Research course


University of Portsmouth · Department of Geography

Entry requirements

A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

October, February

Course content

Why take this course?

The Department of Geography supports postgraduate research across the diversity of research interests. Recent examples of PhD research topics include: climate change in mountain environments; geographies of youth smoking; innovations in river restoration; management of community water resources in rural Uganda; the use of social media in health campaigns; and reconstructing glacial environments. This diversity is also reflected in the list of topics linked to our bursary competition and the topics where applications can be made all year round (see below).

Environmental Processes and Change: Our researchers are able to undertake projects and supervise students across a number of physical geography themes including coastal and marine processes; glaciology and glacial geomorphology; climate change (particularly in mountain and arctic, and urban/heritage environments). Staff also specialise in river restoration and management projects. Our research is both laboratory and field based across a number of sites.

Geographies of Health, Wellbeing and Lifecourse: Researchers in this group are able to supervise projects that cut across a number of themes. These include ludic (or playful) geographies; geographies of health and health behaviours; ‘mumpreneurship’ and gendered identity, families and community; sustainable urban living and sustainable water management in developing countries.

Historical Geography and Spatial Analysis: Individuals in this group focus on the compilation, analysis, storage and visualisation of large, complex historical datasets. Geo-semantic approaches are used for information management and resource discovery; railroads and regional industrial development in the 19th century USA; history of cartographic representations; military geography and quantitative ‘public historical geography’.

Module Details

  • Environmental Processes and change
  • Environmental and climate change in arctic and alpine/mountain environments
  • Climate science
  • Glaciology and glacial geomorphology
  • Coastal and marine processes and change
  • River management and restoration
  • Sedimentary archives of climate and environmental change
  • Weathering science

Geographies of Health, Well-Being and Lifecourse

  • Individual health and well-being - how place and space shape health outcomes and behaviours
  • The business practice of mothers and how these link to gendered identity, families and community
  • How play is fundamental to human experience
  • Water resource management in South Africa

Historical Geography and Spatial Analysis

  • Data warehousing, big data and spatial analytics
  • History of cartography
  • Historical census analysis
  • Historical geography of immigration
  • Migration and employment change
  • Themes in regional economic development
  • Land use and environmental change
  • Public historical geography
  • Historical military geography

Student Destinations

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the comprehensive support we provide in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service - Purple Door - can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities.

The Graduate School Development Programme offers a series of dedicated workshops on career planning, specifically for research degree students. You will also have access to consultations with careers advisers or online support. This service is available for five years after graduation.

Fees and funding

UK students
full-time students: £4,121 p/, part-time students: £1,590 p/a *Fees are subject to annual increase.
International students
full-time students: £12,600 p/a, part-time students: £6,300 p/a *Fees are subject to annual increase.

Qualification and course duration


part time
48 months
full time
24 months


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Research Team - Faculty of Science
023 9284 2994