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Resources for current MPhil/PhD students

The Research School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck and University College London encompasses all of the graduate and research activities of the Department of Earth Sciences, UCL, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, which are co-located on the Gower Street UCL site.

We aim to provide you with an opportunity to gain a MPhil or PhD and, in return, you undertake to do so within the time allotted. If you hold a studentship allocated from the Research Councils (e.g. NERC) and you over-run the allotted time, the School may be heavily penalised. Please ensure you read the MPhil/PhD handbook which explains the two-way nature of this commitment.

MPhil/PhD Handbook 2017-18[PDF opens in window]

Guidelines for transfer from MPhil to PhD degree registration [PDF opens in window]

Geology MPhil/PhD course information

This section highlights key aspects of your research study.

Supervisors and supervisory panels

  • Your research training will be provided primarily by your Principal Supervisor, with assistance from a Subsidiary Supervisor, who, possibly with others, comprise your Supervisory Panel. This Panel monitors your progress and provides, where necessary, a broad range of expertise that you can tap into, e.g. if your project spans several different sub-disciplines, or if your Principal Supervisor is away from the Research School for an extended period.
  • Academic guidance is a matter for supervisors and the Supervisory Panel, unless exceptional circumstance warrant otherwise.

Postgraduate tutor

  • The Postgraduate Tutor takes an overview of the progress of research students in the Research School of Earth and Planetary Science, and acts as liaison between you, Birkbeck and the University of London. The Postgraduate Tutor may also provide logistic, pastoral or financial assistance to students when it is needed.

Financial support

Training and support

  • On registration, Birkbeck graduate students become members of the Birkbeck Graduate Research School, which provides training and support for MPhil/PhD students.
  • Bloomsbury Post-Graduate Skills Network: The College is also an active member of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network, meaning you can take advantage of various facilities offered at other University of London colleges located in the Bloomsbury area. They collaborate on a number of activities, including doctoral research training.
  • There may be undergraduate courses, or modules from the Research School's MRes course which are relevant to your research, or can help to widen your academic horizons. Employers increasingly look for breadth of experience, and this is one way to obtain it. Talk with your Supervisor or the Postgraduate Tutor about such options.
  • A major advantage of studying in London is the many opportunities it offers for hearing about the latest scientific developments.


Research seminars

  • Undertaking research should not isolate you from the wider issues in earth science. You should use the opportunity to hear about those wider issues and to communicate your research ideas and results to a wide audience.
  • To assist you there are research seminars during term-time. The Departments of Earth Sciences of UCL and Earth and Planetary Sciences, Birkbeck, jointly organise a seminar series each Friday in term-time at noon. Email circulars of the topic and room location are circulated each week - they may also be listed on the Department's events calendar. Seminars are given by specialist speakers, usually from other universities, and provide a glimpse of exciting and controversial developments in Earth Science research. Birkbeck Earth and Planetary Sciences also organise an informal seminar program during one term for staff and students to present their research.
  • Most scientific societies, including the Geological Society, the Mineralogical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Society, and the Royal Institution, are located in central London. These societies organise meetings with specialist speakers on a regular basis.
  • In addition, our central location allows you to attend the many conferences that are held in London. Keep an eye on notice boards for information about conferences and society meetings and remember that most societies and conferences have preferential rates for research students.

Department services

  • Research Student rooms have telephones for incoming calls and outgoing internal calls, but may not have external telephone lines. Use of telephones in any of the Research School offices is available only in an emergency.
  • Incoming mail (internal and external) is placed in the postgraduate student pigeon-hole in the main School office, and you should check this regularly.
  • Email addresses are allocated to all students after registration.
  • Online services are provided for legitimate use in connection with your studies.
  • Other support and technical services, such as thin-section making and photography, can be obtained only by using the official Requisition Forms, which must be signed by your supervisor.