Physical and Human Geography postgraduate research degrees

female student carrying out survey of Maltese coast

Postgraduate research in physical and human geography

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in Physical and Human Geography

If you're looking to take your studies and expertise in human or physical geography to the next level, the University of Portsmouth is the perfect place to do it.

Environmentally and socially, the world is in a state of great uncertainty, and through our Physical and Human Geography work, we're exploring the roots and impacts of social and environmental crises, such as worsening inequality and climate change. We're looking for new ways to combat them – and when you study for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll play your own part in turning our expertise into action.

The School of Environment, Geography and Geosciences supports postgraduate research in a range of topics, from climate change in mountain environments, geographies of youth smoking, and innovations in river restoration, to management of community water resources in rural Uganda, the use of social media in health campaigns, and reconstructing glacial environments.

In the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF2014), 60% of our research in Geography was classed as having outstanding or very considerable impacts in terms of its reach and significance – with all of our impact being recognised as ‘considerable’.

Types of research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Physical and Human Geography below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

Physical & Human Geography PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Physical and Human Geography, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD and MPhil projects

Fully-funded projects

There are currently no funded PhD projects available in this area – for more information on funding your own research project, visit our pages on funding your research degree.

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6-12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my research degree cost?

PhD and MPhil

  • Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
  • Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
  • International full-time students: £16,400 p/a*
  • International part-time students: £8,200 p/a*

PhD by Publication

  • External candidates: £4,407 p/a
  • Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,680 p/a

*All fees are subject to annual increase

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan.

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD or MPhil include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

You'll also have access to fully equipped physical geography, GIS and photogrammetry labs.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.


Apply for a research degree in Physical and Human Geography by completing our online form.

October (2020 start)

February (2021 start)

October (2021 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across the areas of expertise within our Physical and Human Geography research.

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