Project code



School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

There's an increasing interesting in understanding wildfires – how they occur, and how frequently they happen. This has, in part, been driven by climate change predictions, particularly how this might alter the expression of fire where their impact is limited, such as in Northwest Europe.

On this self-funded PhD programme, supervised by Dr Mark Hardiman, you'll examine these changes. Your project could involve reconstructing past wildfire frequency during periods of climate change. It could also involve studying charcoal preservation, transport and sedimentation.

The work will involve:

  • Techniques including high and low-powered microscopy
  • Analysis via Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Charring experiments and use of a sediment flume
  • Reconstructing past environments studies in marine, lacustrine and peat bog archives

The best way to examine these changes is to study sediment archives containing past incidence of fire through periods of abrupt climate change e.g. the Last glacial to Interglacial transition.

Potential projects include:

  • production of high resolution macro and micro-charcoal palaeo-records to reconstruct past wildfire frequency during periods of abrupt climate change
  • study of charcoal preservation, transport and sedimentation in both ancient and modern geomorphic systems.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

  • A good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending on the course, minimum second class or equivalent) 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
  • All applicants are subject to interview

How to apply

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Geography (Physical and Human) PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.