PhD Human Geography / Programme details

Year of entry: 2022

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Programme description

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PhDs in the Manchester Urban Institute

A PhD in Human Geography at Manchester will allow you to benefit from the supervision of world-leading academics who have reputations for research excellence.

The University of Manchester is one of the best places to study human geography globally, and our department has a high reputation for its research and teaching.

In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 94% of our publications were judged to be 'internationally recognised', with an exceptionally high proportion (65%) judged to be 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'. Your research will seek to help create a fair and sustainable future, engaging with themes such as: 

  • emotions, identities, place and geographic scale;
  • everyday life in uncertain times;
  • global production networks and labour;
  • socio-spatial inequality and vulnerability;
  • political economy of environmental use, governance and conflict;
  • sustainable cities and green transitions;
  • urban politics and mobilities;
  • urban transition and crisis;
  • critical cartography.

Our human geography staff members hold editorial positions with major journals, such as Antipode, Area, Geography Compass, Geoforum, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Progress in Human Geography. In addition, there are three research groups containing human geographers at Manchester:

Our PhD students are members of these groups, and all are appointed two supervisors to assist them with their research.

Recent PhD graduates have been appointed to positions at leading universities in Europe, North America and the East Asia, while others now shape national and international policy agendas through their work in government agencies, research institutes and activist organisations.

Special features

Geography has been studied at Manchester for more than 125 years, and we're one of Europe's best-equipped universities for the subject.

We're also home to world-class academics and the  Manchester Urban Institute .

Our work examines national and international urban environments, what affects them, and how we can help to create a fair and sustainable future.

What's more, 90% of our Geography research is rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' in terms of impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

As a PhD candidate in  Geography , you'll also be part of the  School of Environment, Education and Development  (SEED) which is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the disciplines of Architecture, Education, Geography, International Development and Planning and Environmental Management.

What unites us is a shared commitment to highlight and address the uneven relationships between societies, economies and the environment.

We want to understand better the world in which we live, and to offer solutions to the problems within it.

We acknowledge that a complex and interconnected world presents many challenges for analysts, but researchers in SEED are pioneering new evidence, measures, concepts and theories in order to address these challenges in practice.

SEED's world-leading research is rooted in everyday life but international in relevance and scope, addressing social, economic and environmental concerns across the globe.

Teaching and learning

When you become a postgraduate researcher, you'll join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.

You'll be assigned to a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes.

Our working environments are often spacious and open plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, and you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus.

All our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research.

You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project.

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development. We provide additional financial support for several activities related to your PhD, including:

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) aim to run advertised fieldwork in the 22/23 academic year and we very much hope that students will be able to enjoy the fieldwork experience in the usual way. The ability of fieldwork to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork might be necessary, will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

We will therefore assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

Any fieldwork that does go ahead will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff. 

If the fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Facilities

We are one of Europe's best-equipped universities for geography, with numerous laboratories.

These include the main teaching laboratory, microscopy laboratory, and sediments and project laboratories.

You can also learn professional skills such as coding and programming specialist, industry-standard software such as image processing, GIS, GPS and cartographic representation.

The University's Main Library is the largest university library system in the UK apart from the copyright libraries and has several different working spaces.

It is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world.

We also have our very own Kantorowich Library, which contains many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

For more information, please see our Facilities website .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email  dass@manchester.ac.uk