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School of Geography

PhD Opportunities

The following PhD projects are being advertised in the School of Geography:

Application Deadline: Apply before 3rd October 2022.

Interviews: We anticipate interviews to be held during the week beginning 24th October. 

Start date: We anticipate a start-date of January 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. 



The atmosphere forms a bridge between Earth’s major biomes, linking terrestrial, aquatic, and glacial systems. The continual exchange, transport and dispersal of microorganisms between the atmosphere and it’s adjacent habitats shapes these environments via processes that are not yet fully understood. The cryosphere shares many of the same characteristics as the atmosphere, for example: low substrate availability, freezing temperatures, and high UV radiation. This PhD project will examine the ecological links between the atmosphere and the cryosphere – in particular, glacier surfaces in polar regions. Using state-of-the-art genomic and biogeochemical techniques, the student will investigate the role of the atmosphere in shaping microbial communities in snow and ice habitats, as well as in sustaining them by providing sources of energy. There will be opportunities for fieldwork in Svalbard and/or other polar environments to collect atmospheric samples, as well as samples of snow and glacier ice for analyses. The student will collaborate across multi-disciplinary teams in London (Queen Mary University of London and the Natural History Museum) and internationally (Australia, Canada, and the USA), and be embedded into a wider project that investigates the atmosphere as a microbial ecosystem. This PhD project would suit a student with interests in environmental microbiology, biogeochemistry and polar environments. 


Please contact Dr James Bradley ( for all enquiries.  


For further information and how to apply please click here: The role of the atmosphere in shaping and sustaining microbial communities on glaciers [PDF 114KB]

The School invites applications for QMUL Principal’s Postgraduate Research Studentships for self-defined projects relating to any of the School’s human or physical geography research themes. Applications are also invited for projects that might involve collaboration with other Schools within QMUL. These studentships are open to UK, EU and international students and cover fees and maintenance at the Research Council rate for London (currently £17,609).

For further information on the Principal’s studentship please see here.

The application deadline for September 2022 entry has now passed. The new deadlines will be advertised here in November 2022.


How to apply

For further information eligibility criteria please see the London NERC DTP website.

Below are examples of current projects advertised on the DTP website:

Project title: Rewilding and Natural Flood Management
Supervisor(s): Gemma Harvey ( QMUL Geography), Alex Henshaw (QMUL Geography), Stewart Clarke (National Trust)
CASE Partner: National Trust

Project title: Microplastic-sediment interactions (MiPSi)
Supervisor(s): Kate Spencer ( QMUL Geography), Geraldene Wharton (QMUL Geography)

Project Title: Quantification of the impact of changing vegetation on hillslope sediment transport
Supervisor(s): Stuart Grieve ( QMUL Geography, Emily Lines (QMUL Geography)

Project Title: Investigating the impacts of drought on Spanish forests using terrestrial laser scanning
Supervisor(s): Emily Lines ( QMUL Geography)

Project Title: Past intermediate and deep ocean circulation during sustained periods of warmth
Supervisors(s): Heather Ford ( QMUL Geography)

Project Title: Microbial activity on glaciers and ice sheets: an intergrated modelling and empirical approach
Supervisors(s): James Bradley ( QMUL Geography)

Project Title: Microbial and biogeochemical processes through the ocean-sediment continuum
Supervisors(s): James Bradley ( QMUL Geography)

Project Title: The future role of Citizen Science in catchment management (physical science)
Supervisors(s): Kate Heppell ( QMUL Geography)

If you wish to discuss any of these projects please contact the named supervisor. For any other enquiries, including developing other research project ideas please contact Prof Geraldene Wharton, Director of Graduate Studies for Physical Geography and Environmental Science.

The School invites applications for 1+3 and +3 studentships through the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, for projects relating to: International Development, Conflict & Human Security, Health, Biopolitics and Social Inequality, and Urbanisation, Social Change & Transformation. Studentships may be either 1+3 (one year MRes followed by three year PhD), or +3 (three year PhD only, available for those with suitable masters-level social science research training). Eligibility is based on UK residency, although non-UK resident EU students may apply for a fees only award. See details on ESRC eligibility.

The application deadline for September 2022 entry has now passed. The new deadlines will be advertised here in November 2022.


The School invites applications for the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) for students studying arts and humanities disciplines. The research areas covered by the Arts and the Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are listed here. Further details and eligibility criteria can be found here.

The application deadline for September 2022 entry has now passed. The new deadlines will be advertised here in November 2022.


This is open to all QMUL alumni and full details are available online.

Radical Mudlarking? Reimagining the History of London as a Global City on the Thames Foreshore - AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship


Museum of London Archaeology and Queen Mary University of London


Start date: 1st October 2022

Application Deadline: 5pm Monday 6 June 2022

Interviews: will take place during the week commencing 20 June 2022


Queen Mary University of London and Museum of London Archaeology are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative Doctoral Studentship from October 2022 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) Scheme.


Mudlarking on the foreshore of the River Thames has emerged as one the most popular and accessible forms of public archaeology in the UK. This PhD seeks to understand the accessibility and popularity of mudlarking, its significance to its practitioners, and its role in the construction, reproduction, and disruption of narratives about London’s history.


This project will be co-supervised by Professor Alastair Owens and Dr Ed Legon (at Queen Mary) and Dr Claire Harris and Ruth Taylor (at Museum of London Archaeology) and the student will be expected to spend time at both Queen Mary and Museum of London Archaeology as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK. The studentship can be studied either full or part-time.


We encourage the widest range of potential students to study for this CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area.  Students should have a Master’s Degree in a relevant subject or can demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting.


For further information please and how to apply please refer to the documents below:
Radical Mudlarking full project outline [PDF 167KB]

Radical Mudlarking Application Process [DOC 21KB]

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