Triangle

Research overview

Our internationally acclaimed plant and crop science research is focussed on crop plants of global importance such as wheat, rice, barley, potato and tomato, and underutilised crops such as bambara.

We have a large multi-national team of plant and crop scientists covering a wide range of research areas, from investigating molecular mechanisms in plant cells and tissues that control important developmental processes, through to investigating performance of crop plants in the field.

We study the interactions between plants, their environment and other organisms including pathogens and beneficial microbes. Our goal is to harness this knowledge to improve crop quality and agronomic performance.

Research areas

We undertake extensive fundamental research on mechanisms controlling plant growth and development using model plants, including Arabidopsis.

Research using model plants provides insights into gene networks that govern important agronomic traits such as seed germination, plant growth and morphology, plant response to environmental stresses, seed filling and fruit ripening. We aim to apply this fundamental knowledge to a diverse range of crop plants of significance to the UK and worldwide.

Explore our plant and crop research groups

Course content

A PhD is an independent in-depth research project. You will be able to develop additional skills through training programmes to help you complete your PhD. See the support section for more details.

In each year you will have a regular meetings with your supervisor and an annual review.

An MRes is usually a one-year course that includes an original research project worth 120 credits.

You’ll then study 60 credits of optional taught modules. You can choose from a selection of masters-level modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

QualificationPhD/MRes
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters level; other qualifications may also be accepted.

QualificationPhD/MRes
Degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a Merit at masters level; other qualifications may also be accepted.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTS6.5 (6.0 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

For all of our research degrees, the first step is to identify one or more supervisors you would like to work with.

To do this, look through our academic staff research interests. We strongly encourage contacting supervisors before making a formal application, to discuss potential research projects and to ensure the best application possible.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books and journals you’ll need through our libraries.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Support

The school believes that formal training and guidance are critical components of the postgraduate experience and have developed specific and generic training which are available for all postgraduates.

Project-related training is provided by the supervisors and other staff within the school. You will have frequent contact with your supervisor, often on a weekly or even daily basis, and there is a formal requirement for at least 10 recorded meetings per year.

Teaching is typically delivered by professors, associate and assistant professors. Some practical laboratory sessions and research projects may be supported by postdoctoral research fellows.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Where you will learn

Plant and Crop Sciences

The campus is well equipped for research ranging from genomics, proteomics and metabolomics to field scale trials to study environmental factors on the growth of crop plants. There is an automatic weather station, field sites for micrometeorology and laboratories with facilities for gas chromatography, atomic absorption analysis, and a major suite for flavour chemistry.

The Tropical Crops Research Unit has a suite of controlled-environment glasshouses. These provide a range of controlled environments to study crop growth and development and the production and analysis of transgenic plants.

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Matt Dickinson profile 438x438
"I have been involved in plant microbe interactions research for more than 30 years, focussing mainly on bacterial and fungal diseases of crop plants. In the UK, much of this work has been on diseases of wheat and tomato, whilst research with partners overseas has been on crops such as sugarcane, oil palm and coconut palm. My current research interests include development of molecular diagnostic techniques and studies on the use of UV-C treatment of plants for induction of resistance to diseases."
Matt Dickinson, Head of Division of Plant and Crop Sciences

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 7th in the UK for research power (2021), according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • We have been ranked 3rd in the UK in our unit of assessment (Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science) for research power according to analysis by Times Higher Education, which takes into account a combination of the quality of our research, its international impact, critical mass and sustainability.
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 25 June 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.