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Research Topics and PhD Opportunities

Below is a list of potential areas for postgraduate research organised by the research group with which the topic is associated. PLEASE CHECK EACH PROJECT DESCRIPTION FOR DETAILS OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES.

We welcome applications from students who wish to come up with their own projects. Please discuss these with a potential supervisor.

Environmental Dynamics

The main foci of the group are (i) determining environmental variability throughout the Quaternary and into the future and (ii) establishing the effects and feedbacks of this variability in climate and land management on land surface processes. The research focuses on regions especially sensitive to environmental change (tropical, cold and fire-prone) and also considers interactions between climatic change, human disturbance and catastrophic events. To watch the video, please click here

The group undertakes research in glaciology and the cryosphere, specialising in understanding the processes that regulate glacier dynamics, flow instabilities and surging, and glacier fast flow. The group uses a wide variety of techniques including geophysics, numerical modelling and remote sensing, and current field projects span the Arctic, Antarctic and Alps.

Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation

This group's research addresses a range of environmental issues including the interactions between vegetation and climate, glacier dynamics, and urbanization. The group is instrumental to the Climate and Land-Surface Systems Interaction Centre (CLASSIC), which is a NERC Centre of Excellence.

Migration, Boundaries and Identities

An understanding the importance of place at national, local and personal levels is central to the agenda of contemporary human geography. The research undertaken within this group focuses on the social and political construction of place, nationalism and nationhood, on relationships between international migration, globalisation and the conceptualisation of place, and on geographies of exclusion, particularly as these relate to issues of race, gender and childhood. The members of the group are strongly inter-disciplinary in their approach and work closely with colleagues across the University. Much of this research has a strong policy emphasis and the group hosts the University's Centre for Migration Policy Research which focuses on the ways in which the realities of national and international migration for migrants, the communities from which they depart and those to which they subsequently move or pass through are conceptualized and represented within policy and practice.

We are particularly interested in recruiting new research students in the following areas: 

  • Forced migration, labour migration, and 'mixed flows'
  • UK and European asylum and migration policies
  • Governance of international migration
  • Migrant rights
  • Gender and migration
  • Children's experiences of migration
  • Geographies and speces of national identify
  • Counter-urbanization and counter-cultural migration

Social Theory and Urban Space

The group aims to advance theoretically informed understandings of space and spatiality, with particular reference to modern and postmodern cities. This theoretical ambition embraces a range of conceptual approaches, most notably those associated with poststructuralism. The group is especially well known for its systematic transformation of the conceptual architecture of Human Geography through an engagement with the work of Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, Zygmunt Bauman, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. Theoretical research is conducted within a wide variety of societal contexts, including consumerism, film and visual culture, urban regeneration, the knowledge economy, the media, health-care, and world cities. The group also hosts the University's Centre for Urban Theory (CUT)  which is dedicated to mobilizing the intellectual resources of the full spectrum of disciplines for the advancement of urban theory. 

Details of research activities currently being undertaken or developed by members of this research group can be found here. We are particularly interested in recruiting new research students in the following areas:


Information about the application process for all research projects in both human and physical geography can be found here.