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PhD programmes – University of Reading

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    Find the PhD that's right for you

PhD programmes

As a postgraduate research student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Reading, you will be part of a vibrant world-class research community.

You will be a member of our thriving interdisciplinary research groups and centres of postgraduate research, post-doctoral researchers and staff, and have access to state-of- the-art facilities.

We offer PhD programmes in the following areas:

  • Environmental Science
  • Geography
  • Human Geography
  • Soil Science

The Department of Geography and Environmental Science has an international reputation for the quality of its research and the excellence of its teaching, and is at the forefront of social and scientific research on issues of major cultural and environmental importance and relevance. We pride ourselves on providing a stimulating and friendly environment for our active community of postgraduate students to pursue research.

World-leading research

Our strong research environment focuses on key issues at home and abroad, from the social and economic impact of developments in the UK, to studies of Brazilian rainforests, Thai mangrove forests and livelihoods in Africa. We work with business and industry, charities and non-governmental organisations, and link with other departments whose expertise provide a diverse and stimulating research environment. Find out more on our research pages.

Research in geography and environmental science is nurtured by research clusters that provide an active interdisciplinary environment for engagement across themes, projects and regional studies. These research clusters focus on integrating social and scientific approaches and addressing real-world issues, including climate change and social diversity and inclusivity.

We have active collaborations with other departments within the University, offering access to state-of- the art resources for research, and have strong links with external institutions.

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers and external institutions, speak at conferences, seminars, and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere. In the summer term every year the School holds a joint Postgraduate Conference for all its research students.


In your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate training and have access to specialist modules agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers and lecturers, but also quickly find employment in industries such as environmental consultancies, engineering, GIS, ecotoxicology, NGOs and financial services.

“Since beginning my studies as a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, there has always been a strong sense of community. Fortnightly discussion groups are organised with topics covering the various PhD life hacks that we all encounter. Some of these sessions are run by fellow PhD students but some have also been taken by staff who are able to offer invaluable advice.”

Ben Jones

Current PhD student


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