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As a postgraduate research student in the Department of Meteorology at Reading, you will be part of a large and vibrant international community.

You'll work alongside leading academics and a thriving group of postdoctoral researchers.


Dedicated Department

We are the only dedicated meteorology department in the UK, and also host significant components of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

A new, state-of-the-art international headquarters for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is also to be built on our Whiteknights campus.

By choosing to study with us, you will join what will become the largest community of weather and climate scientists in the world.

"The skills learnt and the scientists that I was lucky enough to meet and work with during my PhD gave me the skills and confidence to go out into the post-PhD world". 

Dr Nathanael Melia, former PhD student

Global impact

  • The University has been awarded a 2021 Queen's Anniversary Prize in recognition of our world-leading research, teaching, stewardship and outreach on climate change.
  • We are ranked 5th in the world for Atmospheric Science (ShanghaiRanking 2023 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects).
  • We are 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).
  • We are ranked 6th in the UK for Earth and Marine Sciences (Guardian University Guide, 2024).
  • The University of Reading is the most represented organisation in the UK on the Reuters Hot List of the world’s top climate scientists 2021.
  • Our climate scientists played a leading role in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which warns that damaging effects of climate change are already being seen across the globe.
  • We gave the world climate stripes. Designed by Professor Ed Hawkins, the climate stripes present a compelling visualisation of how global temperatures have risen since the mid-19th century due to human-caused climate change. The stripes have been shared by the likes of Greta Thunberg and the United Nations, as well as thousands of others around the world.

World-leading research

The Department of Meteorology has a long track record of internationally-renowned research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits.

Research within the Department is broad and extensive, covering the areas of weather, climate, earth observation and space weather, with regular seminar programmes in all research areas.

Our pioneering research informs how governments, organisations, industries and communities respond to complex issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution and space weather.

97% of our research is world leading or internationally excellent and 100% of our research impact has been classed ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ (REF 2021, combining 4* and 3* submissions – Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences).

Collaborative environment

The Department of Meteorology has active collaborations with other departments at Reading, including Mathematics and Geography – providing you with opportunities for interdisciplinary research across campus.

We also collaborate with external institutions and other universities in the UK, including:

  • Met Office
  • European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
  • Centre of Ecology and Hydrology
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Exeter
  • Imperial College London.


These research partnerships offer exciting opportunities for collaboration, enabling you to broaden your studies and enrich your research.


SCENARIO is a doctoral training partnership lead by the Department of Meteorology at Reading, along with the University of Surrey, the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), and the NERC British Geological Survey (BGS).

NERC provide 12 fully-funded studentships per year and we increase the student cohort with co-sponsorship.

The scientific scope of SCENARIO is broad, spanning the physical, chemical and biological processes, with an overarching theme of "environmental risk and sustainability" over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales.

As a graduate of SCENARIO, you will play a part in advancing the quantitative science of the environment, understanding the interaction between people and environmental change, and in the use of environmental science and engineering by industry and policy makers.

Find out more about SCENARIO

Links with industry

We have long-established relationships with commercial and governmental organisations within the meteorological, climate and related sectors.

Our industy partners include the Environment Agency, NASA, the World Meteorological Organization, the European Space Agency, and the National Centre of Atmospheric Science.

These organisations actively participate in Department life – some collaborate in the delivery of our taught modules, for example – enabling you to learn from professionals in the field, and to gain insight into a variety of sectors and careers.


Overall, 90% of graduates from Meteorology are in work or further study within 15 months of graduation (based on our analysis of HESA data © HESA 2023, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020/21; includes postgraduate (taught) and postgraduate (research) Meteorology responders).

Many of our PhD graduates go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers, or find employment in public sector policy and research institutions, as well as industries impacted by changes in weather and climate.

Careers are available in a variety of areas, including weather forecasting, risk analysis, insurance and re-insurance, oil extraction and mining, and even in sports organisations.

Your training in mathematical and programming techniques can also lead to opportunities in finance and IT.

Read the Royal Meteorological Society's careers brochure (PDF)


Life in the Department

Join a supportive, collaborative research community at the forefront of climate science.

How we support you

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

PhD opportunities

 Explore research you're passionate about and help to advance our understanding of the natural environment. Opportunities include the Earth System Prediction Doctoral Training Programme, delivered in partnership with ECMWF, the UK Met Office and NCAS; and the Scenario Doctoral Training Programme, delivered with partners from the public and industrial sectors.

Athena SWAN Silver Award