Research course


Open University · Department of Geography

Entry requirements

PhD: The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or master's degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK. You should also have experience of academic research in the previous four years, normally in the form of either a master's degree in research methods, an undergraduate degree with a research element in the final year, or work-related experience with evidence through research reports. If you're not sure if you meet the entry requirements, please contact us ( MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages (in the menu on the right of our Research areas page) give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Culture and environmental change in the Anthropocene; Finance, space and power; Global environmental governance and policy; Migration and mobilities; Place, space and belonging; Visual and sonic cultures: theory and method.

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Geography at The Open University has built a reputation for producing rigorous and innovative intellectual work in both human and environmental geography, a serious commitment to active engagement in the world beyond the academy, and the development of an intensive yet flexible research culture. Its achievements are reflected and recognised by having 76 per cent of its research rated as being world leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Research in the Department of Geography is conducted through the OpenSpace Research Centre which promotes research on geographical and environmental concerns. Students are regarded as valued members of the department, able to interact with research-active academic staff and post-doctoral fellows based on campus in Milton Keynes, as well as with other staff and students in the Social Science Faculty and its associated research centres.

We offer two research degree programmes: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil).

Key facts

The Department of Geography prides itself on:

  • cultivating a genuinely collective research culture sustained by regular seminars, collaborative meetings, reading groups, workshops, conferences and visits from external scholars
  • linking with external funding bodies and partner institutions to generate major collaborative projects such as the recently funded Earth in Vision (AHRC), Stories of change (AHRC), Creating the new Asian woman (HERA), Creating Hackney as Home (ESRC) and Tracing modes of infrastructure financing and their effects on cities (Australian Research Council Discovery Grant)
  • hosting a lively postgraduate community of around 15 students on the campus who play a critical role in our research culture
  • maintaining an excellent record in terms of the number of our postgraduate students who go on to further post-doctoral research or permanent academic posts.

For further information please visit the postgraduate research degrees section of our departmental website.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months


part time
24 months
distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

Discipline Convenor
+44 (0)1908 654456