and conservation requirements. The potential of new forage crops will be explored.
Carbon Footprinting and Life Cycle Assessment (BU) This module will provide a theoretical and critical analysis of the practice and application of Carbon Footprinting (CF) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as key tools in assessing the environmental impact of agricultural systems.
Soil Management (BU) This training will equip delegates to undertake soil quality assessments both in the field and laboratory, critically evaluate the results, and utilise these in the design of sustainable soil management regimes.
Upland Farming Systems (BU) Trainees will gain insight into the UK’s upland farming systems and the pressures upon them. They will identify drivers of change and viable responses to these.
Resource Efficient Farm Management (BU) This module looks at practices to optimise efficiency and minimise impact.
Agriculture and Society (BU) Trainees will examine current perspectives on ethical issues surrounding food production.
Agro-Ecosystem Service Assessment (BU) This module introduces the ecosystem services approach to assessing pasture-based food production.
Ruminant Health and Welfare (AU) Focuses on diseases of most concern and looks adapting systems to reduce the disease risk. Students can specialise in: dairy, beef or sheep.
Genetics and Genomics in Agriculture (AU) This module focuses on the challenges facing land based production and the role of emerging technologies to meet these challenges sustainably.
Low Input Ruminant Production (AU) This module examines the concepts behind ruminant production in low input or organic systems and considers alternative production methods.
Ruminant Gut Microbiology (AU) The module investigates methods used to investigate rumen microbiology and reviews ways of manipulating rumen fermentation to improve productivity whilst decreasing the environmental footprint.
BDM5520 - Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences
The compulsory module- Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences - is available three times a year so that students can fit it around their optional modules. This module must be taken before you begin your research project.
BDM6060 and BDM6160 - Work-based Thesis (120 Credits): The compulsory module– Work-Based Thesis – can be started in any semester. This module should only be taken when Research Methodology and Advances in Biosciences has been completed and will involve a work-plan developed with your ATP tutor, academic supervisor and employer (if relevant). The thesis should involve analysing existing data from your workplace.
The compulsory Research Thesis is undertaken for a minimum of three years and comprises a longer portfolio of work or a research thesis (up to 60,000 words). It will involve experimentation and must embody the methodology and results of original research. It should, ideally, be built upon the Work-Based Thesis. It will involve a work-plan developed with your ATP tutor, academic supervisor and employer (if relevant).