Research course


Cardiff University · School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

Entry requirements

Suitable for graduates in Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Chemistry and Physics. A first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent is required.

Months of entry

January, October, July, April

Course content

Cardiff's School of Earth & Ocean Sciences is the only one of its kind in Wales and has a large, internationally recognised research programme. The School provides training and a high level of support, and the postgraduate community makes a vital contribution to the University’s international reputation for research.

The Geomicrobiology Research Group represents a research area within the Environmental Science and Policy research theme which encompasses the broad range of environmental and sustainability science and policy research within the school.

Our research investigates environmental microbial (prokaryotic) activities particularly in near and subsurface sediments. These two environments have vastly different rates of microbial activities, with rapid recycling of organic matter and nutrients in surface sediments to very slow “geological’ activities (100- 1000’s years), with extraordinary low energy flux, in deep sediments. However, both of these activities exert control on global biogeochemical cycles and Earth’s chemical steady state, such as nutrient release for continued photosynthesis and organic matter burial which results in excess oxygen in the atmosphere. In addition, organic matter preservation and alteration provide the feedstock for oil and gas formation, and especially as temperatures increase, “dark energy” for sedimentary bacterial processes to kilometre depths. This biosphere:geosphere interaction continues into very hot deposits (>100°C) and include processes previously thought to be purely thermogenic (e.g. oil and gas formation). Many microbes in marine sediments are only known from their DNA sequences and a focus of our research is to discover their metabolism and environmental function.

Information for international students

International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months


full time
24 months

Course contact details

Prof Ian Hall
+44 (0)29 2087 4830