UCL Graduate degrees


Earth Sciences MPhil/PhD

UCL 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 find employment within academia or geoscience-related industries.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£24,980 (FT)
£12,480 (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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

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:


Our expertise spans the dynamics of the Earth and planets, the materials that compose them and their properties, present and past processes occurring at their surfaces, the evolution of life and the environment, and the applied geosciences of natural hazards pollution and resources.

Research areas

  • 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.
More information can be found on the department website: Earth Sciences MPhil/PhD

About this degree

The London NERC Doctoral Training Program  (https://london-nerc-dtp.org/)

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
Based on academic merit

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship

UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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, remote sensing experts in the public sector (Environment Agency, National Physics Laboratory, NASA) 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-governmental agencies as well as in industry.


The department hosts cutting-edge facilities, including the UCL Hazard Centre, the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, a large suite of rock and ice physics laboratories and the London Geochemistry and Isotope Centre. UCL Earth Sciences has strong links with resources and hazard risk industries, climate policy, and with the space sector including the UK's only NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, Birbecks Planetary Sciences and Mullard Space Science Laboratory. 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?

UCL Earth Sciences is one of the leading earth sciences departments in the UK (4th in the UK for geology, environmental, earth and marine sciences, THE rankings 2019). World-class facilities are available to our students; these include Seismolab and rock mechanics lab, the Hazard centre, NERC’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (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 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. If you are interested in applying please follow us and sign up to our RSS feed for updates.

Department: Earth Sciences

What our students and staff say

Staff review

"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 Dobson

I teach in the Department of Earth Sciences Master’s programmes and I supervise Master’s student projects.
Professor of Earth Materials

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

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

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021