A close up shot of a fossil within a piece of rock

School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences

Find out more about the teaching and research activities that take place within this school, which sits within our Faculty of Science and Health

At the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences we're studying how our planet works, how it's changing and what we can do about it.

Merging two departments, each with more than 50 years of history, the School's skilled staff conduct impactful research and innovation that informs our relevant and engaging teaching. Our academic expertise covers areas including palaeontology, geology, geotechnical engineering, geography and environmental science.

We're committed to teaching our students through practical lessons and fieldwork, so they can learn from our experts, first-hand.


Hands-on learning drives how we teach in the classroom, the lab and the field. We help our students develop the knowledge and practical skills they'll need for future work and research.

School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences facilities

Discover the facilities available within the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences.

James Darling: Here in the school, we have a wide range of outstanding research facilities which allow us to really tackle major challenges and problems in Earth and environmental sciences.

 Some examples of those facilities include the Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit, where we have specialist, high resolution microscopes and facilities for studying materials at great detail.

 We have laboratories like the rock mechanics laboratory, soil mechanics, environmental chemistry laboratories, including specialist computing facilities for remote sensing.

 The laboratory facilities we have are essential to the research that we do, and they allow us to really understand how different materials have formed and evolved through time.

 They allow us to monitor environmental processes and try and use that data to predict how the earth may change in the future.

 Something we're really proud of in this school is that we train all of our students from undergraduate through to Master’s and postgraduate students on how to not only use the instruments but how to interpret data from them as well.

 We do work very closely with many companies who come and use our facilities or support projects using these facilities.

 Because we have equipment that's really quite unique and specialised, companies can come to us with a problem and we can use our expertise and our facilities to help them solve that problem.

 So it's very exciting for the research students to work on problems which have that very clear application in the real world.

 The MRes and PhD students get a really hands-on, really exciting, dynamic environment to work in.

 They're treated in the same way that staff are in terms of the training they receive, using a lot of world-class facilities, and that's part of our ambition to train our students to become leaders in solving environmental and societal challenges and equipping them with the tools they need to do that.

Learning on location

Students learn on residential fieldwork trips to Malta, Berlin, the Jurassic Coast, Somerset and the Isle of Wight. Self-funded trips to Lapland in Finland, Portugal, Malaysia, and Hong Kong are also available. We've also developed study exchange opportunities with universities in Spain, France, Australia and Canada.

Our students run tests and simulations in labs used by our research staff, including the X-Ray Fluorescence machine, gamma spectrometry, crystal growth, low temperature physics, geochemistry, environmental monitoring, and palaeontology labs.

Student integration

Cooperation and working with students actively shapes our teaching and assessment. Staff operate an open door policy, so students can look for guidance and support whenever they need it.

We work closely with the Students' Union Student Voice representatives to get regular feedback from students. We also run mid-term staff and student meetings to check in on how we're doing. 

We encourage our students to build networks and study groups with peers during their time at Portsmouth. The UoP Geography Society and Student Chapter of the Society of Economic Geographers are great opportunities to meet and work with like-minded students.


We run an employability conference every year during Induction Week. Portsmouth alumni drop in to talk to students about their graduate experiences, the jobs they're in now and working towards a career they're passionate about.

We have strong links with industry and often undertake site visits and invite industry experts as guest speakers. All of our courses offer the opportunity to undertake a placement year in industry or to study abroad.

Our courses are accredited by relevant professional bodies, so employers know that our students are highly skilled and job ready. Accreditations bodies include the Palaeontology Society, Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), Royal Geographical Society, The Geological Society and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IMMM).

Our teaching areas

Earth sciences courses

Study the planet we live on – how it was formed, how to manage disasters and solve the world's pressing problems on one of our Earth Sciences degrees.

Student and tutor examining rocks on coast
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Geography and environmental science courses

Explore the scientific processes and physical structures of the natural world, and our effect on them, on one of our Geography and Environmental Science degree courses.

Geography students on university trip to Sicily
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Our research aims to provide solutions to the complex environmental and geographic challenges we face today. It makes a positive impact at the local, national and international level.

Our research was submitted to Unit of Assessment (UoA) 7 and UoA14 in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. Both UoAs demonstrated research impact that was as outstanding or very considerable in terms of their reach and significance. Our impact case studies evidenced societal benefits in areas such as water quality monitoring, management of the Chernobyl exclusion zone and improving the wellbeing of international women migrants and their families in Indonesia.


Environmental, Geography and Geosciences

Explore the broad range of environment, geography and geoscience research we’re undertaking across our three areas of expertise.

Find out more

Partnerships and funding

We work with a very wide range of organisations to help solve environmental and societal challenges, and work towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. These important partnerships include local to international companies, government agencies, NGOs and charities.

Our research is funded by research bodies including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Royal Society, European Commission, Economic and Social Research Council, and The Leverhulme Trust.

Our research centres and groups

Much of our research takes place within the following cross-disciplinary research centres, groups and clusters:

Centre for Blue Governance

We aim to meet the holistic and multi-disciplinary research needed to inform blue governance mechanisms. We takes a more expansive view of Blue Economy to encompass marine and freshwater systems and conceptualises them as development spaces.

Centre for Applied Geosciences

We're researching the investigation and management of natural and manmade hazards to help communities adapt to environmental change.

Crustal Evolution and Tectonics Research Group

We're uncovering the earth's tectonic history and impacts.

Environmental Processes and Impacts Research Group

We're researching the Earth's changing environment and the influence of human activity.

Palaeontology and Environmental Change Research Group

We're researching the Earth’s history, biodiversity and environments.

Risk Reduction and Resilience Research Group

We're researching the drivers of risk while seeking more effective ways of building resilience.

Recent research projects include

  • Chemcatcher passive sampler

    We developed an improved passive water sampler, used to monitor water quality across the globe. The creation and uptake of the Chemcatcher has lead to the development of national and international standards for the use of passive samplers. It's been used to measure levels of pharmaceutical pollutants all the way to radioactivity in water after the Fukushima nuclear incident.

  • The Wildlife at Chernobyl

    We've assessed the radiosensitivity of animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and are creating sustainable ways to develop the area, including the creation of Atomik vodka.

Our staff

Michelle Sarah Hale Portrait

Dr Michelle Hale

Head of School


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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James Richard Darling Portrait

Professor James Darling

Associate Head (Research and Innovation)


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Carol Ekinsmyth Portrait

Dr Carol Ekinsmyth

Associate Head (Students)


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Andrew David Gibson Portrait

Dr Andy Gibson

Associate Head (Academic)


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Anthony Butcher Portrait

Dr Anthony Butcher

Programme Lead (Geosciences)


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Jonathan Stephenson Potts Portrait

Dr Jonathan Potts

Programme Lead (Post Graduate Taught)


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Caroline Day Portrait

Dr Caroline Day

Senior Lecturer


School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Faculty of Science and Health

PhD Supervisor

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Sabine Wulf Portrait

Dr Sabine Wulf

Associate Professor in Environmental Change


PhD Supervisor

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Nicholas Charles Pepin Portrait

Dr Nick Pepin

Associate Professor in Climate Science


PhD Supervisor

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News, blogs and podcasts

Find our more about our latest research successes, read blogs by our academics and listen to the latest ideas and discoveries that look set to change our lives in our Life Solved podcast.

Sustainability and the environment blog

In the Sustainability and the Environment theme blog, our experts cover topics including fast fashion, marine conservation, plastic pollution and the latest research in the fight against climate change.
Sustainability and the environment
Visit blog

Episode 4: Deep, Blue Thinking

Professor Steve Fletcher explains how international cooperation on our mysterious oceans could help save environments.
Just below the surface in the ocean, dark blue, light streaming through. Life Solved logo and title."
Listen now

Episode 6: The Politics of Water

Dr Julia Brown discusses her research into giving water access to whole populations.
Children and women walking carrying water buckets on their heads across a sandy path. Life Solved logo and title and bottom.
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Episode 7: Britain's Burning Future

Dr Mark Hardiman discusses climate change and how hot summers may become the norm in the UK.
Smoke rising from the ground after a wildfire devastated a forest. Life Solved logo and title.
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Episode 1: Plastic Waste and the Economics of Sustainability

Portsmouth researchers explore the problems faced by sustainability in society today and new breakthroughs coming out of Portsmouth.
Turtle swimming with plastic bag in its mouth, with Life Solved Logo in corner
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Explore the Faculty

Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.

School of Biological Sciences

Male biology student working in the lab
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Dental Academy

Dental Academy photoshoot, 14th November 2018
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School of Health and Care Professions

Female nursing student practising work with mock patient
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School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

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Department of Psychology

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School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science

Male student training on stationary bike in front of class
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Contact us

To get in touch, please contact our Faculty office.

+44 (0)23 9284 2994


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