Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences | Study here | Prospective MPhil/PhD students
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MPhil/PhD research degrees

Information for prospective students

Our University of London MPhil/PhD programme provides an excellent forum for students to develop and enhance their specialist, as well as more general, transferable research skills. The programme allows students to gain insight into different research methods and acquire valuable experience both in carrying out large-scale research projects and teaching.

NERC London Doctoral Training Partnership

The department is part of the NERC London Doctoral Training Partnership - applications for 2018 start in September. NERC funded projects include fees, a student stipend, which is set in line with RCUK guidelines, and a research grant to cover any expenses associated with the project.

Applications for the additional studentship have now closed - project details are given below for reference only.

Eligibility: Applicants for NERC funded projects are expected to have a 2:1 or higher in a relevant degree, or equivalent work experience and meet residency requirements - more about eligibility requirements.

Birkbeck projects include (for reference only):

  • A geological puzzle related to the subduction history of the southern Antarctic Peninsula (Supervisor Andy Carter)
  • Fluvial and lacustrine sedimentation in a foreland basin (Supervisor Charlie Bristow)
  • Evolution of explosive magmatic systems on oceanic islands: example of Brava (Cape Verdes) (Supervisor Hilary Downes)
  • Assessing early hominin diet using carbon isotope analysis of cut-marked bone (Supervisor Phil Hopley)
  • Modelling the effects of partial melt on seismic waves (Supervisor James Hammond)
  • Joint Seismic tomography for the Africa plate and underlying mantle (Supervisor James Hammond)
  • Can boron isotopes be used as a proxy for palaeo-frugivory? (Supervisor Phil Hopley)
  • Constraining the glacial carbon cycle (Supervisor Philip Pogge von Strandmann)

If you want to know more about these projects or have your own idea for a project do not hesitate to contact an apropriate member of academic staff - contact details can be found on their linked profile pages.


Areas of research supervision

  • We welcome applications from prospective MPhil/PhD students in the following areas:
    • Clastic sedimentology
    • Earthquake geology
    • Environmental geochemistry
    • Geochemistry
    • Geochronology
    • Geomorphology
    • Geophysics
    • Volcanic hazards
    • Paleoenvironmental analysis
    • Planetary geology
    • Seismic hazards
    • Tectonics

Research environment

  • The Department has close links to, and shares premises with, the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London (UCL). Together, they form the UCL–Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences and were rated 6th in the 2014 REF.
  • The department has access to a wide range of research resources and expertise including well-established links with other London colleges and the Natural History Museum. In addition to standard equipment such as EMP, SEM and XRD and generous networked computing facilities, the Research School has specialist laboratories, and operates a worldwide fieldwork programme.
  • The Department has an active and vigorous research culture. This includes regular workshops, many visiting researchers and speakers, and numerous collaborative projects both within London, and at national and international levels.
  • Read about some of the research being undertaken by some of our current MPhil/PhD students.