Research course

Earth Sciences

UCL - University College London · Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Months of entry


Course content

Our expertise spans the dynamics of the Earth and planets, the materials that compose them and their properties, present and past processes occurring at their surfaces, the evolution of life and the environment, and the applied geosciences of natural hazards pollution and resources.

The Earth Sciences Department at UCL is one of the leading earth sciences departments in the UK. World-class facilities are available to our students; these include NASA’s European Regional Planetary Image Facility (hosted by the department) and many state-of-the-art mineral physics and geochemistry laboratories. Graduate research students are given the opportunity to contribute and develop their communication and leadership skills as demonstrators, especially in laboratory and field classes. They acquire teaching skills through specially arranged training courses, and are encouraged to benefit from wider college activities available to them at UCL. The London Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) offers between 30 and 40 studentships each year in earth and environmental sciences. Its aim is to attain new standards of excellence in environmental science research training and deliver a transformative inter-disciplinary experience for PhD students in the heart of London. Our students will be trained during the first half-year by 9 of the world's leading research centres, before embarking on their specific projects in one of those institutions, including UCL. Please view the themes and associated PhD projects at If you are interested in applying please follow us and sign up to our RSS feed for updates.

Department specialisms

Dynamics and evolution of the crust: rock mechanics; high-pressure/high-temperature mineralogy and geochemistry Environmental geochemistry: pollution; hydrogeology; hydrochemistry; water resources Natural hazards: assessment of hazard and risk posed by geological events Palaeoclimate, palaeobiology and palaeoenvironments: micropalaeontology; vertebrate palaeontology; the Earth’s past climates and environments Satellite observation and modelling of polar climate and change Structure, geodynamics and evolution of the Earth and planets.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

UK students
£4,635 (FT) £2,315 (PT)
International students
£21,530 (FT) £10,765 (PT)

Our PhDs are funded by a variety of routes, but common ones include UK Research council funding (e.g. NERC, EPSRC, STFC), European funding (e.g. ERC) and collaborations co-sponsored by industrial partners (CASE awards); some PhD students also fund themselves. The cost of a PhD is in two parts: (a) fees and (b) stipend.

Funding opportunities available for students taking research programmes are available at:

Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
36 months


full time
36 months
part time
60 months

Course contact details

Prof Graham Shields
+44 (0)20 7679 7821
020 7679 3001