Human geography at the University of Plymouth

To apply for a PhD at the University of Plymouth please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Human Geography, then clearly state that you are applying for a SWDTP studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Take a look at the Doctoral College information on applying for a research degree.

We welcome applications for PhDs in all areas of human geography. You will be joining a vibrant postgraduate research community with wide ranging interests in human geography.
Human geography at the University of Plymouth forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South West Doctoral Training Partnership for the South West (SWDTP), offering opportunities for funded PhD studentships. 
Research in human geography at Plymouth is part of the Centre for Environment and Society (CeRES) and our work examines Environmental Governance and Mobility, Culture and Society. For more details of our staff’s interests, please see our geography web page.
We offer studentships in the 1+3 and +3 routes. Students with a masters degree that fulfils the ESRC’s training requirements may register directly for a PhD on the three year +3 route. Students without a suitable masters can apply for the 1+3 route that involves studying for a masters in human geography research (the +1) followed by the three year PhD (+3). Our MSc Human Geography Research is an exciting and tailored course that meets ESRC requirements and provides the foundation for doctoral study.

Initial enquiries

For more details and informal enquiries, please contact Dr Simon Dickinson

How to apply

The ESRC SWDTP encourages collaboration across the universities of the partnership and with external organisations.
Closing date: 13 January 2023 (12:00 noon UK time)
Start date: *1 October 2023 (*dependent on +3 or 1+3 route)
The studentship is supported for three to four years depending upon the pathway and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend which is currently £17,668 per annum for 2022/2023.


Information on the eligibility criteria for full awards can be found on the South West DTP website.

Application process

You will need to submit the following documentation in order for us to consider your application: 
  • completed University of Plymouth online application form
  • completed SWDTP Studentship Application form
  • completed SWDTP Equal Opportunities form
  • completed SWDTP Supervisor Statement
  • copies of your academic qualifications (both certificates and transcripts of module/course marks)
  • two references (at least one should be an academic reference from the institution where you gained your highest degree)
  • please include a CV with your application
  • if applicable, appropriate proof of English proficiency
  • documents not included in the online application form can be emailed to by the application deadline.
Your application will only be considered if it contains the above and you have met our minimum criteria. If we need further details or additional documentation we will contact you.
If researchers in the appropriate pathway are interested in your research proposal, we will invite you to a formal interview for a more in-depth discussion about your application.
Your proposal will be initially considered and ranked by the University of Plymouth and other DTP institutions. If your proposal is ranked highly, you will proceed to the next application stage, which is an interview by the human geography pathway leads of all the SWDTP’s institutions. Your application and interview will then be considered by the SWDTP to determine whether a studentship is awarded.
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