Postgraduate research opportunities for 2017 admission

Postgraduate research opportunities for 2017 admission

We are pleased to announce an exciting and diverse range of PhD projects for entry in 2017. Applications from prospective UK, EU and international students are welcome at any time.

Applying to undertake a PhD in Geographical and Earth Sciences

  • All applicants will need to complete the online registration process, accessible here
  • All applicants will need to upload information about their previous study (copies of your degree certificates and transcripts of undergraduate or previous degrees, and official translations if needed), a CV, and two supporting reference letters on headed paper. They must also upload a one page research proposal.
  • In addition, applicants whose first language (or the language of instruction for their first degree) is not English are required to include evidence of their English language ability. For more information please look here
  • International applicants will need to upload an image of their passport photo page.
  • Advice on visas can be obtained from the Recruitment and International Office (RIO). Information on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) can be obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (external page here).
  • Please be aware that this is an outline for application to undertake a PhD at the University of Glasgow. Scholarship competitions and other funded schemes (for example, Research Council awards) will have their own specific requirements alongside of this.


College Scholarships are now available to fund PhD students. These are not tied to a particular topic, and so exceptional students interested in either Earth Surface Research or Human Geography may apply. The scholarships provide an annual stipend in-line with the Research Council rate (approx. £14,002) and tuition fees and are available to home/EU or international students. Applicants should apply to the university online (February 15th 2016).

The online application system can be found here:

Applicants should indicate that they wish to be considered for a College of Science and Engineering Scholarship on their application


MSc by Research

Please see our Earth Systems Research for all current MSc by Research opportunities in

Please contact the named supervisor on your chosen project to discuss the proposed research before you apply.

Further details on how to apply for a research degree at the University of Glasgow are here

MSc by Research - Marine and Coastal Science

There are many exciting opportunities for Marine and Coastal Science MScs by Research available in the School. Fee waivers (UK equivalent) may be available for suitably qualified candidates. 

Currently available projects:

Ocean acidification analogues: CO2 venting variability and organismal adaptation

Supervisors: Drs Nick Kamenos (UofG), Tali Babila (U of California Santa Cruz), Noelle Lucey (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Ocean acidification (OA) is likely to detrimentally affect marine biodiversity and ecosystem function. Real-world contemporary studies are often conducted at marine CO2 vent representing analogues for future OA; these give us important information on the mechanistic responses of marine biota to changes in OA-induced carbonate chemistry. However, vent systems can be variable over time adding an extra dimension to organismal responses at vent sites. This research will assess venting variability at the Ischia vent system and determine its role as a driver of organismal responses to projected OA. The student will gain expertise in state-of-the-art approaches to analysing determining venting processes, with the potential opportunity to validate laboratory results at field vent sites.


Breathing reefs: ocean-atmosphere carbon exchange of tropical coral reefs

Supervisors: Drs Nick Kamenos (UofG), Adrian Bass (UofG), Heidi Burdett (Lyell Centre)

Corals are ecosystem engineers that create morphologically complex reefs, supporting some of the most diverse ecosystems in the oceans. Importantly, corals are not the only engineers within reef systems - fleshy and coralline algae, sponges and seagrasses all contribute to the reef structure and help support coral reef biodiversity. This complex community, from single-celled microbes and algae to predatory animals, results in an intricate web of metabolic processes, energy transfer and elemental cycling. All these processes rely on the uptake or release of CO2 from the surrounding water column, which subsequently affects the rate of CO2 exchange at the air-sea surface overlying the reef and therefore impacting local and regional atmospheric CO2 levels. This project will quantify patterns in air-sea CO2 gas exchange driven by coral reef ecosystems, both now and under projected climate change. The student will gain expertise in state-of-the-art approaches to CO2 gas flux analysis and will conduct climate change aquarium experiments, with the potential opportunity to validate laboratory results in the Egyptian Red Sea. 


Spatiotemporal drivers of Atlantic environmental change during the last century

Supervisor: Dr Nick Kamenos (UofG), Prof. Trevor Hoey (UofG).

There is evidence of spatiotemporal differences in Atlantic environmental change over the last century. However at present we have a poor understanding of the drivers of such differences and the impacts the may have on marine productivity. This is because we do not have highly resolved spatiotemporal records of Atlantic variability over the last century. This project will determine spatiotemporal trends in the Atlantic marine environment over the last century using proxy-derived environmental reconstructions and the drivers of those trends. The student will gain expertise in state-of-the-art approaches to determining climatic variability and its drivers including assessing proxy-based reconstructions and modelling techniques. 


Are coral reefs blue carbon repositories?

Supervisors: Drs Nick Kamenos (UofG) & Dan Exton (Operation Wallacea)

Coastal ecosystems sequester significant quantities of carbon compared to their limited distribution. Termed ‘blue carbon’, these repositories are particularly valuable for their long-term storage of carbon in sediments over geological time scales. Whilst mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses have all been identified as key blue carbon stores, the role of coral reefs remains uncertain. Coral reef ecosystems are built by Scleractinian corals; ecosystem engineers which secrete a calcium carbonate to form their skeletons and the reef. The process of calcification captures carbon but also releases it; this leads to uncertainty in their balance of carbon storage and release. The cycling of carbon on coral reefs is thus more complex than that of other shallow coastal carbon stores. This project will assess the potential for carbon storage of Caribbean coral reefs in the context of the changing climate. 


In the first instance contact Nick Kamenos to discuss proposed research projects before you apply.

Further details on how to apply for a research degree at the University of Glasgow are here


Earth Systems Research Group (ESRG)

PhD studentships in the Earth Systems Research Group (ESRG)

We are offering studentships in six areas of Earth Systems science:

  • Earth-life systems
  • Climate change
  • Planetary Science
  • Earth surface evolution
  • Shallow crustal
  • Global biogeochemical cycles

 Applications are to be made online via the graduate school of the College of Science and Engineering


Planetary science

 Shallow crustal projects

NERC Funded PhD Studentships IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership

IAPETUS is a NERC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership, and has between 12 and 16 fully-funded postgraduate studentships for new, high-calibre PhD students who will be commencing their studies in September/October 2016.

Applications are now closed but the projects for 2016 can be found here:


IAPETUS’ postgraduate studentships are tenable for between 3 and 4 years, depending on the doctoral research project the student is studying and provides the following package of financial support:

A tax-free maintenance grant set at the UK Research Council’s national rate, which in 2015/16 is £14,002 (pending confirmation).
Full payment of their tuition fees at the Home/EU rate & access to extensive research support funding.
Part-time award-holders are funded for between six (6) and eight (8) years and receive a maintenance grant at 50% of the full-time rate.

All studentships will commence in September/October 2016, except in exceptional circumstances.

Eligibility: All applicants need to meet NERC’s eligibility criteria to be considered for an IAPETUS studentship and these are detailed in NERC’s current studentship handbook. IAPETUS is only able to consider applications from Home/European Union candidates. International candidates are not eligible to be considered and where an candidate from another EU country has not been resident in the UK for 3 years or more prior to the commencement of their studies with IAPETUS, they will only be eligible for a fees-only studentship.

IAPETUS is looking for candidates with the following qualities and backgrounds:

A first or 2:1 undergraduate degree, or have relevant comparable experience;
In addition, candidates may also hold or be completing a Masters degree in their area of proposed study or a related discipline; &
An outstanding academic pedigree and research potential, such as evidenced through the publication of articles, participation in academic conferences and other similar activities.
How To Apply:

Prospective applicants are first asked to contact the project primary supervisor to discuss their fit to the project. Please do this as early as possible. The supervisor will advise whether the candidate should submit an on-line application to the University of Glasgow for graduate school entry.

Instructions on how to apply to the University of Glasgow can be found here:

Importantly, in addition to the materials requested by the University of Glasgow (application form, transcripts, CV, references), applicants should also include a cover letter, no longer than 2 pages of A4 in length, detailing your reasons for applying for a PhD and why you have selected your chosen IAPETUS doctoral research project.

University of Glasgow applications must be received by Friday 22nd January 2016. Candidates should ensure they are aware of what documents should be submitted for a complete application, and, if invited by the supervisors to apply on-line, sufficient time exists to complete the application. Only one candidate will be nominated by the supervisors for each project. These candidates will be considered at an IAPETUS-wide selection panel on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 and the successful candidates will be notified shortly thereafter.


Human Geography Research Group

MRes & PhD Scholarship in Urban Geography

Summary details:

The Human Geography Research Group (HGRG), School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (GES), University of Glasgow, currently seeks applications for a fully-funded MRes & PhD scholarship package.

The appointed student will undertake high-quality research with an urban geography focus, commencing studies in September 2017. The scholarship is supported by an award from the Urban Studies Foundation.

Deadline for applications: Monday 5th June 2017


Scholarship routes:

There are two potential routes for this scholarship:

(i) 1+3 Route

The recipient is registered and funded for a one-year taught masters degree in GES (‘MRes in Human Geography: Spaces, Politics, Ecologies’), September 2017-August 2018, followed by registration and funding for three years of PhD study, October 2018-September 2021.

(N.B. Registration for PhD will be subject to successful completion of the MRes degree).

The MRes component of the scholarship provides a full stipend (c. £14, 300 per annum) and postgraduate taught tuition fees (£7250) sufficient to cover costs set for a student from the UK, or EU.*

Details of the MRes in Human Geography degree programme can be accessed here:

The PhD component of the scholarship provides a full stipend (c. £14,300 per annum) and postgraduate research tuition fees (£4,200 per annum) sufficient to cover costs set for a student from the UK, or EU.*

The PhD component of the scholarship also carries up to £750 per annum as a Research Training Support Grant, which can be used flexibly on training, conference and/or fieldwork costs (in liaison with appointed PhD supervisors).

(ii) +3 Route

The recipient will have successfully completed a credible taught Masters-level degree programme in Human Geography (or a cognate discipline) by September 2017, and will be registered for three years of funded PhD study, October 2017 to September 2020.

The scholarship provides a full stipend (c. £14,300 per annum) and postgraduate research tuition fees (£4,200 per annum) sufficient to cover costs set for a student from the UK, or EU*.

The scholarship also carries up to £750 per annum as a Research Training Support Grant, which can be used flexibly on training, conference and/or fieldwork costs (in liaison with appointed PhD supervisors).

* University of Glasgow currently expects that tuition fees for EU students entering in 2017 will continue to be set at the same level as that for UK students, future funding arrangements for EU students will be determined as part of the UK’s discussions on its future relationship. The scholarship cannot cover the full fees for an ‘International’ student (£19,500 per annum).  Applications will be accepted from ‘International’ (non UK/EU) students, based on an understanding that personal contributions would make up the annual difference between the Home/EU and International fee [i.e. £15,300 per annum]).


We welcome scholarship applications from students wishing to opt for either the 1+3 or +3 route.

Students eligible to apply for the 1+3 route will have (or expect to have) a 1st class or 2.1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree result for an Honours Geography (or cognate subject) programme.

Students eligible for the +3 route will have:

-          at least a 1st class or 2.1 (or equivalent) result for an Honours Geography (or cognate subject) undergraduate degree programme

-          (or expect to have) a 'Merit' (or equivalent) or Distinction result for a Masters-level programme in Human Geography (or a cognate discipline).


Urban Research Focus

The scholarship is to be awarded to a student of outstanding ability and academic potential seeking to undertake a PhD on a research topic that will clearly contribute to scholarship in urban geography, and, complement the current research activities of the Human Geography Research Group.

Details of HGRG research threads can be found here:

The scholarship awarding panel will consider all proposed doctoral projects with a clearly articulated urban geography focus, and those which are embedded in cities and urban sites.

Possible fields of inquiry include:
* global south urbanisms
* environmental urbanisms
* creative urbanisms
* cities of austerity / resistance
* health and illness in the city

* urban mobilities
* emotional and embodied urban geographies


Applying for the Urban Geography Scholarship

An application should include:

(i) CV, containing: details of higher education qualifications; content of undergraduate and/or Masters degree programme and grades attained; employment record (if appropriate); personal statement of academic interests and skills; other relevant information (previous research experience, publications, presentations, public outreach work, community engagement activity); and, the names and contact details for two academic references.

(ii) a sample of academic writing (up to 3000 words in length). For instance from a dissertation, a coursework essay or assignment, a magazine or other published article.

(iii) a summary statement outlining a possible PhD research project covering the following: (a) focus of the project and research questions; (b) potential contribution to relevant research literatures (in urban geography and wider human geography); (c) potential impact 'beyond the academy' (e.g. to public policy, public awareness, social justice agendas, community planning, etc.); (d) envisaged methodology, data sources, fieldwork locations; and, (e) any ethical considerations. This statement should be no more than three pages of A4 (Arial 12 point) in length.


Applications should be submitted by email to:


Deadline for applications: Monday 5th June 2017

Contact for Enquiries

Potential applicants are welcome to contact the Convenor of the Scholarship Appointing Committee - Dr Cheryl McGeachan ( - with queries or for further advice about making your application.

For information, the other members of the Appointing Committee will be Dr Emma Laurie and Dr Ursula Lang.

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed in person (or via Skype) on June 20th 2017. 


Summary of staff research areas in Human Geography

Deborah Dixon: Feminist Geopolitics; Monstrous Geographies; Art/Science Collaborations; Aesthetic Geographies. Deborah’s research work is primarily concerned with the interplay between poststructuralist and feminist materialist theories, as manifest in the biographies of various ‘monstrous’ forms, from Enlightenment beasts in the French countryside to the channelling forms of spiritual mediums, as well as the fleshy medium of Bioart, and the labouring bodies of migrant workers.

Dave Featherstone: Geographies of solidarity; Political Cultures of Internationalism; Historical Geographies of Labour and Resistance; Translocal social and political movements; Political Song (in association with the Janey Buchan Political Song Archive at Glasgow University); Climate Justice; Political Articulations of the Crisis. Dave's research is based at the intersections of political and historical geography. He has core research interests on the relations between space, politics and resistance/ subaltern contestation. He is keen to work with students who are developing a direct political engagement through their research in various ways.

Ozan Karaman: urban political economy, economic geography, and critical social theory and focuses on themes of neoliberal urbanism. Ozan has three ongoing research agendas: 1 Urban neoliberalism in Turkey: I particularly focus on urban renewal and regeneration projects implemented in Istanbul and the grassroots resistance against them; 2 Comparative urbanism: Through collaborations I examine variety of urbanization processes across the North-South divide with the goal of destabilizing and/or adding to existing conceptual categories in urban theory; 3 Theorizing the urban revolution: There is an increasing awareness among critical urban theorists that urbanization has become part and parcel of the predominant circuits of capital accumulation, instead of being secondary to them. Drawing from Henri Lefebvre’s work, this research agenda examines the emergence of the “urban society” and the meaning of politics in a completely urbanized world.

Hayden Lorimer: historical-cultural geographies of landscape; animal geographies and more-than-human geographies; environmental change and writing cultures; histories of geographical knowledge; experimental methodologies and geographies; geographies of the senses / sensuous geographies; regional writing and topographic cultures; questions of Scottish 'cultural heritage.'

Cheryl Mcgeaghan: Cheryl's ongoing research interests concern historical and cultural geographies of mental ill-health and asylum spaces, history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, histories of science, life-writing and biography, and psychotherapeutic practices such as art therapy. Methodologically, I am interested in critically investigating the practices of the ‘archive’ and using visual methods to capture situated memories.

Simon Naylor: Historical geographies of science, technology and exploration; Historical and cultural geographies of weather and climate. Simon's research investigates the historical geographies of the natural sciences, including botany, zoology, geology, antiquarianism, geography, meteorology, geophysics, and terrestrial magnetism, as well as economic and social survey. He is interested in the significance of specific places and settings for the development of scientific ideas, practices or techniques and in the relevance of particular spatial units - landscape, region, or nation for instance - for the conduct of science.

Hester Parr: Emotional and embodied geographies; Mental health and illness; Arts and Health; Experimental methodololgies; Ethnographies of everyday life; Creative writing. Hester is interested in geographies of emotions, embodiment and creativity with respect to health and well-being. Her research expertise includes 20 years of work on social and cultural geographies of mental health and illness. Hester has interests and experience in working via overt and covert ethnographies, collaborative film-making, focus groups, interviews-on-the-move, internet surveys and email-based research relationships, telephone interviewing and co-writing, participatory research relationships.

Chris Philo: Historical geography of mental health subjects (asylums, doctors, patients, 'illnesses'); Contemporary health geographies of different kinds of chronic conditions; Geographies of children and childhoods, with particular reference to the neglected fields of very young children; Episodes and people in the history of geographical inquiry; Philosophical and social-theoretical engagements with matters of geography, space and location.

Jo Sharp: Subaltern Geopolitics; Feminist Geopolitics; Social Ecologies of Zoonoses. Jo's research seeks to reconstruct an alternative vision of the current “war on terror” from the point of view of a continent which is usually rendered silent in various geopolitical visions, or little more than a “site of violence and disorder” and thus always offering the possibility of threat to security. She is also working on zoonotic transmission patterns among animal hosts, which are responsible for transmission to humans, and the key socio-economic and behavioural determinants of human disease risk in different agro-ecological settings.

Ian Shaw: Political geography; Political philosophy; More-than-human geographies. Ian is interested in the geopolitical transformations associated with the rise of drones in U.S. national security strategy and beyond. In particular, his approach emphasises why the drone is a political actor - a technology that is slowly but definitively changing social, territorial, and sovereign relations. The point of such work is to fully understand the objects and materials that are responsible for producing inequality, difference, and change in the world.