Research with the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences


The postgraduate programme portfolio within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science spans an exciting range. Whether you're coming from a background in the social or physical sciences or from engineering, our programmes produce professionals who will be uniquely able to confront the global challenges facing our world in the 21st century.

Our programmes have been designed to address many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We give our students the knowledge and skills required to thrive in environmental and sustainability sectors right across the world.

Plymouth prides itself on being an award-winning university for sustainability and hosts the Sustainable Earth Institute. We look forward to welcoming you to our community. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

What degree is right for me? 

We offer a range of taught and research masters programmes as well as the opportunity to undertake research to gain a doctoral degree. See below for details of the different types of degree and pathways for higher level study.

MSc: 1 year duration, 2 semesters of taught content (120 credits), dissertation (60 credits). Many of our MSc programmes include a work placement module.

MRes: 1 year duration, 1 semester of taught content (60 credits), followed by an expanded research dissertation (120 credits)

ResM: 12 – 18 months, 40 credits of taught modules (either semester) alongside an extended research project.

PhD: 3 – 4 years, no requirement to take taught modules in the majority of cases. The focus is on a major research project.

The South West is a Natural Powerhouse

Our current energy system is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Renewable energy provides alternative sources for the future energy system that will reduce our current greenhouse gas emissions and aid in the essential transition away from fossil fuel use. The South West is to be at the heart of this transition.

At the University of Plymouth, we offer two MSc programmes to support graduates' ambitions to work within the offshore renewable energy sector.

PhD research 

Research in the school covers earth sciences, geography, environmental science and chemistry. We aim to create and support high quality research opportunities that attract the best talents and build capacity for future high quality international research in the disciplines covered by our school. Many of our staff are at the cutting edge of research – as shown by our performance in the most recent national assessment of UK research (REF2014) and our researchers have access to our world-class analytical facilities that underpin both our teaching and research.

We offer PhD studentships on a competitive basis in all areas of research focus. Studentships are advertised widely and come from a range of funders including the ESRC South West and the NERC ARIES Doctoral Training Programmes, GeoNetZero Centre for Doctoral Training and external funding bodies. Studentships are usually advertised through the autumn and spring of the preceding academic year but may come up at any point within the academic year. Students with independent funding are welcome to contact academic staff at any time to discuss projects.

PhD coordinator: Gregory Price.