The Department of Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and other planets. The department has strong links with resources and hazard risk industries with most graduates finding employment within academia or geoscience-related industries.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £4,915 (FT) £2,455 (PT)
- £22,850 (FT) £11,420 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
- Dynamics and evolution of the crust: rock mechanics; high-pressure/high-temperature mineralogy and geochemistry
- Environmental geochemistry: pollution; hydrogeology; hydrochemistry; water resources Natural hazards: assessment of hazard and risk posed by geological events
- Palaeoclimate, palaeobiology and palaeoenvironments: micropalaeontology; vertebrate palaeontology; the Earth’s past climates and environments
- Satellite observation and modelling of polar climate and change
- Structure, geodynamics and evolution of the Earth and planets.
Our PhDs are funded by a variety of routes, but common ones include UK Research council funding (e.g. NERC, EPSRC, STFC), European funding (e.g. ERC) and collaborations co-sponsored by industrial partners (CASE awards); some PhD students also fund themselves. The cost of a PhD is in two parts: (a) fees and (b) stipend.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
- Overseas students
- Based on academic merit
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Recent graduates have chosen either to pursue a career in academia as postdoctoral researchers or seek employment in the oil, gas and mineral extraction industries. These have included positions as micropalaeontologists, geologists, hydrogeologists, stratigraphers, sedimentologists, geophysicists in the public sector (Environment Agency, National Physics Laboratory) and private sector (Badley Ashton Reservoir Geoscience).
Many of our recent graduate research students have moved straight on to postdoctoral research positions at UCL and elsewhere that can then be used as a platform for beginning an academic career. Many others continue their research in government or non-government agencies as well as industry.
The department hosts the NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, Aon Benefield UCL Hazard Research Centre, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum and many other external research institutions. The department and UCL maintain an alumni network where professional events are organised to help new graduates embark on their chosen career.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The Earth Sciences Department at UCL is one of the leading earth sciences departments in the UK. World-class facilities are available to our students; these include NASA’s European Regional Planetary Image Facility (hosted by the department) and many state-of-the-art mineral physics and geochemistry laboratories. Graduate research students are given the opportunity to contribute and develop their communication and leadership skills as demonstrators, especially in laboratory and field classes. They acquire teaching skills through specially arranged training courses, and are encouraged to benefit from wider college activities available to them at UCL.
The London Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) offers between 30 and 40 studentships each year in earth and environmental sciences. Its aim is to attain new standards of excellence in environmental science research training and deliver a transformative inter-disciplinary experience for PhD students in the heart of London. Our students will be trained during the first half-year by 9 of the world's leading research centres, before embarking on their specific projects in one of those institutions, including UCL. Please view the themes and associated PhD projects at http://london-nerc-dtp.org/. If you are interested in applying please follow us and sign up to our RSS feed for updates.
Department: Earth Sciences
Student / staff numbers › 56 staff including 28 postdocs › 60 taught students › 66 research students
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Earth Sciences
92% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"UCL has a unique combination of experimental and theoretical expertise in the area of Mineral Physics, which I work in, but it is the excellent collaborations I have with my colleagues that keeps me here."
Professor David DobsonI teach in the Department of Earth Sciences Master’s programmes and I supervise Master’s student projects.
Professor of Earth Materials
"UCL is a worldclass university in the heart of London, and I loved doing my PhD surrounded by the best of the arts, culture and food and drink. The Earth Sciences department is friendly and supportive, and I wish I could stay to see the development of the brand new labs!"
Rosalie TostevinEarth Science PhD
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit 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.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now