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Full time & Part time See Course PGDip, PGCert, MSc 1 year full-time 2 to 3 years part-time

About the course

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The course is designed to equip practitioners with the higher level skills and knowledge to apply recent developments in nutritional science, technology and legislation to support sustainable expansion and intensification of ruminant production systems and meet consumer demands for ruminant products both within the UK and globally. It is primarily aimed at UK graduates, veterinary surgeons and specialists within the animal feeds industry, but may also be of interest to overseas applicants.

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Entry Requirements

Candidates will be expected to have obtained a 2:1 honours degree in an appropriate agricultural, veterinary or scientific subject. Alternatively, candidates with a good UK-based HND or foundation degree in an appropriate agricultural or scientific subject, together with related industrial or professional experience of at least two years will be considered. For all candidates evidence of qualifications and experience will be required.

 Course Content

Institution website
Where is Harper Adams University

Student Profile(s)

Ella Forrest

Harper Adams University student Ella Forrest has received an NFU Mutual Centenary Trust Award.

The Centenary Award scheme gives annual bursaries of up to 75 per cent of course fees for selected UK postgraduate students on an agriculture masters or PhD programme. The Centenary Award has been running for over 100 years and has helped applicants to continue to study in the agricultural sector.

The 23 year-old MSc Ruminant Nutrition student from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said: “Receiving this award has shown me that being from a non-farming background isn’t a barrier to getting into the agricultural industry; even if it may mean you have to work a bit harder to get there.

“To think I’m being supported by the NFU Mutual is amazing. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I was stunned when I received the email confirming I’d been chosen as one of the four people to be selected for the award.”

Announcing the recipients for 2017, Richard Percy, NFU Mutual Chairman, said: “We recognise the crucial role students in agriculture play in shaping the future of the industry. Our aim for the Centenary Award scheme is to create a long-standing legacy, and demonstrate our commitment to young people and the countryside.

“We are delighted to be supporting Emma, Joe, Ella and Callum with their studies, and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Ella, who graduated from Harper Adams with a BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare, said: “The funding will allow me to continue experiencing different aspects of the agricultural industry without the additional pressures of earning money alongside my studies. During the time I’ll spend on the farms, I expect to improve my understanding of the different management practices.

“I’d like to thank the NFU Mutual Centenary Trust for providing me with this amazing opportunity; the Harper Adams career service for making me aware of this opportunity as well as the University itself for providing endless learning opportunities.

“Lastly, I’d also like to thank my parents for their continuing support.”

Bethan Till

A PhD student at Harper Adams University has successfully increased the level of long chain omega-3 while reducing the level of saturated fatty acids in cheese and producing the same the taste, by feeding microalgae to cows.

Bethan Till, 26, from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, said: “The aim of my project was to improve how healthy dairy products are by increasing the amount of omega-3 present in milk and therefore cheese.

“Western diets are providing less than recommended levels of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are beneficial to human health. Fish is typically regarded as a natural source of omega-3s but the levels are diminishing and less fish is being consumed.

“Omega-3 is important because it has many benefits including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and depression, along with improving general mental health and enhanced children’s learning ability.

“By increasing the level of omega-3 in cheese, which is already integrated into many people’s diets, they can have this healthier benefit without having to alter their eating and shopping habits. It’s also a good route to ensure that children achieve good intake levels of omega-3s as they’ll more readily consume milk and cheese, than say fish.

"We’ve managed to increase the level of omega-3 by feeding microalgae to cows. Microalgae is at the bottom of the food chain and is eaten by fish, which are consequently rich in omega-3, so we knew it’s a good source.

“The study was conducted on high yielding Holstein Friesian dairy cows, which were allocated one of four diets. Three of these diets contained microalgae at different levels to establish which produced the best results. We found that microalgae at a medium level worked best.

“Adding the microalgae didn’t affect cow performance, including dry matter intake, milk yield, body condition score and live weight.

“From the cheese tasting panel, we found that there were also no negative effects on taste. The trained panellists described it as having a pleasant, nutty flavour. The colour and texture were also very similar to regular cheeses.

“Currently, we’re also looking at whether the microalgae improves fertility but it’s early days."

“I’d like to thank Alltech for sponsoring this project and my supervisors Professor. Liam Sinclair and Dr Jim Huntington for their time and support, along with Dr Wilatsana Posri for her help in setting up the tasting panel.

Jonathan Huxtable

Jonathan Huxtable has graduated from Harper Adams University with a Masters degree in ruminant nutrition and is currently working as the ruminant country manager for the UK and Ireland for an international company, even though his undergraduate degree is in sport.

Jonathan, 30, from Gloucester, Gloucestershire, said: “I decided to take the course so that I could continue to progress in my animal nutrition career and to use the knowledge learned to have a positive impact on animal welfare and production.

“My undergraduate degree is in sport. I’m not from a farming background and had only been on a farm once before and that was to play in a hay barn.

“After I graduated from my undergraduate degree, there was an opportunity to go into ruminant nutrition. I spent a couple of weeks on farms milking cows and getting an idea of what it’s all about. I really enjoyed it and caught the farming bug.

“On coming into the industry, I realised my learning needed further development for me to be successful.

“I originally started coming to Harper to do the diploma in ruminant nutrition, which I’d been invited to do by the company I was working for. The course was a great stepping stone for me.

“After completing the diploma, I was approached by one of the lecturers and was offered the opportunity to study on the master’s programme.

“It wouldn’t have been feasible to do the master’s course without the continuing support from the staff at Harper and on that basis alone, I’d recommend others in my situation looking to study around work to seriously consider Harper. The staff understood the challenges of juggling a full-time job, family and studying part-time.

“I’m very passionate about this industry, especially dairy cows. I can imagine myself working in this area for years, unlike the field of sports which I wasn’t passionate about enough.”


Our Alumni Association, The Harper Adams Club, awards an annual scholarship of up to £2,000 to assist a Harper Adams graduate to undertake an MSc course at Harper Adams.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Candidates must have been awarded a first degree or HND at Harper Adams and have been accepted for a full- or part-time Masters course

Application Procedure

.The scholarship is awarded on a competitive basis by means of an interview.

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NFU Mutual’s annual Centenary Award is now open for applications. The award provides bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected students who are undertaking a postgraduate course in agriculture (Masters or PhD) within the UK.

The Centenary Award was created by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust in 2010 to celebrate NFU Mutual’s 100th birthday, with the objective of creating a legacy for the future. To date, 43 agricultural students have received bursaries to help further their studies.

The award is open to individuals who have gained, or are expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a related degree, and have been accepted or provisionally accepted on a Masters or PhD course in agriculture in the UK, in autumn 2021.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Coming soon


The award is open to students from the UK who have gained, or are expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a closely related degree, and have been accepted or provisionally accepted on a Masters or PhD course in agriculture in the UK

Application Procedure

Further information about the scheme can be found on the NFU Mutual website:

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The Clyde Higgs MSc Scholarship will be awarded to up to two students who are entering Harper Adams University studying for an MSc with an Agriculture focus in September 2019.

Whilst not a requirement for this scholarship, preference will be given to those students who have a specific interest and/or background in the Dairy Industry.

The Scholarship
The successful Scholarship recipient(s) will receive an award valued at up to £5,000 for one year only.

IMPORTANT: to be shortlisted for interview, applicants must have a confirmed place on a course as noted above at Harper Adams University at the time they submit their application.

All of the above conditions must be fully met for an application to be considered.

The scholarship will be payable in two equal parts; half to be paid in February 2020 and the balance in May 2020. Payment is conditional on the scholar remaining registered as a full time student at Harper Adams. They must pass all modules of study and submit at least one written report to the Development Trust prior to the receipt of their second payment.

This is a competitive award which will be evaluated on merit of the submitted application, along with academic achievements to date and interview. The decision of the Clyde Higgs Scholarship Panel is FINAL and they reserve the right to withdraw the award at any time should they feel this action is required.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The Clyde Higgs MSc Scholarship will be awarded to up to two students who are entering Harper Adams University studying for an MSc with an Agriculture focus in September 2019.

Whilst not a requirement for this scholarship, preference will be given to those students who have a specific interest and/or background in the Dairy Industry.

Application Procedure

Apply via the Harper Adams University Development Trust

Find out more

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