Studying at PhD level
We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 5-6 years.
- Dedicated support service
- Doctoral research community
- Fees and funding
- How to apply/entry requirements
Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, as well as PhD by Distance.
PhD by Distance students spend the majority of their time at another location and normally have a supervisor/mentor at that location. There must be an academic or financial rationale for this status to be granted and the University assesses each application on an individual basis.
Additionally, some of our PhD students are involved in interdisciplinary projects or projects with an external partner. In these cases they may be supported by a supervisor from outside the University, and interact with a wider range of staff. Where an external partner is involved, students typically spend four-week placements each year with the organisation.
As a PhD student in the Meteorology Department, you will be provided with a desk in a shared office. Additionally, you will be given a desktop computer and access to our large shared computational cluster, as well as any appropriate software deemed relevant to your topic of study. Kitchen facilities, large coffee areas, and meeting spaces are available in all buildings, and a well-stocked departmental library is provided.
As a postgraduate research student at Reading you will have access to the Graduate School. At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for doctoral researchers to work and network with others. Old Whiteknights House is a beautiful Victorian building that has been carefully modernised to provide a range of excellent resources and amenities. It also houses a number of support staff who deal exclusively with doctoral research matters and administration at Reading.
Training is an intrinsic part of your development as a researcher. In the first two years of your degree course, you will follow a programme of relevant postgraduate lecture courses agreed between you and your supervisors.
You will also be asked to choose courses on the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP). Depending on the funder for your PhD, further training via attendance at advanced courses, meetings and workshops may also form part of your PhD programme.
The Graduate School's Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers a rich array of training sessions and workshops that have been especially designed to help you gain the additional skills that will enable you to carry out your research professionally and effectively. The RRDP is delivered primarily using the expertise of academic and specialist staff within the University and complements any subject-specific training that we provide. The RRDP includes training sessions on research methods, writing academic papers, getting published, public engagement and career planning.
In addition to the RRDP, doctoral researchers will also have the chance to access the following development opportunities:
- Preparing to teach – A programme focused on the skills needed for teaching and learning activities.
- Developing your potential as a leader – This leadership programme is jointly run with the triple accredited Henley Business School.
- Academic English Programme – Supporting international students to develop their academic English skills with a range of classes and services.
- PhD Plus – A scheme specifically for international doctoral researchers who are lecturers in their home country.
Over the course of your PhD you will communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.
The Department encourages you to attend conferences, summer schools, and other events to widen your network of contacts. To this end we assist with arranging travel and accommodation.
The Meteorology Department PhD students organise their own seminar and discussion group where you can talk about your work in a friendly, informal atmosphere. You will take part in a departmental PhD conference-style event in your second year, and give a departmental poster presentation in your third year. At an appropriate point in your studies you will be invited to give a full lunchtime seminar in the department's regular series. There are also opportunities to teach on undergraduate courses.
You will be assigned at least one supervisor within the Department of Meteorology who will normally meet with you once a week to provide support. Additionally, you will be allocated a monitoring committee of two people who will meet you twice a year to ensure that you are on track with your studies and help you to resolve any issues you may have with progression or supervision.
The Department can also provide special needs support, which you find out more about using the contact details on this page. You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office.
Located in the Graduate School, the Doctoral Research Office provides advice and support for current and prospective students. The Doctoral Research Office is a key point of contact for any doctoral researchers who have questions relating to registration, student status, immigration, studentships, University policy and procedures.
You will join a vibrant doctoral community within the Department of Meteorology, working alongside postdoctoral researchers and academic staff. PhD students within the Department arrange a weekly seminar and discussion session open to all students.
In addition to offering training and support to doctoral researchers, the Graduate School co-ordinates a range of activities that bring students together from across the University. These include the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading. The conference features a number of competitions and presentations including the PhD researcher of the year award.
Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – delivered by a current or recent postgraduate research student. This is a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to hear about high quality doctoral research taking place at Reading.
The achievements and success of doctoral researchers are regularly promoted through the Graduate School Bulletin and on the Graduate School homepage.
You can find out more about fees for University of Reading PhD programmes by clicking on the link below.
Sources of funding
The main sources of financial support for PhD study in Meteorology are the:
- National Environmental Research Council (NERC)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
either in the form of:
- individual awards to the student, made via the Department, or through
- project studentships, funded by grants held by a particular supervisor, or
- CASE studentships, again held by a particular supervisor.
CASE studentships are co-operative awards in which the student enhances their training by spending periods with the CASE partner (such as the Met Office) in a workplace outside the academic environment. The CASE partner provides modest extra funding to the students plus expenses that are incurred during visits. CASE studentships are a great way to build contacts within industry, either for future employment opportunities or in support to a career in academia.
Other sources of funding PhDs sponsored entirely by UK industry or research establishments are also often available. Early application to the Department is recommended.
Qualified UK graduates are usually eligible for full funding by the Research Councils, whilst other EU students are usually eligible for funding of fees only.
We have many projects available for students with their own funding. Those projects are available for self-funded students or students who wish to apply to international postgraduate research scholarship competitions.
Information on potential funding for students from Commonwealth countries is also available from the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Information on scholarships for students from India and other developing countries can be found on our Felix Scholarships page.
Information on the University's studentships open to overseas applicants can be found on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
Alumni fee discounts
If you have already studied at the University of Reading you will get 10% off the fees of the first year of your postgraduate degree (up to a maximum of £1,000).
Apply for your alumni fee discount.
If English is not your first language, the University's International Study and Language Institute can help you develop your academic English skills and offers a range of courses and programmes to suit your specific needs.
English Writing and Language Practice programme
This six-week programme has been specifically designed for postgraduate researchers. It is supplemented by one-to-one advisory sessions, helping you to apply what you have learned to your thesis writing.
Academic English Programme
The Academic English Programme (AEP) features courses aimed at building your confidence in spoken language situations, developing your accuracy in the English language and improving your writing skills.
The University of Reading offers the peace and tranquillity of an award-winning parkland campus, just a short bus ride from a vibrant town centre. Our thriving community is made up of students from around the world, and our range of clubs and societies offer many opportunities to meet like-minded people.
- Our campuses
- Town life and transport links
- The Library
- Clubs and societies
- Little Learners Nursery
- The Little Owl Pre-School
1. Check our entry requirements
To be accepted on our PhD programme, prior specific knowledge of the research field is not required but we expect you to have either a 1st or upper 2nd class degree, or a master's with Distinction or Merit, in physics, mathematics, or a closely related physical or environmental science.
If you are from outside of the UK, an equivalent level of first or master's degree is required. You will also need to demonstrate you have a certain level of proficiency with written and spoken English.
For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.
2. Select a topic
There are different routes for selecting a PhD research topic:
If you are interested in a broad area of research, advertised projects covering specific research topics can be found on our Research Opportunities
If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you. You can receive feedback by contacting the department.
3. Identify a Supervisor
Specific research topics come with their own supervisory team, so there is often no need to identify a supervisor yourself. If you wish to propose your own research topic however, please contact the Department's PhD Admissions Tutor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +44 (0) 118 378 7639 and we will identify a suitable supervisor for you.
You could also get in touch with the potential supervisor if you have someone specific in mind, but this should be in addition to contacting the PhD Admissions Tutor.
It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.
4. Make an application
Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme.
This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including a CV, BSc and, where appropriate, master's transcripts, and the details of two appropriate referees. Although you will be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally.
We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.
Although most new students join the PhD programme in September, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.