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Different course options

Study mode

Full time


4 years

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Earth Sciences

Course type


Course Summary

About us

The Department of Earth Sciences is one of the leading centres of research and teaching in the UK. 94% of our research has been classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF, 2014). We maintain vital links with industrial and commercial partners providing research support, industry experience and employment for our graduates.

Department research activity spans diverse topics designed to investigate the past, present and future of planet earth and its resources. Our research work ranges from groundbreaking blue-sky research, to very applied projects with high societal impact deliverables for industrial and government sponsors.

Prospective students are invited to contact individual members of staff in the department in the first instance to discuss potential research projects. Find out more about our staff areas of research and expertise and our postgraduate research opportunities (MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD).

Research facilities and environment

Our research activities falls in to three main themes which are: Geodynamics and Sedimentary Systems, Physical and Chemical Earth Processes, and Global Environmental Change. They represent a framework to encourage and promote multidisciplinary activity.

Our extensive facilities, include world-class laboratories for geochemical analysis, sedimentology and palaeontology, and specialist analogue modelling laboratories for recreating earth structures.

PhD research studies are supported by Research Council, industrial and College studentships.


The MSc by Research has as its main focus an independent research project, chosen by the student, developed into a project proposal through discussion with a chosen supervisor at Royal Holloway. It may be possible to arrange co-supervisors from other Universities, Research Institutes or Industry, to benefit from their specialist expertise.

The main outcome of the degree is a piece of independent research presented in the form of a dissertation.

Your future career

Our postgraduate teaching and research activities strengthen links with a wide range of industrial and commercial partners within the oil, mineral, extraction, waste management and water industries. These links provide support for research, employment for graduates and work experience for undergraduates.

Students may be employed as postgraduate demonstrators during their studies if there are opportunities available. In this situation they may attend the course 'Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning' (inSTIL) which, on successful completion, results in accreditation as an Associate of the Higher Education Academy.

Upon completion of the programme students will have gained experience of research and presentation of material in the geological sciences which equips them to publish work in international scientific journals.

Many of our graduates have gone on to work in the oil and gas industries, water authorities, environmental agencies, and consultancies.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

A good first degree or masters in a cognate discipline to Earth Science, and relevant to the proposed research project. We are also prepared to consider candidates with extensive practical or industrial experience that would be relevant to the project.