Available PhD topics, current PhD projects, open projects, NERC and other funding bodies
Although many people do a PhD in order to go into academia, it can also be very beneficial for careers in industry and the private sector. A PhD is hard work and takes at least 3 years to complete, so you need to find a suitable topic, which will engage your enthusiasm and interest for the long-haul.
Funded projects open for applications
If you are interested in applying to do a specific PhD project in our Department (self-initiated, self-funded or through a non-DTP studentship), you should direct your initial enquiry to the named supervisor (or co-supervisor) who can guide you further. In cases of uncertainty, you may also direct your enquiry to the Graduate Tutor. Once a supervisor has agreed in principle to supervise your project, or if you are applying for a specific funded studentship, you must complete a formal UCL PhD application.
- Earth Sciences Open/Funded Projects
Using past archives to constrain baselines in avian biodiversity.
Supervisors: Dr Phil Mannion, Dr James Hansford, Dr Ryan Felice
Fully Funded The Royal Society PhD studentship The ideal candidate will have a good degree in the biological, ecological, or geological sciences. Although not a prerequisite, experience with programming and statistical languages, such as R or Python, is desirable. During the course of this project, the PhD student will receive training in: the collection and management of data from fossils, published literature, and archives; vertebrate anatomy and systematics; programming, statistical analysis, and diversity reconstruction; and the oral and written presentation of scientific results. There will also be the possibility of developing a taxonomic/anatomical side project. involve theoretical calculations of planetary forming materials with the opportunity to undertake some high pressure/high temperature experiments. Full project details(pdf)
Deadline for application: 23rd January 2023
How to apply: Application through UCL graduate school portal
Start date: No later than the 1st October 2023
The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).
The PhD topics shown here are representative examples of projects offered by our department that are eligible for funding through the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). The London DTP offers studentships covering all aspects of earth and environmental science, hosted by different London-based academic institutions including UCL.
- Past Life and Environments
Project Title Supervisor(s): Tracing siderite oxidation on the early Earth with Copper isotopes. Details Dr Susan Little; Prof Graham Shields Using the Past to Improve Predictions of the Future of Vertebrate Biodiversity. Details Dr Phil Mannion; Dr Alex Pigot Signs of life in Paleoarchean chemical sedimentary rocks: a strategy to search for extra-terrestrial life. Details Dr Dominic Papineau; Dr Matthew Powner The Cambrian explosion: causes and consequences. Details Prof Graham Shields; Dr Nick Lane The Evolutionary and biogeographic impact of the break up of Gondwana during the Cretaceous and Cenozoic Details Prof Paul Upchurch; Dr Julia Day Size control on extinction dynamics in Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera. Details Prof Bridget Wade; Dr Andy Purvis Quantifying temperature changes in the Oligocene icehouse. Details Prof Bridget Wade
- Solid Earth Dynamics
Project Title: Supervisor(s): The initial condition for the long-term evolution of terrestrial planets. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Prof John Brodholt The seismic signals of the heterogeneous Earth mantle. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Dr Paula Koelemeijer The dynamics of mantle plumes, and their geophysical and geochemical expressions. Details Dr Maxim Ballmer; Prof Ana Ferreira Role of fluids during faulting. Details Dr Nicolas Brantut; Prof Phil Meredith The deep nitrogen cycle – nitrogen storage in the subduction system. Details Prof John Brodholt; Dr Andrew Thomson Glacial erosion in the tropics: The Santa Marta Range, southern Caribbean. Details Dr Matthew Fox; Prof Andrew Carter Rates of drainage network evolution measured with detrital data and inverse methods. Details. Dr Matthew Fox; Prof Pieter Vermeesch Illuminate intra-crustal magma/gas transport beneath active volcanoes with very long-period tremors (VLP). Details Dr Teh-Ru Alex Song; Prof Chris Kilburn Mapping Core-mantle boundary anisotropy with core-reflected P waves. Details Dr Teh-Ru Alex Song The viscosity of the Earth’s inner core. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof John Brodholt Understanding the Earth’s cores: benchmarking the ELASTIC toolkit for core-forming materials. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof John Brodholt The structure, dynamics and composition of the Earth’s core. Details Prof Lidunka Vočadlo; Prof Ian Wood
- Earth, Atmosphere & Ocean Processes
Project Title: Supervisor(s): The aridity, drought and biodiversity impacts of Solar Geoengineering. Details Dr Peter Irvine Could high-latitude solar geoengineering refreeze the Arctic? Details Dr Peter Irvine; Dr Michel Tsamados The importance of micronutrient cycling in glaciated environments for the global carbon cycle – a case study from Greenland. Details Dr Susan Little; Dr Philip Pogge Von Strandmann Defining the source parameters for operational models of ash resuspension. Details Dr Emma Liu; Prof Tom Mitchell Data fusion of 20 years of polar remote sensing data: emerging climate trends? Details Dr Michel Tsamados; Prof Julienne Stroeve Deep Learning for radar altimetry echo classification and sea ice surface image recognition. Details Dr Michel Tsamados; Prof Julienne Stroeve Testing Earth’s thermostat with novel isotope tracers. Details Dr David Wilson; Dr Susan Little Ice sheet-ocean-climate interactions during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. Details Dr David Wilson; Dr Heather Ford
If you are interested in any of these topics, please contact the named supervisor for more information in the first instance. To apply for a DTP studentship, please do not apply to UCL directly but instead follow the DTP instructions. Whilst the topics illustrate a cross-section of active research within our Department, the list is not exhaustive and we also welcome enquiries from students who wish to formulate their own topics.