UCL Department of Geography


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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  Study  /  Graduate Research  /  Graduate Research Programmes

Graduate Research Programmes


The Department offers a world-class environment for pursuing graduate-level research in geography, environmental science and related areas of interdisciplinary inquiry.

Benefits of being an MPhil or PhD student at UCL

Supported by a supervisory team of expert academics, you will also benefit from:

    • Dedicated weekly PhD training seminar in term two of year one
    • Research-oriented seminars within and beyond the Department
    • World-leading computing and laboratory facilities
    • Access to UCL’s world-leading research environment and facilities
    • Access to a vast array of resources and opportunities across London

      How to apply

      If you are interested in working towards an MPhil or PhD, the first stage is to contact the relevant members of academic staff in order to discuss your project ideas. You will also be able to request information about specific opportunities and to discuss how your project will be funded.

      Formal applications are made via the UCL Application page. Questions on making an application can be addressed to the Geography Office or Dr Helen Bennion, Graduate Tutor.

      Your application will be assessed by two academics with relevant expertise and you may be invited for interview, either in person or by phone, email or Skype. This is an opportunity for us to find out more about your ideas, skills, experience and commitment to research and for you to learn more about how we work.

      Fees and funding

      Information about fees for postgraduate research can be found via the UCL Graduate Research page. Specific fees, and funding, if available, will be listed under individual Programmes.

      The Department hosts a range of studentships and scholarships awarded competitively within and beyond UCL. These include the UCL Graduate Research Scholarships and Overseas Research Scholarships and research training studentships awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Department is a key partner in the NERC London Doctoral Training Partnership and hosts the UCL ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Pathway in Human Geography. Information is posted on this page when these schemes are opened each year.

      Wolfson Scholarships

      Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities

      Application process is now open for the 2018-19 Wolfson Foundation Scholarships at the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences (SHS) at UCL. Drawing on its history of support for higher education and interest in the humanities, the Foundation is offering three postgraduate research awards in the humanities - these will be for three areas in history, literature and languages.

      For the 2018/19 academic year, the Joint Faculty has agreed to offer an additional scholarship so four awards will be offered in total.

      The intention is that Wolfson Scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students who demonstrate the potential to make an impact on their chosen field. Wolfson Scholarships will be awarded solely on academic merit. Ideally, the successful students would aspire to an academic career.

      The deadline for the applications is Friday 19 January 2018. The application procedure is detailed here and here.


      PhD Studentship in Extreme Citizen Science - development of data collection tools with non-literate participants

      Application process now open: please note this is an open-ended opportunity and will close when a suitable candidate is selected.
      Applicants with a UK and EU citizenship are eligible to apply.

      Applications are invited for one PhD studentship as part of the European Research Council (ERC) funded project named ECSAnVis (Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis & Visualisation) aimed at a developer. Citizen Science is the participation of members of the public in a scientific project, from shaping the question, to collecting the data, analysing it and using the knowledge that emerges from it. The challenge of Extreme Citizen Science is to enable any community, regardless of literacy or education, to initiate, run, and use the result of a local citizen science activity, so they can be empowered to address and solve issues that concern them. Over the past 4 years, the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) research group at UCL has demonstrated that non-literate people and those with limited technical literacy can participate in formulating research questions and collecting the data that is important to them. Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and Visualisation (ECSAnVis) takes the next ambitious step of developing geographical analysis and visualisation tools that can be used, successfully, by people with limited literacy, in a culturally appropriate way.

      For more information on ExCiteS and ECSAnVis, please visit here and here.
      For more information about the studentship and details how to apply, please see here.


      PhD studentship in the Extreme Citizen Science group - identifying systematic biases in crowd-sourced geographic information

      Application process now open: please note this is an open-ended opportunity and will close when a suitable candidate is selected.

      Applicants with a UK or EU citizenship are eligible to apply.

      UCL Department of Geography and the Ordnance Survey are inviting applications for a PhD studentship to explore the internal systematic biases in crowd-sourced geographic information datasets (also known as Volunteered Geographic Information - VGI).

      The studentship provides an exciting opportunity for a student to work with Ordnance Survey on understanding the use of crowd-sourced geographic information, and potentially contributing to the use of such data sources by national mapping agencies. Ordnance Survey is an active partner in its sponsored research and offers students opportunities to work on-site and to contribute to workshops and innovation within the business. In addition, the student will be part of the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL, which is one of the leading research groups in the area of crowdsourced geographic information and the study thereof.

      For more information about the project, the studentship and details how to apply, please see here.


      Graduate Research Scholarships/Overseas Research Scholarships/UCL-China Scholarships

      Applications process open for 2018 start

      UCL Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS), Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS) and UCL-China Scholarships Research Scholarships (UCL-CSC) aim to attract high-quality students to undertake research at UCL. Up to 25 UCL GRS awards and approximately 40 ORS awards are available annually to prospective and current UCL research students from any country. Applicants will be considered for a GRS, and overseas fee payers will also automatically be considered for the UCL Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS) and, if applicable, the UCL-CSC (China Scholarships Council) Scholarships.

      For full details of eligibility and the application process please go to:

      The application deadline is Friday 5th January 2018.


      The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership


      Applications are invited for our PhD programme, to start in September 2017


      The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership brings together nine of the world’s leading research centres in environmental science. Our partnership provides innovative doctoral training in a multidisciplinary research environment and fosters links between centres of research excellence, spanning NERC’s environmental science remit.

      We have 3 NERC – Funded PhD studentships available to start in September, as follows:

      • Removing pharmaceuticals and personal care products from household water using synthetic enzymes. With Prof Rakesh Kanda and Prof Susan Jobling based at Brunel University London, in collaboration with Dr Reinhard Laenge at Bayer.
      • Assessing impact of residential air purification on ambient living environments utilising enhanced optical particle sensors. With Prof Frank Kelly based at Kings College London, in collaboration with Dr Kay Yeong, Dyson Technology Ltd.
      • Optical properties of atmospheric aerosol using laser tweezers. With Prof Martin D. King based at Royal Holloway University of London, in collaboration with Dr Andrew Ward at Laser Science Facility, Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory.

      For further details of the projects please visit our website:
      Application is via an online form on our website:

      Deadline for applications: 11am, Friday 30th June 2017.

      Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview w/c July 10th 2017. 

      Please note: NERC funding is subject to candidates meeting RCUK eligibility criteria



      ESRC studentships in Human Geography at UCL Geography


      Applications process open for 2018 start


      ESRC studentships (+3 and 1+3) in the Department of Geography at UCL can be applied for via the Human Geography Pathway in the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

      We are particularly interested in applications that complement the Department’s existing research strengths. We will also consider applications for co-supervsion with other UBEL DTP pathways, which are listed here. Co-supervision is further available with colleagues at Birkbeck Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies.

      We would especially like to invite expressions of interest proposing interdisciplinary projects that might link the environmental and social sciences, which the Department is particularly well-suited to host, and which can be supported through joint ESRC-NERC or NERC-ESRC awards. In these cases, students would have a supervisory team including one social scientist and one environmental scientist, and would seek to bring together distinct approaches to environmental issues within an interdisciplinary framework.

      Studentships will be administered through the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership.

      Application procedure:

      1. Potential applicants through the Human Geography Pathway at the UBEL DTP should in the first instance contact potential supervisors to discuss project ideas, copying the Pathway Leader ( into correspondence.
      2. Following this, formal expressions of interest should be registered by sending the following information to the Pathway Leader ( in one Word or pdf document by Friday 8 December 2017 by 5.00pm:
        a) A project description (max 300 words)
        b) A short biography including track record and competencies (max 300 words)
      3. Potential applicants will be notified soon thereafter whether they are invited by the Department to submit a formal preliminary application to the DTP. Instructions on preparing and submitting preliminary applications to the DTP appear on the UBEL DTP’s ‘How to Apply’ guidelines. The deadline for formal preliminary applications is Tuesday 9 January 2018 at 4.00pm.


        London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP)

        We would like to invite applications from eligible candidates for LAHP studentships for research training in the arts, humanities and geography funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Please consult our webpages for the research interests of relevant staff who might be able to supervise your project and see the LAHP website for details.

        Students applying for an LAHP will usually be expected to hold a masters degree in a relevant discipline. Successful applicants will typically hold at least 2.1 and Merit level degrees or equivalent, with elements at 1st and Distinction level, especially in research-related modules. If you are currently studying for a masters, you would be expected to be on track to achieve at least a Merit with Distinction level elements.

        Students working at UCL Geography can register either for an MPhil/PhD in Geography or in Geography (Practice-Related). This latter programme allows students to develop a thesis alongside a body of creative work, which together make an original contribution to knowledge. As well as an excellent academic record, students applying for admission to the Geography (Practice-Related) route will be expected to have demonstrable prior training and experience in the field of creative practice that they wish to develop. This route will enable students to further develop their practice in tandem with rigorous academic research training in Geography.

        Please first ascertain your eligibility to apply via the information here:

        Applications are made through the LAHP website, which contains full details on eligibility and the application process. Please note the following dates:

        1 December 2016 – applications open via the online application portal
        13th January 2017 – Recommended date by which to submit an application for PhD study at LAHP partner institutions
        29th January 2017 – Applications deadline. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.
        6th February 2017 – Deadline for Supervisor Statement of Support
        Mid-March 2017 – Students must be in receipt of an offer on their chosen PhD programme
        Early April 2017 – Offers to successful candidates
        Within two weeks of the offer of award – students to accept/decline the offer
        1 October 2017 – Studentships to begin


        UCL Security Science Doctoral Research Training Centre

        UCL SECReT is the £17m international centre for PhD training in security and crime science at University College London, the first centre of its kind in Europe. It offers a comprehensive and integrated PhD programme for students wishing to pursue multidisciplinary security or crime-related research degrees. Each year the SECReT programme takes on a fresh cohort of between 10-25 students all wishing to complete a doctorate in crime or security-related field. Students come from a wide variety of scientific disciplines ranging from across the engineering and physical sciences through to the social sciences.

        For more details go to:



        Visiting research students

        Students currently enrolled on a PhD overseas can apply to study at UCL as a visiting research student to spend 3 to 12 months at UCL undertaking research which is complementary to the Doctoral/PhD project at your 'home' university. If you are interested in spending time in the Department as a visiting research student, you should contact members of staff who might be able to supervise your research while you are here. Further information on the application process can be found on UCL’s Visiting Research Students page.

        What our students say...

        “UCL Geography is a world-class department with leading scholars and a great reputation. It is located in central London in the heart of an academic community. It has great networks including with international scholars. It values both empirical and theoretical research. Staff are very friendly and offer great support.”
        Sam Halvorsen