Harper Adams University


Thomas Harper Adams, a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer who had died in 1892, bequeathed his estate ‘for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture’. Harper Adams College opened in 1901; Headworth Foulkes was the first principal of the College and there were six students.

A specialist department was created in 1909 and the egg laying trials, which started in 1912, earned the College a wide following. In April 1915, the College was the first institution to provide courses for women in wartime farm work. The college contributed to the war effort by training disabled veterans in farm work, especially poultry husbandry. In 1916, women were allowed to enrol at the college on full-time courses for the first time and were to remain until after the Second World War, when priority of places went to discharged servicemen. The College was also instrumental in providing a wide range of wartime services, such as courses in tractor driving.

In 2008, Harper Adams was awarded the title of ‘Best University College’ by The Sunday Times – the same title followed in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Harper Adams was also placed top for teaching quality by The Sunday Times.

Harper Adams is a lead academic sponsor of the JCB Academy which opened in 2010. The JCB Academy was the first university technical college to be established in England. In 2012, Harper Adams was granted ‘university’ status, ending the institution’s long history of being a college and simultaneously signalling the beginning of a new era. The granting of university status represented the establishment of Shropshire’s first university.


Undergraduate courses are offered via five academic departments:

  • Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
  • Crops and Environment Science
  • Engineering
  • Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management
  • Land, Farm and Agri-Business Management

The University also offers a range of masters’ courses (MSc, MEng and MBA), research opportunities at PhD and post-doctoral levels, as well as work-based learning opportunities.


For all degree and foundation degree courses, all applicants should meet the minimum entry requirement of 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths, English language and science. In addition to this, applicants must also be in possession of, or studying towards, an acceptable level 3 qualification, such as A levels

In general, they do not prescribe particular A level subjects that must be passed prior to entry, as they have found that ability, motivation and achievement are best developed if candidates study subjects which interest them. However, in some areas, specific knowledge of a subject is required and this will form part of any offer conditions.

Mature candidates without formal academic qualifications may be admitted provided that, in the opinion of the admissions tutor, they can benefit from the course and have the ability to attain the necessary standard for success. For the Extended Foundation Degree Programme, applicants should normally possess 9 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths, English Language and Science.

For all their course areas, they do not normally accept Key Skills (or other level 2 variants) in place of the required GCSEs. Tariff points required from 2017 UCAS cycle onwards range from 72 to 144 for BSc and MEng programmes.


High teaching quality and strong applied research focus. Placement experience and high employability of students. High standard of resources to support teaching, including the university farm and other specialist resources in food, land-based engineering and veterinary sciences.


Very high quality teaching. Rated highly for industry contacts and graduate employment – current employment rate is 96% (Destination of Leavers from HE Survey 2015) with an average of 96.1 per cent over the last seven years. Rated highly by satisfied students – the high quality of teaching, learning resources, and personal and career development opportunities offered at Harper Adams University led to it achieving the joint fifth highest score (93%) in the country for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2015.


Careers Service provides guidance to all students both on and off site. Links with a large and wide range of employers with employment prospects. Employer presentations and visits held on site. Employer sessions to advise students on selection criteria and testing. Annual Careers and Placement Fairs held in November with 150+ employers attending. Vacancy handling careers website for current and recent graduates.

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