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School of Environment, Education and Development

Arthur Lewis and Humanities Bridgeford Street Buildings
PhD Physical Geography
Specialist doctoral training in physical geography under researchers with strong reputations for research quality.

PhD Physical Geography

Year of entry: 2018

Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy
Duration
36 Months. [Full-Time]
Entry requirements
  • First or upper second class honours Bachelor degree (or international equivalent) and
  • A relevant postgraduate qualification, generally a Master degree, with Merit and a minimum average grade of 60% in the taught modules and a minimum grade of 60% in the dissertation (or international equivalent)

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y N N N

Programme description

There are two research groups specialising in Physical Geography: Environmental Processes, and Quaternary Environments and Geoarchaeology.  Research is done at a variety of timescales, from the present day to the Pleistocene ice ages.  Themes include future prediction and modelling, present-day observation, monitoring and modelling, and reconstruction of past environments and environmental changes.  

You will by supervised by world leading academics with very strong reputations for research quality.  Geography in Manchester was ranked 8th in the world by the 2014 QS world university rankings.  In the UK research assessment exercise 2008, 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.  

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.

Key research and primary opportunities:

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.

Specialisms include:

  • Geomorphology and earth systems processes
  • Peatlands and soils 
  • Geographical information sciences, including terrain analysis and terrestrial remote sensing
  • Hydrology and freshwater environmental sciences
  • Urban climatology, climate adaptation and urban air pollution

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 palaeoecology, geochemistry and a range of geochronological applications.  We also have interests in geoarchaeology.  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.

Specialisms include:

  • Quaternary climate change
  • Geochronology, including OSL, cosmogenic exposure dating and U-series
  • Glacial geomorphology and glaciology
  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Dryland environments
  • Palaeoecology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, including a range of proxies: pollen, chironomids, diatoms and geochemical analyses
  • Geoarchaeology

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2018, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £5,750
    International students (per annum): £18,000

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, examinations and graduation.

Payment of fees will also entitle you to membership of the Library, the Students' Union and the Athletic Union.

Scholarships/sponsorships

Sources of funding include:

UK Research Councils:

Includes 1+3 and +3 studentships. Residency eligibility criteria apply. CASE studentships are normally advertised in January / February on our website and at jobs.ac.uk

In addition, funding is sometimes possible from one of the following:

Internal awards are advertised on our funding page from November.

Contact details

Academic department
School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Christopher Kitchen
Telephone
+44(0)161 275 0807
Email
Website
http://www.seed.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/geography/postgraduateresearch/
Academic department overview
See: The School .

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

  • First or upper second class honours Bachelor degree (or international equivalent) and
  • A relevant postgraduate qualification, generally a Master degree, with Merit and a minimum average grade of 60% in the taught modules and a minimum grade of 60% in the dissertation (or international equivalent)

English language

Candidates whose first language is not English require one of the following certificates:

  • IELTS test minimum scores - 7 overall, 7 writing, 6 other sections
  • TOEFL (internet based) test minimum scores - 100 overall, 25 writing, 22 other sections
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) minimum scores - 66 overall, 66 writing, 59 other sections
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) overall score of 185 or above, with writing 185 and no other sub-section below 169 -OR- Grade C if taken before 2015
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) overall score of 185 or above, with writing 185 and no other sub-section below 169 -OR- Grade B if taken before 2015

(Please note that the Cambridge First Certificate in English is not acceptable)

Please find full details, including country specific information, here .

English language test validity

Some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Interview requirements

Applicants who meet our entry requirements and who are matched to a suitable supervisor may be required to attend an interview

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

All international students studying for PhD Physical Geography, who need a visa to study in the UK, will be required to apply for an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate.

Further information can be found on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website including the ATAS application form. Please note: Applicants do not need to apply for an ATAS certificate until after they have received an offer from The University.

Programme details

Programme description

There are two research groups specialising in Physical Geography: Environmental Processes, and Quaternary Environments and Geoarchaeology.  Research is done at a variety of timescales, from the present day to the Pleistocene ice ages.  Themes include future prediction and modelling, present-day observation, monitoring and modelling, and reconstruction of past environments and environmental changes.  

You will by supervised by world leading academics with very strong reputations for research quality.  Geography in Manchester was ranked 8th in the world by the 2014 QS world university rankings.  In the UK research assessment exercise 2008, 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.  

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.

Key research and primary opportunities:

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.

Specialisms include:

  • Geomorphology and earth systems processes
  • Peatlands and soils 
  • Geographical information sciences, including terrain analysis and terrestrial remote sensing
  • Hydrology and freshwater environmental sciences
  • Urban climatology, climate adaptation and urban air pollution

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 palaeoecology, geochemistry and a range of geochronological applications.  We also have interests in geoarchaeology.  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.

Specialisms include:

  • Quaternary climate change
  • Geochronology, including OSL, cosmogenic exposure dating and U-series
  • Glacial geomorphology and glaciology
  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Dryland environments
  • Palaeoecology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, including a range of proxies: pollen, chironomids, diatoms and geochemical analyses
  • Geoarchaeology

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk