Equitation Science Research Masters

For 2017 start

Duchy College Stoke Climsland LEVEL: 7 Equine

The ResM is a postgraduate degree awarded by Plymouth University. It is delivered in Cornwall and has full-time and part-time routes. The research at the heart of the ResM programme is tailored to individual interests and commonly involves working with an industry partner.
In common with other postgraduate research degrees, the ResM culminates in the examination of a thesis based on a period of extended research. Two taught modules equip you with the appropriate level of research skills. The ResM is delivered through the Duchy College node – a research node of Plymouth University’s School of Biological Sciences. All ResM students are supervised by Cornwall College staff based at the Duchy Stoke campus. Students are co-supervised by Plymouth University staff.
You will study the exciting and contemporary academic discipline of equitation science. We will help you to advance and expand your knowledge of the science underpinning equitation. You will quickly generate an understanding of the importance of the multidisciplinary approach needed when studying equitation science.

We work closely with the International Society of Equitation Science and share its mission to promote and encourage the application of objective research and advanced practice, which will ultimately improve the welfare of horses in their associations with humans.
The programme allows those with a good understanding of equine science to further develop and focus their skills. Increasingly, highly trained and skilled scientists to assist in the development and understanding of equitation science are needed. In addition there is a strong need within the equine industry for the dissemination of emerging theory to inform the practice of those involved with horses, in particular their training and welfare. As a ResM graduate you will be able to safeguard the welfare and enhance the safety of horses, riders and handlers, regardless of discipline.
Your ability to secure employment as a scientific advisor, researcher and advanced practitioner within industry, will be greatly enhanced by completing the ResM qualification.
You will benefit from access to a wide range of specialist equine and equitation science-related technology.

You will also have access to:

  • 40 horses
  • 2 indoor schools
  • 1 outdoor school
  • Horse walker

Arrangements can also be made with the Equestrian Centre manager for keeping your own horse or horses on the centre on either working or DIY livery.

Possible careers available with this qualification:

  • Advisor
  • High-level Manager
  • Academic
  • Researcher
  • Advanced Equitation Practitioner
  • Industry Consultant
  • Welfare Specialist


Personal and Employability Skills Development

This module is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop themselves in terms of their personal and employability skills.

Equine Anatomy

The anatomy and physiology of the equine musculo-skeletal system will be described and discussed.  Assessment of the equid to include static conformation and the biomechanical effects of exercise in relation to horse use within equestrianism will be explored.

Animal Welfare and Legislation

This module will introduce concepts and definitions of welfare, and examine how animal welfare can be assessed.  The use of biological, physical and psychological indicators and measures for welfare assessment will be investigated.   Animal use and ethics will also be considered within a range of contexts.    The module will also examine existing animal welfare legislation and the roles that are played by key organisations and industry bodies.

Principles of Behaviour and Training

This module will enable you to gain a detailed understanding of the basic principles of horse behaviour and the central tenets of training and how these are used to facilitate equitation education.

Animal Biology

To study the complexity of a living organism the chemistry of molecules and pathways within its cell(s). This module will develop the concept that the structure and function of biological molecules is a consequence of their chemistry. Consideration of the different organs and structures of the body, the relative position of them and their inter-related physiology will be discussed.

Equine Business Management

Starting/developing a small business is an ambition for many people. However, it can be fraught with difficulties. Those setting out on this venture need to consider the business idea, where funding will come from, the potential market, the competition and a host.
Evidence-Based Communication in the Equine Industry

This module explores the principles of knowledge transfer in order to maximise the flow of useful information from evidence-based scientific studies of equids to personnel within the horse industry.   Students will learn how to capture and distribute relevant objective information and to ensure its viability for future users.   This module examines the range of media available for the dissemination of scientific information.


Principles of Equitation Science

This module assesses the application of scientific principles to the horse within equitation practice.  This module includes the contemporary issues currently under the consideration of the International Society for Equitation Science and focusses on the horse, rider and technology.

Application of Training Principles

This module enables students to apply principles of horse and human training to equitation practice.  Existing training methods are analysed in relation to education, problem solving and welfare

Equine Business and Resource Management

The legal and statutory requirements of developing an equestrian facility will be appraised including health and safety requirements. Managing the specific budgetary requirements of equestrian facilities will be scrutinised and legal aspects considered. Managing staff, administration requirements and resources will be examined to ensure compliance with regulations. Equine facility developments will be related to local, regional, national and international equestrian needs.

Equine Nutrition and Physiology

This module examines underpinning principles of exercise physiology and nutritional biochemistry. It offers an understanding of the physiological, nutritional and biochemical parameters that can determine levels of performance, athletic achievement and behaviour.  Changes in the physiological systems of the horse in work are appraised with particular reference to intended performance and expected fitness levels.

Equine Health and Rehabilitation

The health of the horse, current rehabilitation methods and treatments will be analysed and appraised.  The physiological needs of the equid will be explored based on specific requirements.  Appropriate rehabilitation methods to restore health will be differentiated.  Common ailments, sick nursing, contagious and non-contagious diseases, barrier nursing, infection control, bio-security and international disease risk will be debated along with zoonotic diseases.

Research Methods

The module will develop the student’s research ability.  Knowledge and understanding related to; the research process, formulation of research questions, developing a research proposal, experimental design, appropriate and correct statistical analysis, presentation of data and results, constructing effective discussions and conclusions.


Honours Project

The honours project module is designed to allow students to explore in detail an academic subject within the discipline of Equitation Science.  The module is based on the conduct of a substantial autonomous research study/investigation.  Ability to conduct a literature review, design a valid investigation and collect, collate, analyse and interpret data and to effectively communicate the outcome/s is assessed.

Equitation Science

Enables you to critically appraise and evaluate the importance of the application of scientific principles to the horse, within the equitation industry. The knowledge developed in this module will reflect the contemporary issues currently under the examination of the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES).

Veterinary Issues in Equine Science

The Veterinary Issues module provides the opportunity for in-depth research into contemporary issues associated with the equine industry. Students will be expected to be able to transfer knowledge gained from research to appropriate aspects of the equine management and welfare.  The subjects covered in this module will derive from a wide range of scientific areas.  Topics will be included as and when they arise within the equine industry.

Science of Rider Performance (OPTION)

Definitions of performance, sports performance measurements, rider fitness, exercise, diet and nutrition, physical and mental aspects of rider performance, fitness, psychological preparation, rider impacts, injuries and prevention, safety aspects, horse welfare.

Advanced Animal Psychology (OPTION)

The underpinning principles of animal behaviour will be explored.  A detailed appreciation of the cognitive abilities will be gained in order to effectively apply the principles of learning theory to the management and training of non human animals.   The occurrence of unwanted behaviours will be critically examined to ascertain likely causes and determine possible repair.  Particular psychological syndromes / disorders will be examined that of are emerging relevance to specific species.

Personal Development Planning (OPTION)

This module aims to analyse the performance and management of the equine. The impact of physical, psychological and financial constraints on the ability of an equine will be appraised.  .  Important factors regarding the construction and communication of realistic goals based on horse/human compatibility and discipline suitability will be evaluated in terms of welfare. The educational needs of horse/human within the disciplines and selecting suitable methods of enhancement for improved performance will also be assessed.

The application process for full-time and part-time degree level courses with The Cornwall College Group starting in September 2017 is still open and we are taking applications.  Full-time applicants should apply via UCAS and part-time applicants directly via the College website.

Key Facts

  • Awarded by: Duchy College & Plymouth University
Entry Requirements

2:1 in a biological or related science BSc (Hons) degree with a 2:1 grade for the honours project element.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award


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Indicative Modules

This programme incorporates taught elements (a minimum of 40 credits and a maximum of 120 credits) and an extended research phase.

These taught elements typically focus on research methods, contemporary issues and employability enhancement but may vary according to subject area. You will then undertake a substantial research project under the supervision of a team of subject experts.

*Modules are subject to change and availability




Equitation Science Research Masters

Start Date



Stoke Climsland


1½ to 2 years full-time

Equitation Science Research Masters

Start Date



Stoke Climsland


2 to 3 years part-time

*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility.

Careers advice available

If you are considering an undergraduate programme with us, you may wish to access our free Careers and Employability advice service. This gives you the opportunity to talk with an advisor about career options before, during and after your study with us. To make an appointment, please e-mail: H.E.Advice@cornwall.ac.uk

If you come into the International category (non EU*) and Channel Island (inc. Isle of Man) the tuition fee may vary – click here for full fee information