Geography MPhil/PhD

Research areas:

  • Biodiversity and recent environmental change: over decadal to centennial timescales; threats to terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity; role of biodiversity in ecosystem function and resilience
  • Comparative urbanisation: studies of poverty and inequality including housing, infrastructure and socio-economic impacts of globalisation; studies of cities and urban dynamics; regional specialisations include the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas
  • Environmental modelling: interdisciplinary model-based science to understand environment systems and their interactions: research spans climate science, biogeochemical cycles, coastal and estuarine processes, ecological and hydrology systems and remote sensing technique
  • Past climates: reconstruction of past climates and ecosystem responses over long (tectonic to historic) timescales; climate signatures of critical intervals in human evolution; conceptualisation of long-term climate change
  • Science, policy and politics: studies of environmental history and landscape change; environmental politics and decision-making; geographies of risk; social adaptation to climate change and threats to biodiversity
  • Transnational spaces: cultural and historical geographies of modernity; race, gender and post-colonial theory; geographies of disease; migration and mobility in a global context.
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS): geo-temporal demographics of human populations, including biosocial geographies, migrations and applications in business and service planning; spatial decision support systems.

IRIS logo

Visit the IRIS research portal to learn more about researchers' activities, research groups, research centres and interdisciplinary networks across the whole of UCL.

IRIS department: Dept of Geography

Entry requirements

Normally a UK Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English level expected: Good


  • All applicants: 1 August 2014
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.


  • UK/EU Full-time: £4,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £2,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,200
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,250


Past research students have been receiving funding through a range o awards such as Research Council, University and Commonwealth scholarships, and we also have a number of students who self-fund or obtain work-associated funding. Funding opportunities vary from year to year, so please check the Geography website for up-to-date availability:

Scholarships available for this department

Wolfson Scholarships

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.

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website


A significant number of recent graduating doctoral students have gone on to lectureships and many others into university research, at institutions such as King’s College London, the University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore and California College of the Arts. Others have entered professions within government, nongovernmental organisations and the private sector.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Cardiff University, Research Fellow, 2010
  • Manchester University, Research Associate, 2010
  • University of Cologne, Lecturer in Geography, 2010
  • Overseas Development Institute, Research Fellow, 2010


Skills development is an important component of the research degree process, and UCL has a strong and varied graduate skills development programme. Undertaking research within the Department of Geography, graduate students have access to state-of-the-art research equipment and a variety of data archives. The department also offers research students a range of teaching assistant opportunities that provide valuable academic experience in numerical and writing skills development, and organisation and planning of learning and teaching.


Our gradute students attend and participate in departmental seminars which provide opportunities to network within the department, across UCL and with invited visitors from a range of external universities, institutes and organisations.

Next steps


Ms Fiona Mannion

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7579



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Prospectus subject


Faculty overview

Social and Historical Sciences


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Alumni View

"I made contacts at other universities and was encouraged to take part in conferences, receiving financial support to do so, which was great for getting general research experience and networking skills."

Emma Wiik

Research Associate, Loughborough University, 2012

Student View

"UCL provides its students with the opportunity to enrich their networks in the academic and business world. I have attended many career open day events organised either by UCL itself or by companies outside UCL."

Katerini Pylarinou

Degree: PhD