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.

      PhD studentships at the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC)

      Three University College London (UCL) PhD Studentship Opportunities

      University College London (UCL) has three co-funded PhD studentships in quantitative social sciences and statistics based in UCL’s Consumer Data Research Centre. The first two opportunities are ESRC awards administered through the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership in collaboration with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Kantar Worldpanel. The third opportunity is an EPSRC ICASE award in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell. All opportunities commence September 2018.

      These awards are open to applicants with backgrounds in quantitative social science and related disciplines, such as geography, GIS, social statistics, political science, economics, applied mathematics, planning, sociology, practical data analytics, software engineering, statistics and machine learning theory. Students will be expected to work with consumer data as part of an exciting multidisciplinary research centre.

      The studentships will cover the RCUK minimum:
      • Full payment of Home/EU tuition fees for three years.
      • Annual maintenance stipend (F/T): £14,777 (plus London Weighting, approximately £2,000) for 2018/19.

      If you are interested in applying, please:

      1. Ascertain your eligibility to hold an ESRC studentship here and/or an EPSRC studentship here. Note that full awards are intended for students ordinarily resident in the UK, although overseas students with strong backgrounds in advanced quantitative methods may be eligible in some instances.

      2. Determine which of the awards you wish to apply for and use the relevant application contact details listed below. The application deadline is 5pm on Friday 8th June 2018.

      3. Please include the following in your application:
      • Max 500 word covering email summarising your interest in pursuing a co-funded PhD studentship with the CDRC. Please either state which opportunity you are applying for, or if you are interested in all of them, please rank in order of preference.
      • Academic CV including marks awarded to date plus details of 2 referees.

      Please note that only strong candidates (at least 2.1/Merit with elements of first/distinction level) will be considered.

      Full details available here.


      Fully Funded NERC- CASE PhD studentship with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)

      Using Palaeolimnology to Inform Freshwater Restoration in Madagascar
      wwt_logo_RGB.jpgUCL Department of Geography and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are pleased to invite applications for an exciting fully funded PhD studentship which will inform wetland restoration in Madagascar and guide the reintroduction of a critically endangered endemic species; the Madagascar Pochard.
      The research will use a unique combination of ecological and limnological surveys together with state-of-the-art palaeolimnological techniques to assess environmental change in severely degraded Malagasy lakes over the last thousand years.  For the first time reference conditions will be established for wetlands in the central plateau region of Madagascar, and targets for restoration will be created. The project will involve fieldwork in Madagascar and the opportunity to work within an international team of conservation practitioners at WWT delivering community-based wetland management projects and conservation breeding programmes.

      For more information about the project, the studentship, eligibility and details of how to apply, please see 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 for development of mobile applications to support data collection in the rainforest

      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.

      The PhD studentship is part of the ECSAnVis (Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis & Visualisation) project that is funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The ECSAnVis project takes the ambitious step of developing geographical analysis and visualisation tools that can be used, successfully, by people with limited literacy, in a culturally appropriate way.

      This is an open post so there is no deadline for submission of the application. We recommend that interested candidates get in touch with main contact people and submit an application as soon as possible.

      For more information on the ExCiteS research group and ECSAnVis, please visit here and here.

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


      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