PhD Physical Geography / Programme details

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Programme description

Loading
Geography at The University of Manchester

PhD Physical Geography will allow you to benefit from the supervision of world-leading academics that have very strong reputations for research quality.

The University of Manchester is one of the best places in the world to study physical geography, and our department has a global reputation for its research and teaching.

In the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 94% of our outputs were considered internationally recognised, with an exceptionally high proportion (65%) judged to be internationally excellent or world-leading.

Our physical geography staff members hold editorial positions with leading research publications, including major journals such as Journal of the Geological Society, Geoarchaeology and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and also serve on various panels of the UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC).

In addition, there are two research groups specialising in physical geography: Environmental Processes, and Quaternary Environments and Geoarchaeology.

The work of the Environmental Processes research group includes the analysis of environmental processes at a range of spatial scales and geographical locations, but particularly in upland and urban environments. Fundamental and applied research is supported by the Research Councils and a range of government and non-government agencies, including DEFRA, DTI, UKCIP, Environment Agency, Natural England and Moors for the Future.

The Quaternary Environments and Geoarchaeology research group is particularly interested in the analysis of the response of geomorphological systems and ecosystems to global climate change. This includes the study of glaciers, rivers, lakes, deserts and high mountain terrains, as well as paleoecology, geochemistry and a range of geochronological applications. This research involves work throughout the world, including the Arctic, British Isles, Mediterranean, Himalayas, North America, and Africa. Research is funded by various bodies, including the Leverhulme Trust, NERC, the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society.

Explore our research groups to find out more about the specialisms available at Manchester, and the academics who are keen to supervise in each area.

You can find out more about our academic staff and their research specialisms on our  People page .

Recent PhD graduates have been appointed to positions at leading universities around the world, while others now work in government agencies and research institutes as well as conservation organisations. Many graduates have gone on to work in environmental consultancy in both the public and private sectors.  Our graduates also have a strong track record in the energy and mining sector, including renewable energy, oil, gas, aggregates and minerals.

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 (MUI).

Our researchers are investigating the complexities of the world's physical landscape, past and present, to help create solutions to global environmental problems.

Research Physical Geography at Manchester and you'll benefit from worldwide fieldwork opportunities and strong industry links.

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

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) 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.

Our PhD and professional doctorate research community, grouped around a range of dynamic centres and themes, is central to the SEED research agenda across all of our disciplines. In order to further this agenda, we need fresh input and clear thinking from a fully engaged, curious, critical, socially aware PGR community.

Teaching and learning

When you become a postgraduate researcher in the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), you'll join a postgraduate community of more than 1,000 doctoral students from more than 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 of 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 a number of activities related to your PhD, including:

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

Scholarships and bursaries

We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a range of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend.

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the beginning of February for programmes starting the following September. If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you'll normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying.

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our database search tool

The UK government has confirmed that doctoral loans will be available for those studying PhDs and equivalent doctoral programmes including professional doctorates from 2018/19. The loan will be for a maximum of £25,000 over the duration of the course.

UK nationals who are ordinarily resident in England, aged 59 or under, who are not already receiving funding via a UK Research Council, are eligible.

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 a number of 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, see Facilities

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