Earth and Environmental Sciences postgraduate research degrees

male student in hard hat examining rock on beach

Postgraduate research in earth and environmental sciences

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in Earth and Environmental Sciences

If you're ready to take your expertise in Earth and Environmental Sciences into a postgraduate research degree, the University of Portsmouth is the perfect place to do it. 

Seventy-two per cent (72%) of our research outputs in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences were classed as world leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 – and through our Earth and Environmental Sciences research, we're studying our planet and how life on Earth has evolved from its earliest beginnings to the present day.

With environmental crises such as climate change putting the future of the planet in jeopardy, we're using our findings to predict how the Earth may change in the future and researching what we can do to safeguard it. As a postgraduate researcher here, you could research subjects including crustal evolution, environmental modelling and monitoring, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems, palaeontology, applied geoscience and applied physics.

Our students make lasting contributions to the field – like one of current PhD students, Emily Roberts, who has made headlines after discovering the first fossil plant gum on record.

When you study for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll join our collaborative research community, and play your own part in turning our knowledge into action.

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Earth and Environmental Sciences below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

Earth & Environmental Sciences PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Earth and Environmental Sciences, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6-12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover?

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 78% of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in REF 2014
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my research degree cost?

2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021, February and April 2022 start)

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,500 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,250 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,500 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,250 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £17,600 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £8,800 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication

  • External candidates: £4,500 
  • Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,720

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.  

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan.

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

You'll have access to fully-equipped physical geography, GIS and photogrammetry labs.

Other facilities you can use include:

  • Geochemical facilities, which include laser ablation and solution ICP-MS and ICP-MC-MS. Using these facilities, you can analyse a large range of materials and elements across the periodic table, and measure isotope ratios for sourcing of materials and dating minerals.
  • Imaging facilities, including scanning electron microscopy and near infrared spectroscopy. Using these facilities, you can image materials to extremely high magnification, measure the chemistry and crystallography of materials down to the nanometre scale, characterise the spectra of materials, and use remote sensing techniques to map their spatial distribution in the natural environment.
  • Rock and soil mechanics, including triaxial and uniaxial presses, acoustic emission sensors, and heating and cooling elements. Using these facilities, you can obtain data on the physical properties and behaviour of materials under different loading conditions and over a range of conditions.
  • Our Hyperspectral Laboratory, which has an ASD Labspec4 (Vis-NIR) spectrometer and a range of spectral imaging systems including an infrared geotechnical core-scanner to examine rocks, soils, debris, environmental materials and archaeological artefacts for engineering and hazard characterisation.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences by completing our online form. 

February (2022 start)

October (2022 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our 4 areas of research expertise in Earth and Environmental Sciences.

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