Sustainable Resources MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The cross-disciplinary UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources conducts research, teaching and enterprise work on the sustainable use of natural resources, with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals. Our strong links to industry, policymakers and other academic institutions provide an excellent foundation for PhD study.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£5,860
£2,930
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£26,200
£13,100
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This research degree has programme start points in September and January but applications are open throughout the year.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree. Applicants with a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is desirable. 

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: Level 2

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

PhD students at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources work on a range of research projects relating to the sustainable use of the world’s resources. Using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, our research analyses natural and human systems, on global, regional, and local scales.

Through undertaking a research degree, our PhD students demonstrate the capacity to organise, carry out and communicate a substantial piece of research, presented in a thesis that demonstrates academic rigour and originality.

If you have a research idea that falls within our research themes, an MPhil/PhD in Sustainable Resources could be the right path for you. To get started with your application, find a potential supervisor with similar research interests in Step 2 of our 'How to apply' checklist and submit an informal expression of interest to them using the departmental form, including a referenced research proposal and curriculum vitae (CV). They will be able to give you feedback before you submit your formal application. 

Who this course is for

Our PhD students come from a wide range of backgrounds, at different career stages. They use their research degree as a stepping stone to careers in a range of sectors. They are united by their passion to make the world a better place, and their commitment to creating and communicating evidence to achieve this goal.

What this course will give you

You will work in a vibrant and cooperative academic research environment. While everyone has their own research project, we strongly encourage students to interact with other students and staff. We run internal and external seminar programmes, and the many universities and societies in London offer a rich academic environment for broadening your horizons in anything that interests you.

You will have access to a desk in the department, to libraries, to online resources, to specialist computing facilities, to software and to other resources as required.

You will have access to a wide range of formal and informal training opportunities, including taught courses, to underpin your personal development. The programme does not have a formal taught element. The only formal examinations are the upgrade from MPhil to PhD, at the end of the first year for full-time students, and the oral examination of your thesis.

You will be encouraged to attend and present your work at international conferences and workshops.

The foundation of your career

Our PhD graduates have become senior figures in international organisations (e.g. International Energy Agency, World Bank), government, academia (e.g. UCL, Yale, Columbia), research institutes (e.g. Asia-Pacific Energy Research Centre, EU Joint Research Centre), and companies. Discover some of our alumni’s experiences and career pathways.

Employability

You will learn to be an independent researcher with the ability to identify and understand issues, and design and carry out a research programme to address them.

A wide range of careers are available at the interface of the economy, resources and the environment.
 

Networking

Supervision and mentorship are available from world-leading researchers with national and international contacts and collaborations across policy, government, industry and academic sectors. These links provide real opportunities to network and collaborate with a wide variety of external partners. Students have the opportunity to showcase their research at national and international conferences. Our students also gain access to networking events, career workshops and exclusive seminars held by UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and the other institutes within the school.

Teaching and learning

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.

Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.

Research areas and structure

Our research is built around five intersecting themes:

  • Abiotic resources
  • Biotic resources
  • Definitions and indicators of sustainable resource use
  • Green economy
  • Resource efficiency

Research environment

“My favourite part was that the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources culture gave me the perfect combination of the freedom to pursue my own research interests, and academic excellence through my brilliant supervisors and inspiring colleagues to exchange ideas, develop skills and build long-lasting links. “ - Florian Flachenecker, graduated 2018

UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources has a large PhD cohort working on a wide range of projects on natural and human systems, including global, regional and local studies. Our staff and students have a passion to make the world a better place, and a commitment to creating and communicating evidence to achieve this goal.

We are based in Central House in the centre of London. Desks are available for all students and academics using a hot-desking system.

In the latest national research assessment (REF 2021), our Faculty was number one for Research Power in the built environment, with 91% of research deemed ‘World Leading’ and ‘Internationally Excellent’. Most of our research is undertaken in partnership with government and industry, grounding our work and create real-world impact.


     

All students are initially registered for an MPhil degree. Those studying full-time for a PhD undertake a formal “upgrade process” at the end of their first year, including a presentation and viva, and if successful are registered as PhD students. Students have up to two upgrade attempts.

The PhD programme normally lasts for three years. Once you have completed this initial period, you are able to enter an additional year of “Continuing Research Status”, with no further fees, if your studies are sufficiently advanced. Some funders instead offer four-year scholarships with no possibility of entering Continuing Research Status. You submit a thesis for assessment in an oral viva at the conclusion of your studies.

It is possible to study for an MPhil rather than a PhD degree from the outset, but this is rare.
 

Part-time students follow the same programme as full-time students, except that the programme length is five years, with up to two additional years in Continuing Research Status, and the first upgrade attempt normally takes place after 18 months.

Accessibility

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.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £26,200 £13,100

Route code RRDEERSSUR01

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas.

The Built Environment Faculty Office provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund, Bartlett External Training Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition.

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

Funding your studies

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

More information about the funding available for studying with us is available from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

The ESRC UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Centre for Doctoral Training (UBEL) offers a number of scholarships each year. Please see details of the 'Social and Policy Studies of Energy and the Environment' grouping.

We also occasionally have funded studentships available. These are advertised on the Funded Research Opportunities page and can be found by filtering to the ‘Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources’. If you would like funded studentship opportunities sent to you via email, please register your interest in studying with us.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 13 January 2023
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

The first step is to approach a potential supervisor by completing an expression of interest form. Only those supervisors who are taking on new students at present are listed. Please do not contact more than one potential supervisor at any time.

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL's Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).

Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

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