Research course

Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry Research Group

Plymouth University · Faculty of Science and Engineering

Entry requirements

Please enquire.

Months of entry


Course content

Our research involves both fundamental and applied multi-disciplinary investigations of the origins and fates of a variety of natural and pollutant organic chemicals in the environment. These include: studies of oil pollution effects and the identification of oil residues involving collaborations with ecotoxicologists; studies of the biosynthesis and biodegradation of natural organics such as lipids and nitrogenous compounds by micro-organisms such as algae and bacteria and the use of these lipids as climate proxies; studies of pollutant dispersion from oil production platforms and studies of the fate of estrogenic and pharmaceutical residues transported via sewage into the environment.

The major areas of research that currently occupy the group's interest are:

  • Characterisation and geochemical fate of highly branched isoprenoids (HBIs)
  • Characterisation of the unresolved complex mixture (UCM or colloquially the "hump") of hydrocarbons in petroleum feedstocks and products and the environmental toxicology of petroleum hydrocarbons
  • Fate of pharmaceuticals in the environment
  • Fate and effect of plastics in the environment
  • Characterisation and reactivity of organic nitrogen compounds

Fees and funding

Please enquire.

Qualification and course duration


full time
24 months


full time
36 months

Course contact details

Prof. Steve Rowland