School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences
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. Our Geography and Environmental Sciences courses are ranked in the top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2020).
Courses we offer are ranked highly for student satisfaction: our Environmental Science course achieved a 100% rating, and our Geography BA and Geography BSc courses were rated at 95% and 94% respectively (NSS, 2019). We also score highly for employability, with more than 90% of our Engineering Geology and Geotechnics graduates in professional or managerial roles within 6 months of graduation.
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.
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.
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
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.
The work we do is diverse and cross-disciplinary: we're studying the geology of Mars, finding new ways to prevent flooding in the Mississippi basin, improving fire prevention strategies by combining ecological data with Indigenous knowledge, and analysing how organisations can better respond to disaster events.
We're proven world leaders in our field, with 100% of our research impact classed as outstanding or very considerable in terms of reach and significance (UOA 7, REF2014).
Partnerships and funding
We work with organisations such as the Mountain Research Initiative Group and CommonSensing Project funded by the UK Space Agency.
Our research has been funded by research bodies including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Science and Technology Facilities Council, Royal Society, Royal Geographic Society (RGS) and the Economic and Social Research Council.
Our research areas
Explore the research areas covered by the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences.
With the future of our planet under threat from environmental crises such as climate change, we're examining our planet and the evolution of life – and using our findings to protect it.
Research centres and groups (A-Z)
Much of our research takes place within the following cross-disciplinary research centres, groups and clusters:
- Centre for Applied Geosciences
- Centre for Blue Governance
- Cluster for Sustainable Cities
- Climate Change and the Environment research group
- Crustal Evolution research group
- Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring research group
- Engineering Geology and Natural Hazards research group
- Environmental Technology and Management research group
- Marine Environmental Science research group
- Materials Structures and Geotechnics research group
Recent research projects include
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.
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.
Explore the Faculty
Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.