The breadth of the School's research expertise offers a wide range of opportunities for those wishing to embark on a programme of doctoral research in human or physical geography. Research students are registered for University of London PhD degrees and work under the close supervision of members of academic staff. We welcome applications from those wishing to study full or part-time. The School is part of the Queen Mary/Goldsmith's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, of Queen Mary's Block Grant from the AHRC, and regularly holds NERC Algorithm Studentships.
See also: the website for the School of Geography
You will normally have a first degree with first or upper second class honours, and/or a Masters degree, in geography or a related discipline. Please note, you are strongly encouraged to contact a member of staff with interests in your area – or the Director of Graduate Studies - to discuss your proposed research before making a formal application.
Candidates are expected to have good English language ability and to meet the standard of the IELTS – or equivalent – at a level of 7.0.
For further information on entry requirements (including the PhD proposal) and how to apply please see: www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/admissions/phdadmissions/index.html
For guidance on which member of academic staff you might best approach to discuss your ideas, please see:
For international students, please refer to the International Students section. [new window]
Research in the School is organised around five interconnected research themes, offering a broad range of expertise. The School welcomes applications from those who may wish to work on issues within, or linking between, these themes, or in related areas of human or physical geography.
Culture, Space and Power Research Group
Staff in this theme, including two Philip Leverhulme Prize holders, conduct theoretical and empirical research in to the spatial politics of cultural practice in a variety of historical and geographical settings.
Our research has strong interdisciplinary links (especially with history and anthropology), shapes international debates, and has close synergies with research on the geographies of biosciences in the Health, Place and Society theme. Enquiry into global connections and diasporic identities enhances our understanding of the cultural practices that make new geographies from domestic to global scales.
For example, research on relatedness in Irish diasporic genealogy, local and cross-border histories in Northern Ireland (Nash), new writing technologies in the English East India Company (Ogborn), the politics of home and diaspora among Anglo-Indian women (Blunt), the cultural construction of knowledge-producing industries and the relations between technology, the body and social-environmental relations (Parry and Reid-Henry), shows how new geographies of power and identity are made through material practices, the making of places and the construction of connections.
Working through The City Centre, research also enhances understanding of material culture and everyday life in Victorian cities (Owens) and of the politics of different visions of the city through studies of utopian urbanism and planning practices since the Eighteenth-Century (Ogborn and Pinder). By examining groups ranging from settlement workers to the situationists and surrealists, as well as artists and cultural practitioners, our research also advances debates about urban spatial politics and performance (Blunt and Pinder).
Economy, Development and Social Justice Research Theme
Members of the Economy, Development and Social Justice theme conduct theoretically-informed, politically-engaged research on the nature and consequences of inequality, uneven development and social justice in both the Global North and South.
Staff in the this theme are currently engaged in research in five key areas:
- The transformation of cities and regions – including work on household economies and poverty, learning and innovations (Melachroinos, Smith)
- New geographies of work and employment, with a particular focus on post socialist transformations, labour and community organising, and the gendering of work (James, Smith and Wills)
- Transnational migration and global uneven development - focusing on low paid labour migration, labour market change and social reproduction in European city regions, financial exclusion, remittances, gender and migration, and migrant identities ( Datta, McIlwaine, May and Wills)
- Civil society, community politics and well-being, with a focus on street homelessness, welfare restructuring and post secularism, North-South linkages in civil society, and gender, household strategies and well-being in modern Europe (McIlwaine, May and Owens)
- Spaces of finance – financial crises and circuits, financial markets in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Britain, post socialist neoliberalisation, and FDI (Lee, Owens, Smith, and Melachroinos); and Rethinking Economies, with work on ordinary economies, emerging markets, India’s off-shore service economy, and the transformation of global value networks (Smith and James).
Health, Place and Society Research Group
This research theme conducts innovative and critical geographical research on health and the body, socio- environmental determinants of health inequalities, and the cultural, political, and economic geographies of bio-medical science.
The group produces cutting edge theoretical and empirical research of direct relevance to key academic and wider political and social debates on the future of health care provision in both the UK and Global South.
Research is currently organised into three main areas:
- The construction of healthy and ill bodies, including work on discursive constructions of health policy, global health, the relationship between health and nature, and the health and place making practices of migrants (Brown, Dyck, Greenhough)
- The healthy environments research programme, with work on the socio-environmental determinants of health and health inequalities together with the bayesian spatial statistical modelling of health and health care in shaping health outcomes for local and national populations (Cummins, Congdon)
- The political economy of contemporary biomedical science, with research on the production of pharmaceuticals, the delivery of public health and health services, medical research, and understandings of the human body and identity ( Parry, Nash, Greenhough and Reid-Henry).
Hydrological, Hydrochemical and Fluvial Processes Research Group
This research theme explores the interaction between hydrological, geomorphological and biogeochemical processes, encompassing terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine environments along the continuum from catchment to coast. Research is process-oriented, including field, laboratory and modelling studies at scales ranging from the mesocosm to the landscape. Research foci include:
- The dynamics of fluvial, peatland and estuarine systems, including their response to, and recovery from, natural disturbance and human manipulation
- Water, sediment, carbon, nutrient and contaminant mobilisation, transport and storage in fluvial, peatland and estuarine systems
- Appraisal, characterisation and sustainable management of wetland, fluvial and estuarine systems.
Research is of direct relevance to major issues in environmental management including flooding; diffuse pollution; and the maintenance of ecosystem services such as carbon storage.
Environmental Change and Management Research Group
The Environmental Change research theme investigates the processes and patterns of specific environmental systems at timescales ranging from the modern-day through to the Quaternary and older. Research focuses on:
- Interaction of ice and water with sediments and landscapes
- Rapid environmental change and feedbacks between biological (including early human) and physical systems.
These issues are addressed through application of innovative methods in micromorphology, geochronology and palaeoenvironmental analysis.
Recent research highlights include:
- Advances in micromorphology and optically- stimulated luminescence dating methods to provide greater understanding of subglacial processes and glacier dynamics
- New approaches to studying fluvial and glacial archives for understanding the timing and patterns of hominid occupations of the British Isles
- Pioneering of an Ostracoda-based Mutual Temperature Range method for palaeoclimatic reconstruction.