Fossils being held by researcher at University of Portsmouth

School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences

Find out more about the teaching and research activities that take place within this school, which sits within our Faculty of Science and Health

At the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences we're studying how our planet works, how it's changing and what we can do about it.

Merging two departments, each with more than 50 years of history, the School's skilled staff conduct impactful research and innovation that informs our relevant and engaging teaching. Our academic expertise covers areas including palaeontology, geology, geotechnical engineering, geography and environmental science.

We're committed to teaching our students through practical lessons and fieldwork, so they can learn from our experts, first-hand.

Courses we offer are ranked highly for student satisfaction: our Environmental Science course achieved a 100% rating, and our Geography BA and Geography BSc courses were rated at 95% and 94% respectively (NSS, 2019). We also score highly for employability, with more than 90% of our Engineering Geology and Geotechnics graduates in professional or managerial roles within 6 months of graduation.


Hands-on learning drives how we teach in the classroom, the lab and the field. We help our students develop the knowledge and practical skills they'll need for future work and research.

Learning on location

Students learn on residential fieldwork trips to Malta, Berlin, the Jurassic Coast, Somerset and the Isle of Wight. Self-funded trips to Lapland in Finland, Portugal, Malaysia, and Hong Kong are also available. We've also developed study exchange opportunities with universities in Spain, France, Australia and Canada.

Our students run tests and simulations in labs used by our research staff, including the X-Ray Fluorescence machine, gamma spectrometry, crystal growth, low temperature physics, geochemistry, environmental monitoring, and palaeontology labs.

Student integration

Cooperation and working with students actively shapes our teaching and assessment. Staff operate an open door policy, so students can look for guidance and support whenever they need it.

We work closely with the Students' Union Student Voice representatives to get regular feedback from students. We also run mid-term staff and student meetings to check in on how we're doing. 

We encourage our students to build networks and study groups with peers during their time at Portsmouth. The UoP Geography Society and Student Chapter of the Society of Economic Geographers are great opportunities to meet and work with like-minded students.


We run an employability conference every year during Induction Week. Portsmouth alumni drop in to talk to students about their graduate experiences, the jobs they're in now and working towards a career they're passionate about.

We have strong links with industry and often undertake site visits and invite industry experts as guest speakers. All of our courses offer the opportunity to undertake a placement year in industry or to study abroad.

Our courses are accredited by relevant professional bodies, so employers know that our students are highly skilled and job ready. Accreditations bodies include the Palaeontology Society, Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), Royal Geographical Society, The Geological Society and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IMMM).

Our teaching areas


Our research aims to provide solutions to the complex environmental and geographic challenges we face today. It makes a positive impact at the local, national and international level.

The work we do is diverse and cross-disciplinary: we're studying the geology of Mars, finding new ways to prevent flooding in the Mississippi basin, improving fire prevention strategies by combining ecological data with Indigenous knowledge, and analysing how organisations can better respond to disaster events.

We're proven world leaders in our field, with 100% of our research impact classed as outstanding or very considerable in terms of reach and significance (UOA 7, REF2014).

Partnerships and funding

We work with organisations such as the Mountain Research Initiative Group and CommonSensing Project funded by the UK Space Agency.

Our research has been funded by research bodies including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Science and Technology Facilities Council, Royal Society, Royal Geographic Society (RGS) and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Our research areas

Explore the research areas covered by the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences.

Our research centres and groups

Much of our research takes place within the following cross-disciplinary research centres, groups and clusters:

We aim to meet the holistic and multi-disciplinary research needed to inform blue governance mechanisms. We takes a more expansive view of Blue Economy to encompass marine and freshwater systems and conceptualises them as development spaces.
We're researching the investigation and management of natural and manmade hazards to help communities adapt to environmental change.

We're improving cities through sustainable urban development that meets today's social and environmental needs.

We're researching reconstructing climate change generally, with specific focus on volcanoes and snow, ice and glaciers.

We're researching the development of plate tectonics throughout history and how these changes have influenced rates of crustal growth.

We're researching pure and applied aspects of biological and environmental sciences that are associated with how humans impact the environment.

We're researching the impact of natural and man-made hazards upon communities, helping them to adapt to environmental change while ensuring future resilience.
We're researching constructed wetlands, sustainable drainage, waste water processing and rain water harvesting.
We're researching the interaction of humans with the marine environment, addressing some of the key environmental issues that we face in marine science.
We're researching advanced composite structures, construction materials engineering and geotechnical stability and testing.

Recent research projects include

  • Chemcatcher passive sampler

    We developed an improved passive water sampler, used to monitor water quality across the globe. The creation and uptake of the Chemcatcher has lead to the development of national and international standards for the use of passive samplers. It's been used to measure levels of pharmaceutical pollutants all the way to radioactivity in water after the Fukushima nuclear incident.

  • The Wildlife at Chernobyl

    We've assessed the radiosensitivity of animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and are creating sustainable ways to develop the area, including the creation of Atomik vodka.

Our staff

View all our School staff

Image of Dr Michelle Hale

Dr Michelle Hale

  • Job Title Head of School
  • Email Address
  • Department School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Nick Koor

Dr Nick Koor

  • Job Title Associate Head (Innovation and Impact)
  • Email Address
  • Department School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor
Image of Dr Carol Ekinsmyth

Dr Carol Ekinsmyth

  • Job Title Associate Head (Education)
  • Email Address
  • Department School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Science and Health
  • PhD Supervisor PhD Supervisor

Explore the Faculty

Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.

Contact us

To get in touch, please contact our Faculty office.

News, blogs and podcasts

Find our more about our latest research successes, read blogs by our academics and listen to the latest ideas and discoveries that look set to change our lives in our Life Solved podcast.

Follow us on social media

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close