Masters by Research or PhD Countryside and Community (Postgraduate)

View of the Cotswolds from across the hills

Study mode

Full-Time or Part-Time


Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

The university is widely recognised as a centre for sustainability research. In combination with the CCRI, sustainability research increasingly moves across traditional disciplinary boundaries. The team at the CCRI are leaders in their fields bringing together research across the social science disciplines, with a focus on policy from the grassroots upwards, using innovative forms of data collection and analysis, as well as a strong drive to co-produce new knowledge with a diverse group of research partners. This strong team ethos, coupled with a participatory approach and rigorous standards, has produced a pocket of excellence recognised by the ESRC.

The CCRI has expertise in all aspects of research in policy and planning for the countryside and the environment of the UK, Europe and further afield. It brings together social scientists across a range of disciplines, working closely with partners in society, policy and industry to co-produce new knowledge.

Actively engaged in innovative research the CCRI was recognised as having 71% of its research outputs classed as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally recognised’ in the REF, 2014.

The CCRI is proud to be part of the Wales ESRC DTP and contributes to studentships sponsored by the DTP. Visit or follow @CCRI_UK

Research Areas:

  • food, farming and the environment
  • environmental governance
  • policy analysis and programme evaluation
  • social innovation
  • rural development and knowledge systems
  • heritage and landscape
  • rural economies and societies
  • commons management and governance

As a postgraduate student, you will critically evaluate an approved topic, resulting in an independent contribution to knowledge, and demonstrate an understanding of research methods through a thesis and coursework.

For the PhD, you will also be required to make an independent and original contribution to knowledge. A postgraduate research degree will open the door to work in management and governance posts related to the environment, in a range of public and private sector organisations.

Entry requirements

  • MA or MSc by Research/MRes: at least a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subjec
  • PhD: a master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic
  • In exceptional circumstances, we will consider applications from non-graduates with experience of undertaking research, or graduates who wish to work in a new subject area
  • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent


See the further details of tuition fees when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Staff Profile

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Reader in the Culture and History of Sport

"Malcolm's teaching and research interests are based on his background in history and anthropology. He is interested in ordinary experiences of cultural and social life and also has a particular interest in research design and ethics. He is also research degree's lead for the Schools of Sport & Exercise, Natural & Social Sciences and Health & Social Care."


Students walking in the snow

Opportunities to complete studentships with partner organisations

Strengthen your learning and experience, working on a research project with an external organisation. Studentships are sometimes built into research projects. Where this is the case, they will be advertised via the university, the Guardian and on

Students giving a presentation

Supervision by experienced researchers with broad international networks.

Join a thriving research community, with support via group meetings, a winter school, writing retreats, seminar programme and visiting scholars

Cotswold stone wall in the countryside

Join one of the largest rural research units in the UK

Benefit from expert and research-active supervisors whose research has had a strong impact in the sector. Access influential contacts and gain opportunities with prestigious rural and environmental organisations

Contact us

Find out more about our courses

Call +44 (0)3330 141414