We are delighted that you may be considering undertaking a qualification with the AFTP. The following section will provide you with an introduction to the range of qualification options available to you across the institutions that make up the Partnership including PGCert, PGDip, MSc, MRes and Doctorate qualifications. Our qualification portfolio has been designed to offer the maximum amount of flexibility to industry professionals looking to develop their skills, through options such as distance and blended learning, and the capacity to ‘build’ degrees over time. We appreciate the busy professional and personal lives of those taking training with us, and have developed our programmes of study to work around your commitments at every stage.
Credits are the building blocks of all academic qualifications awarded by higher education institutes in the UK. National frameworks make clear the number of credits required for different degrees, with the underlying understanding that one credit is equivalent to approximately 10 hours of study. Read more about 'Credits'.
Most of the training provided by the AFTP is delivered on a 'modular' basis: short, taught courses usually lasting no more than 12 weeks on specific topics within the agriculture and food sectors. In order to provide the maximum flexibility for our participants, these modules run in a variety for formats, including online distance learning, campus workshops, or blended learning (a mixture of online and residential). Read more about 'Modules'.
There are a number of different qualifications offered by the AFTP, which can helpfully be thought of in two categories: those composed entirely of credits earned through assessed, taught modules only, and those which require a research component.
The two wholly taught qualifications awarded by the AFTP are the PGCert and the PGDip, details of which are below:
Both of these qualifications can be gained through acquiring enough credits from the modules offered across the Partnership. As a result, this offers you a great deal of flexibility in terms of the shape and content of your qualification, allowing you to fashion a unique programme of learning to match your professional interests.
The other qualifications that can be undertaken with the AFTP are those which carry a research component, namely the MSc, the MRes and the Professional Doctorate, details of which are below:
Master of Science (MSc) – 180 Credits
Master of Science by Research (MRes) – 180 Credits
Professional Doctorate – 360 - 540 Credits *
* The amount of credits required to earn a Professional Doctorate differs (from 360 - 540) based on the University you choose to study with.
Though every degree represents a significant achievement, Masters and Doctorates are the highest qualifications awarded by UK universities, and together with their research component demonstrate a significant attainment within a participants’ chosen field of study. Correspondingly, these require considerable effort to obtain, but provide the foundations for specialised employment in many industries.
Unlike wholly taught qualifications, research degrees require the participant to produce a research project; substantial pieces of work that require original research on the part of writer. Due to the AFTP’s unique position between academia and industry, participants have the opportunity to complete this research using the resources of their registered university, basing their research in their workplace, or a combination of both. That is to say, a participant’s research project will be designed in collaboration with academic staff and (where appropriate) your workplace supervisor to create a project that directly addresses your professional interests.
This offers the opportunity to pursue topics of direct relevance to your employer, using facilities on hand at your place of work. As a result, degrees with a research component can offer advantages to your employer as well as to you as an individual: allowing you to obtain a significant qualification while also providing practical, relevant research in your workplace.
Research degrees at each of the AFTP delivery universities have slightly different requirements, though share a similar underlying structure. If you are considering taking your studies further at one of these institutions, please consider calling our administrative staff on +44 (0)330 333 4530 to have a discussion about these requirements, and let us answer any questions you have. Alternatively, you can also contact us using the form on our website.
Just as you can choose to pursue a higher degree at any point during your studies, your personal circumstances may lead you to wish to exit your studies early. In this case, you can exit your programme with a lower qualification, if you have met the requirements of the programme studied.
Degrees with the AFTP have been designed for professionals currently employed in the agrifood industry, and as such we would expect that participants will take longer to complete their studies than typical for full-time degrees at this level. As a guideline, we would predict that our qualifications will take the following lengths of time:
PGCert (60 credits): 1 – 3 years
PGDip (120 credits): 1 – 3 years
MSc (180 credits): 2 – 6 years
MRes (180 credits): 2 – 6 years
Professional Doctorate (360 - 540 credits): 4 – 12 years
These time estimates vary due to the flexibility of our programmes and our understanding that completion times will vary due to our participants’ work commitments, and the scheduling of modules they wish to undertake. Again, we would like to emphasise that we are always open to discussing your individual needs and would encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about the timeline of completing a degree with us.
AFTP participants are required to pay the required cost for individual modules in full before the module begins. There is no requirement to commit payment for a full programme of study at the outset, though you are welcome to do so if you have a firm plan of the modules you wish to take.
Beyond this, the degrees of MSc, MRes, and the Professional Doctorate require a separate payment for the research project that forms a major part of these programmes. This covers your discussions with your supervisor, access to university facilities (including labs, library and electronic resources), and the examination of the completed project. In addition, these programmes require a compulsory module in research training that you will also be required to pay for (though not until you undertake the module in question).
If you wish to apply for any of our courses, you will need to do so through this website. On each course page, there is a button labelled ‘Apply Now,’ which will lead you through the online application process. Submitted applications can then be monitored through your AFTP Participant Portal.
You do not need to register for a degree in the first instance, even if you feel you may eventually wish to pursue one. If, however, you are certain of the degree you wish to undertake and the university at which you wish to register, you can apply through the respective programme page on the website in the same manner as applying for a single course.
AgriFood Training Partnership
The University of Reading
PO Box 226, Whiteknights
Reading RG6 6AP