UNIVERSITY OF KENT
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS
Research Programme: MPhil/PhD Agri-Environmental Economics
1. Award and Title
MPhil/PhD: Agri-Environmental Economics
2. Length and Mode of Registration
PhD: A minimum of three consecutive years full-time, five years part-time. In exceptional
circumstances the period of registration could be reduced with the approval of the Faculty
Committee by not more than one year.
MPhil: A minimum of two years full-time, three years part-time.
3. Entry Requirements
The normal entry requirement for the registration for MPhil/PhD in Agri-Environmental
Economics is either:
(i) a good honours degree in Economics or other relevant discipline of a UK university or an
equivalent standard obtained overseas extending over not less than three years in a
University or educational institution of equivalent rank
(ii) MSc/MA degree in economics or another relevant discipline from a UK university or an
equivalent standard obtained overseas
An applicant for registration must produce satisfactory evidence of having attained a
standard equivalent to that demanded in (i) or (ii) above.
Candidates also need an appropriate English language qualification and an acceptable
Applications for admission to postgraduate research are considered by the Department’s
Director of Graduate Studies and the potential supervisor(s). Where practicable, an interview
takes place. The Director of Graduate Studies gives careful consideration to the suitability
and qualifications of applicants and has to be satisfied that there is appropriate expertise for
supervision and adequate resources for the proper conduct of the research are available.
Students without an appropriate education in Economics may be admitted to the Doctoral
programme, which entails students taking a minimum of 4 MSc modules during the first year,
as well as making a start on the background to their research.
Where the applicant’s first language is not English, the Director of Graduate Studies
considers evidence (for example from the results of TOEFL or IELTS tests taken by the
applicant) that the applicant has a sufficient command of the language to embark on the
A candidate for a research degree in Agri-Environmental Economics will be registered initially
for the MPhil degree.
The Director of Graduate Research may give permission for registration for the MPhil/PhD
degree with exemption from part of the course of study to a person who has commenced a
course of study for the MPhil or PhD degree at another university in the UK, provided that the
course of study at the Department of Economics is not less than one calendar year or its
equivalent in part-time study. In cases of exceptionally qualified candidates, the Department
Director of Graduate Studies can recommend a direct registration for PhD degree.
5. Anticipated Total Student Registrations
Up to five per annum. In most cases funding is externally generated by research grants from
the UK Research Councils’ disciplinary and multidisciplinary programmes (eg rural economy
and land use - RELU); UK public institutions (eg DEFRA, FSA); the EU Framework research
programmes; and industry funding bodies.
6. Programme Management
The Department of Economics is responsible for the programme. The responsibility for the
programme is managed by the Director of Research Students (DoRS) and the Director of
Graduate Studies (DoGS). The DoGS is in charge of the admissions process and is involved
in the Doctoral programme as Director of the MSc programme; the DoRS is responsible for
research students after they arrive at Kent. The DoRS reports to the Department’s Research
Studies Committee, a sub-committee of the Department’s Research Committee.
7. Proposed Start Date
2009/10 academic year (some MPhil/PhD students, currently registered for the PhD
programme in Agri-Environmental Economics at KBS, may transfer to the /PhD programme
in Agri-Environmental Economics at the Department of Economics during 2008/09 academic
8. Evidence of Need and Demand for the Programme
In the 2007/2008 academic year, the MPhil/PhD programme in Agri-Environmental
Economics was launched at KBS. With the transfer of agri-environmental economists and the
Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies (CEAS) from KBS to the Department of
Economics, there is a need for an MPhil/PhD degree in Agri-Environmental Economics at the
Department of Economics. This will allow utilising in full the academic expertise which was
added to the Department with the transfer.
The MPhil/PhD programme in Agri-Environmental Economics will train students in high
quality scientific and research skills which will make, upon successful completion, the
individuals capable of assuming positions of responsibility in academia, public administration,
international organisations – specialised and general – and industry. It may also provide a
useful and attractive postgraduate qualification for those young practitioners wishing to
continue their professional development and become prepared to deal with the complex agri-
environmental issues which face policy-makers and industry. Assessment will be undertaken
in accordance with the University’s Assessment Criteria for Research Degrees.
Currently, the Department of Economics offers registration for the graduate programmes by
research in Economics. The Department has adequate procedures for training and
supervision of research work of MPhil/PhD candidates. The MPhil/PhD programme in Agri-
Environmental Economics is cognate to the existing Department’s graduate programme by
research in Economics and will be resourced from within the existing resources of the
The Department of Economics PhD programme has been successful in terms of completion
of PhDs and in terms of training professional economists.
9. Aims and Objectives
The general aims of the graduate research programme in Agri-Environmental Economics are
identical with the aims of the existing MPhil/PhD programme at the Department of
To attract high-calibre students from home and overseas.
To provide all students with the opportunity to gain a range of economic, agri-
environmental and generic social science research skills to enable them to make an
original contribution to knowledge and which will be of value in future research
careers or other professional employment.
To provide a stimulating, supportive, flexible, structured and progressive educational
environment in which well qualified graduates can develop the skills of a research
To provide effective research supervision by well-trained research active economists
in a research-oriented environment.
To provide all students with the necessary resources to enable them to complete their
To offer advice on career development.
On successful completion of their programme, all students will have:
Acquired advanced skills appropriate to the professional agri-environmental economists
beyond the level of a Masters degree and demonstrated their ability to carry out an
effective independent research project using appropriate methods and make an original
contribution to knowledge.
Demonstrated the ability to present the results of research in written form and to defend
the findings in an oral examination.
Demonstrated wide knowledge of their field of research and of the appropriate
economic and social science methods which can be used to address these problems.
Developed knowledge of agri-environmental economics outside the immediate area of
their chosen field of research.
For the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy a candidate:
is required to show in the thesis appropriate ability to conduct an original investigation,
to test ideas, whether the candidate's own or those of others, and to understand the
relationship of the theme of their investigation to a wider field of knowledge. The
candidate is also required to show appropriate ability in the organisation and
presentation of their material in the thesis.
For the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy a candidate:
is required to present a thesis which should be an original contribution to knowledge or
understanding in the field under investigation and should demonstrate the candidate's
ability to test ideas, whether their own or those of others, and to understand the
relationship of the theme of the investigation to a wider field of knowledge. It should be
of such scholarly merit as would on that ground justify publication either in its entirety or
in part in the form of journal articles.
10. Programme Outline
(a) Details of the research training that the student will be expected to complete
On the doctoral programme, students are required to take a number (no more than six)
MSc modules during the first year (this could be a combination of modules taught in the
different MSc programmes in the Department, including Agricultural Economics, Agri-
Environmental Economics and International Development) and complete the set
coursework. At the same time, they start work on the background to their research.
Students on the MPhil programme are invited to attend relevant modules; in some
cases this is required by the supervisor. The Econometrics modules are frequently
used as a way of giving direct induction to the University computing system and the
econometrics packages available.
All research students are required to present at least a one hour workshop per year to
a group of staff and all other research students. Suitable contributions are submitted to
the Discussion Paper series. The intention of the discussion is for research students to
participate fully and improve their analytical, critical and presentational skills.
Each year, one or two reading groups are run. These groups extend the students’
methodological, theoretical and empirical training. The groups are based upon reading,
presentation and discussion of a core seminal advanced textbook. Group members
work through the relevant chapter and, every three weeks, they meet to discuss the
chapter. Two students present the work and one student chairs the meeting. Every
student is expected to present and chair at least once. Supervisors/doctoral
committees decide whether students should attend and this then becomes a formal
requirement. The intention of the reading groups is to improve students’ learning,
research, communication, dissemination and team-working skills.
(b) Details of other courses students may benefit from, eg health and safety, IT,
writing skills, English language, library skills
Students receive Library and information retrieval training from the Economics
Students are advised by their supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies on
career and personal development.
If the student and supervisors consider it appropriate, research students undertake an
appropriate amount of teaching. Training, advice and teaching observation is provided
by the Department and University, and is supervised by the Director of Learning and
Teaching. For those students who are graduate teaching assistants, this is compulsory
and part of their contract.
Where appropriate, students will receive advice and training on writing and language
skills from their supervisors/doctoral committee and/or UELT.
Students may also attend modules from the Faculty’s MA in Methods of Social
Research. The possibility of following the European Computer Driving Licence
If a student’s research raises ethical and/or legal issues, these are considered by the
Research Students Committee, and appropriate advice and training is given.
(c) Details of progression milestones that the student will need to reach and
successfully pass (to include transfer from a lower qualification to a higher
qualification, eg MPhil to PhD)
All students are admitted to either the Doctoral programme or registered for an MPhil.
For doctoral programme students, there is an initial progress meeting of the Graduate
Studies committee at the end of the first year to assess both research progress and
performance in the taught modules. The student makes a short presentation to the
Graduate Studies Committee at which the supervisors are present. Upon satisfactory
performance, the Committee makes a recommendation of transfer to the MPhil
programme, backdated to the initial registration.
MPhil students whose research training prior to entry is not considered sufficient to
complete their PhD programme are required to take a range of appropriate modules
from the MSc programmes.
All students prepare twice yearly reports on their progress, which along with the
supervisor’s report are considered by the Supervisory Panel which then meets with the
student to discuss progress and set targets for the coming six months.
Upgrading from MPhil to PhD consists of four stages:
Application. The student submits a formal application to the Graduate Secretary
(including a plan of the overall thesis and a research paper, which can be a core
chapter but also a joint paper, eg with the student’s supervisor).
Seminar presentation. The student presents the paper in the department’s research
workshop in the 4th or 5th term of their registration.
Revision. Summarising the comments made at the seminar, the supervisor(s) will
determine the revisions to the paper required for upgrading and propose an appropriate
Interview. Having submitted the revised paper, the Director of Research Studies
convenes an Extended Supervisory Panel involving a further member of staff not
involved in the supervision of the student. The interview seeks to investigate whether
the student is capable of completing a thesis which meets the requirements of the PhD
for making an original contribution to knowledge. The Supervisory Panel may
recommend that (i) the student’s registration be upgraded, (ii) the student’s registration
should not be upgraded at the time but a further review be held at a later date, (iii) the
student’s registration should not be upgraded but the student may submit for an MPhil;
or (iv) the student’s registration be terminated.
(d) Details of the assessment method (eg by thesis)
Students will be assessed on the basis of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words,
following the rules and procedures laid down in Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of
Philosophy and Instructions to Candidates for Examination for the Degree of Doctor of
11. Approved Supervisors
Each student has a Supervisory Panel which consists of the Director of Research Studies (as
Chair) and two supervisors, one of whom must be an approved supervisor. Four approved
supervisors in the Department of Economics have scholarly interests exclusively in the area
of Agri-Environmental Economics. The list of currently approved supervisors and co-
supervisors with research interests exclusively in Agri-Environmental Economics is
presented in Appendix 1. The list of other approved supervisors from the Department of
Economics is give in Appendix 2.
12. Research Environment
The new MPhil/PhD degree will bring research students into a research-active environment
of a high standard. In the Department, together with the agri-environmental economists,
there are 23 permanent members of staff who are all research active. In the Research
Assessment Exercise 2008, 70% of research in the Department was judged to be world
leading or internationally excellent. Most major research areas in Economics are included
and are now expanded with agri-environmental economics. The Department has particular
strengths in labour economics and applied microeconomics, has a long standing reputation
in macroeconomics and development economics, and has developed interests in various
aspects of European economics (in line with the University’s focus on Europe given its
geographical location). The research Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies, now
at the Department of Economics, has five core members, all of them research active. The
CEAS members work both on the development of new methodologies for the economic
analysis of natural resource-based industries, and the application of such methodologies to
analyse specific research issues in these industries. This analytically strong group of
economists and policy analysts works primarily on the economic development of the
European Union and specifically on the role, impact and performance of its agricultural and
food industries. An additional component of this research is the role of government policy in
relation to the problems both of environmental damage in the agricultural landscape and the
positive externalities associated with the production of food, fibres and energy.
Full details of our research activities with a selection of recent publications can be viewed on
the Department website (www.kent.ac.uk/economics/), which also includes details of the
Department's active Discussion Papers series, producing 15-18 papers a year.
All research students are provided with personal computers suitable to their needs, running
Windows XP with Microsoft Networking. There is a wide range of econometric software
available; from STATA to TSP, as well as a University Microsoft Product campus licence.
The University has a high-speed campus network linking central computing facilities as well
as links to JANET, and the internet generally. The library is well stocked and there are
facilities for on-line catalogue search, CD-ROM access and so on.
All research students are currently provided with a desk in a shared offices, on-line
computing facilities, telephone, access to a photocopy and a fax. A small budget is available
to fund attendance by research students at UK and overseas conferences (if presenting a
paper). All research students and Department members are housed in Keynes College
mostly close together. The PhD students are fully integrated and are expected to absorb and
contribute to the research culture.
The Department holds a regular staff seminars series with mainly external speakers (about
15 a year) which research students are expected to attend. Workshops are held where
members of the Department, research staff and research students present and discuss their
own work in progress. Research students are encouraged to contribute work to the
Discussion Paper series. Recent research students have published in Applied Economics,
Economics Letters, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Labour Research, Kyklos,
Manchester School, Savings and Development, and World Development.
13. Student Support and Guidance
The MPhil/PhD in Agri-Environmental Economics will build on the Department’s existing
research strengths to maintain and enhance the quality of its postgraduate research
programmes. It is envisaged that principal source of support and guidance for students will
be provided by their academic supervisors. MPhil/PhD students in Agri-Environmental
Economics will use all the facilities available to the Department’s students in the other
research programme, including the Templeman Library. Students can also avail themselves
of the IT training provided to university staff via the Computing Service and the Unit for the
Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.
In addition to the support students receive in the Department, the University’s support
services include: the English Language Unit (ELU) which in addition to providing pre-
sessional courses also provides English language support to registered students; the Unit for
the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT) which provides both training and
guidance in effective learning; the Careers Advisory Service is able to offer advice and
support as students progress from university to employment; and the Student Development
Unit in the Students’ Union which houses the Jobshop (a job centre for students), supports
the Kent Student Certificate for Volunteering (an award bearing voluntary scheme) and an
Advice Centre. The University Medical Centre, Counselling Service, the Chaplaincy, the Day
Nursery and the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service are all available to students in the
support of their health and welfare. In addition, the International Office has specific
responsibility for the induction and oversight of the welfare, to include the management of
any available hardship or scholarship funds and immigration advice, of overseas students.
14. Departmental Quality Assurance and Enhancement
Each individual student’s progress is monitored by the supervisors, the Director of Research
Students (DoRS) and the Department’s Research Students Committee. Student feedback is
sought and monitored on the taught modules. Supervisors and students are required to
complete bi-annual progress-monitoring reports, which are overseen by the Department’s
Director of Research Students, the Department’s Research Students Committee and the
Faculty’s Postgraduate Research Sub-Committee. The Department’s research programme is
also subject to periodic review. External examiners oversee the taught components of the
programme, which are subject to thorough monitoring and review in accordance with the
University’s Code of Practice for Quality Assurance. Research students are represented at
the Postgraduate Student-Staff Liaison Committee where any matter relating to postgraduate
study in the Department can be considered, and at the Department’s Research Students
15. Departmental Resource Implications
With the transfer of the agri-environmental economists and the Centre for European Agri-
Environmental Studies from KBS to the Department of Economics specialised staff expertise
is already in place. Students are provided with supervision, access to computers, library and
appropriate research facilities to complete the planned programme of study and research.
16. Professional Accreditation
Approved Supervisory Chair (this staff list has been formally approved as supervisors for
the MPhil/PhD programme in Agri-Environmental Economics at KBS)
Dr Alastair Bailey
Dr Sophia Davidova
Dr Iain Fraser
Professor Rob Fraser
Dr Salvatore di Falco
Other approved supervisors in the Department of Economics
Professor Alan Carruth
Professor Jagjit Chadha
Dr William Collier
Dr Amanda Gosling
Professor Francis Green
Professor Christopher Heady (from 1 April 2009)
Dr Miguel Leon-Ledesma
Dr John Peirson
Professor Anthony Thirlwall
Professor Roger Vickerman
Dr Yu Zhu
Academic staff – members of the Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies
Dr S Davidova – CEAS Honorary Director
Dr A Bailey
Dr S Di Falco
Dr I Fraser
Prof R Fraser
Dr D Souza Monteiro - KBS