About us

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has been at the forefront of agricultural education and a key contributor to the land-based sector for 175 years.

Today, we have more than 1,100 students studying agriculture, business, environment, equine science, farm management, food, real estate and rural land management.

We are based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and pride ourself on our links with industry and all courses are designed to meet the demands of the employment market for land-based expertise, both in the UK and worldwide.

Our vision is to become the leading specialist University providing a fresh perspective for the land agri-food and rural enterprise sectors.

Our Strategy

The four cornerstones of our strategy are:

  • To grow and diversify our student community by providing an outstanding student experience and excellent employment outcomes. Our innovative programmes will be informed by the evolving needs of industry and designed for learners at all stages of life, delivered via traditional and online learning platforms
  • To establish a Knowledge Hub that will help industry navigate change and uncertainty making it possible to tackle big challenges more effectively delivering societal benefit and impact. The Hub will provide a focus to pioneer farmer-led innovation, act as an accelerator of rural enterprise and become a centre for thought leadership for the informed development of evidence-based policy and strategic thinking
  • To become a sustainable, efficient, organisation that can fund a continuing investment in our physical, digital and human infrastructure ensuring a continually improving and excellent experience for both our students and our staff
  • Strategic and sustainable partnership working – partnerships with land-based colleges and schools will diversify our student community and extend the reach of the learning opportunities we offer.

Developing more sustainable partnerships with industry and research-leading institutions will provide a wider perspective, ensure that what we teach is relevant, improve student employment outcomes and enable sustainability-oriented innovation.

We have also chosen five values to underpin our learning community. These are the values which we will all work by and for which we want the RAU to be known. We are:


We believe in the power of working together. We are stronger as a community of practice – inspiring each other, identifying shared goals, and providing reciprocal support leads to greater success.


We are receptive to new ideas and we value the diversity of experiences and skills. We are committed to listening to everyone across the RAU community.


We adopt creative approaches to achieve our goals while setting higher standards, promoting professionalism and sustainability.


Individually and collectively we take accountability for our actions working with integrity to achieve the highest ethical standards.


We acknowledge the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and are committed to maintaining an environment that seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination and respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.

Group of students

Did you know ...?

  • More than half of the research carried out at the RAU was commended as world leading and internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework making us the leading specialist university in England. The report also praised the RAU’s research for being at its highest ever level.
  • The RAU achieved excellent results in the latest National Student Survey (NSS) with student satisfaction scores beating even those of the best-performing Russell Group universities. The RAU was ranked 1st for Learning Community and 4th for Overall Satisfaction, as well as being in the Top 10 of all English universities for both Academic Support and for Organisation & Management.
  • We were ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK for the best student experience, and as the highest-ranking university in Gloucestershire, in the Sunday Times Good University Guide, climbing 14 places from our 2021 rating. The RAU was ranked eighth in the list of the best universities for student experience and 53= for students’ evaluation of teaching quality.
  • Two RAU researchers have been recognised in prestigious lists ranking those at the very top of their profession. Dr David O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Land Management, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning and Resources) Professor David Main, who also lectures in production animal health and welfare, were both recognised in Stanford University list of the top 2% of influential scientists in the world. Dr O’Connor was additionally recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher in Clarivate’s 2022 listings of the world’s most influential researchers putting him among the top 1% of researchers in the world.
  • The RAU has been re-approved as a Centre of Excellence for Enterprise Education by the IOEE (Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs) for a further three years. As the only small and specialist University in the UK to have been granted the IOEE’s Centre of Excellence status, it highlights the emphasis we place on entrepreneurship and innovation, vital skills required for the future workforce.
  • We performed strongly in the Knowledge Exchange Framework with results highlighting our strengths in Continuing Professional Development and graduate start-ups amongst others. Looking at the performance of English Higher Education Providers from a range of different perspectives, the RAU was ranked second out of the nine institutions in its cluster and was recognised and having very high or high engagement in five of the seven judging criteria.
  • The RAU has been awarded £5.8m by The Office for Students to build a new Land Laboratory Teaching Centre which will provide an integrated, state-of-art, facility to train students in climate-smart, resilient agriculture and land management. The new centre will be built in the ground floor of the existing Frank Garner lecture block, alongside a new “wet laboratory”, and will house the latest equipment and technologies across a combined wet lab and IT-enabled learning environment covering a broad range of disciplines and skills.
  • And as well as all this we also offer …

… an accommodation fees price freeze for those starting in September 2023

… all bills and utilities included in the cost if you choose to live on campus

… free parking on campus

… a free shuttle bus to and from Cirencester