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Flexible modes of study to suit you

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.

Explore our PhD opportunities


Research that's making an impact

The University of Reading is ranked 3rd in the UK for research power in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences (Times Higher Education, Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of the latest Research Excellence Framework 2021).

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 University departments whose expertise provide a diverse and stimulating research environment.

Find out more about our research

Pushing boundaries through interdisciplinary collaboration

Research in geography and environmental science is nurtured by our 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 specialised resources for research, and have strong links with external institutions.

Doctoral training to help you grow as an academic

Training is an intrinsic part of your development as a researcher. As part of your PhD study, you will benefit from a programme of relevant training, and have access to specialist modules agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as attending a programme of transferable skills organised by the Doctoral and Researcher College.

You will be required to undertake courses on the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP).

Depending on the respective funder for your PhD, further training via attendance at advanced courses, meetings and workshops may also form part of your PhD programme.

You can apply for doctoral training and studentships from the NERC SCENARIO Doctoral Training Partnerships. These include a wide range of opportunities for placements and training with external partners.

There are opportunities for participation on established research projects run by our experienced staff.

Your future career

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.

We encourage you to write part of your thesis as research articles to develop your publication skills and get a head start in career opportunities.


Life in the Department

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


How we support you

You'll receive support from our Department as well as the Doctoral and Researcher College, which is the University of Reading's hub for all doctoral activity. 

Close up of PhD student's hand pointing with a marker pen while giving a lecture

Meet the team

Our community of staff includes internationally renowned and award-winning academics, recognised for the excellence of their teaching and research.

Athena SWAN Silver Award