Thomas Harper Adams was a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer. On his death in 1892 he bequeathed his considerable estate 'for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture'.
The University College achieved first place for its teaching quality in The Sunday Times University Guide in 2007 and 2008 with 100 per cent excellence. It was named University College of the Year six years running (2008-2013) and now caters for more than 2,500 undergraduate students. In December 2012 Harper Adams was awarded full university title. Harper Adams currently has more than 4,000 students, with about 2,600 students on undergraduate and postgraduate awards, a number which is growing year on year.
Undergraduate courses are offered in the fields of agriculture, animal health and veterinary nursing, agricultural engineering and off-road vehicle design, estate and countryside management, tourism, agri-food marketing and business management, fresh produce management, food studies and food retail management. The University also offers a range of masters courses (MSc and MBA) and research opportunities at PhD and post-doctoral levels.
The University is aware of the increasing costs to students of their education and now offers a number of scholarships and prizes to assist students to finance their studies.