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Geography, PhD

Newcastle University, the United Kingdom

Newcastle University

Study options for this course

The award How you will study Study duration Course start Domestic course fees International course fees
PhDFull-time36 monthsfind outfind outfind out
PhDPart-time72 monthsfind outfind outfind out

About Geography, PhD - at Newcastle University

We offer PhD supervision across a wide range of human and physical geography topics. Our research engages with applied issues and public policy concerns, as well as more abstract cultural and theoretical issues.

We were recently ranked within the top 30 geography departments in the world (QS World University Rankings by subject). Almost all our research is world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework, 2014).

Our staff provide supervision in a range of specialisms. Our research focusses on four research clusters:

Physical geography

Our research strengths in physical geography include:

  • paleoclimatology
  • landscape evolution
  • applied geomorphology and natural hazards
  • Quaternary geochronology
  • glaciology
  • water science

We carry out research through active collaboration with colleagues in Newcastle University and beyond. Our research takes us to a wide variety of environments across the globe, including:

  • the UK
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Patagonia
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Tibet
  • Japan

Examples of recent research projects include:

  • new homonid discovery in South Africa
  • Lake Suigetsu ultra-high-resolution palaeoclimate project
  • impacts of recent catastrophic floods in the North of England
  • impact of meltwater floods during the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in Iceland

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funds many of our research projects. We are also a member of the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership.

Our Physical Geography PhD involves advanced study and research into a specific area. You will do fieldwork or lab-based research in a topics such as:

  • flood impacts on natural and human systems
  • fluvial geomorphology and sedimentology
  • glacial outburst floods
  • glacial geomorphology
  • volcano-ice interactions
  • tectonic geomorphology
  • geoarcheology

See a full list of PhD physical geography research topic

Economic geographies

Our research in economic geographies is theoretically-informed and politically-engaged. It covers the production, forms, experiences and impacts of uneven geographies of:

  • commodities
  • people
  • finance
  • knowledge
  • technology

Our location in the north east is a European periphery. Our researchers in this theme explore 'ordinary', diverse and/or marginalised economies and subjectivities. They also scrutinise orthodox socio-economic models and practices in the following contexts:

  • western industrialised
  • post-socialist
  • post-colonial 

Economic geographies contributes much of the work in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.

See a full list of PhD economic geography research topics.

Power, space, politics

In power, space, politics our research focuses on the expression of political power across space and includes topics around:

  • borders and boundaries
  • critical geopolitics
  • international development
  • militarism and military geographies
  • the politics of representation
  • issues of resistance, justice and peace

We conduct research on a range of scales. From the international and national to the individual, with reference to a range of global contexts. Our work is methodologically innovative, drawing on:

  • interactional research
  • ethnographic research
  • discourse analysis
  • participatory research
  • visual research

This enables us to produce grounded, empirically-informed reflections on the multiple ways in which concepts of power, space and politics intersect.

See a full list of PhD power, space and political geography research topics.

Geographies of social change

In geographies of social change we explore and extend an applied, critical understanding of cities and urbanism. Ideas that run through our research include:

  • identity
  • families and households
  • health
  • welfare and care
  • infrastructures 
  • community 

These lead us to connect with issues of:

  • gender
  • race
  • ethnicity
  • migration
  • youth
  • religion
  • class
  • size
  • generation

See a full list of PhD social geography research topics.

Many of the research opportunities in geography are interdisciplinary and we are keen to encourage supervision across subject areas. For example there are opportunities for joint supervision with Latin American researchers in the School of Modern Languages.


Our facilities include:

  • dedicated postgraduate study facilities
  • GIS and cartography software
  • fieldwork vehicles
  • a suite of laboratories for the analysis of water and sediments for projects in geomorphology, environmental change and hydrology

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree and a master's degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant arts, humanities, science or social science subject such as:

  • geography
  • planning
  • urban studies
  • environmental studies
  • sociology
  • politics
  • history
  • business studies

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 8 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry: IELTS 7.0 overall (with a minimum of 6.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry:Not accepted    
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in all sub-skills)

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

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