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

We offer PhD programmes in the following areas:

  • environmental science
  • geography
  • human geography
  • soil science.

Areas of expertise

Our research spans a broad range of topics at the interface between humans and the environment.

Geographies of justice, care and responsibility

We focus on inequalities, participatory approaches, politics and governance in diverse fields. These include environmental change, food networks, gender and caring relations, and citizen science at local–global spatial scales.


Global development, environment and sustainability

We critically examine global flows of ideas and resources looking at the interactions between poverty, population, livelihood development, governance and sustainability of natural resources.


Past climate and environmental change

We use a range of palaeo-data and modelling approaches to understand past human–environment–climate relationships at regional to global scales, over millennial to glacial-interglacial time frames.


Environmental science

We conduct in-depth and cross-disciplinary environmental science to address global challenges. We have a strong focus on soil, water and air, all in relation to ecosystem services, sustainable production and natural hazards, and we work at scales ranging from molecular to Earth system.

Particular research focuses are:

  • bio-geochemistry, pollution and soil science
  • hydrometeorology and hydrology, including water quality and global-scale forecasting
  • natural hazards (such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, fires, and landslides)
  • remote sensing, and land surface process and ocean bio-geochemical modelling.


Find out more about our research

PhD supervision

When you undertake a PhD with us, you'll be assigned two supervisors, based on your research proposal and whether this aligns with their specialisms.

Our expert academics will work closely with you to ensure your time with us as a PhD student is as rewarding as possible.

Find out more about our staff and the areas of doctoral research they supervise

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Types of doctoral degree

We offer several routes to a doctoral qualification, so you can find the one that suits you and the topic you wish to study.

Student using her laptop sitting outside a cafe

PhD by Distance

Our PhD by Distance programme allows you to benefit from the expertise of a Reading-based supervisor, while conducting your research in a different location.

Female student sitting in library making notes at a desk with a pile of books next to her

Part-time study

Part-time PhDs are available as well as full-time, so you can choose a mode of study that suits your circumstances.

Find a PhD

Find a PhD opportunity that aligns with your interests and career ambitions.

We want to ensure that your time spent with us is as rewarding as possible. To allow you to explore your various options, here's a list of some of our currently available PhD opportunities.

We do, however, offer many more options, so please contact us for further information. You can propose your own project that aligns with our research. Find out more about how to apply for a PhD.


Why study with us?

We undertake social and scientific research on issues of major cultural and environmental importance.


Life in the Department

We pride ourselves on providing a stimulating and friendly environment for our active community of doctoral students.



Our researchers are tackling the most urgent global issues and helping to shape our future. They're combating challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, social inequalities, and poverty.

Athena SWAN Silver Award