Postgraduate research in Human Geography can cover a wide range of topics, but in essence it is broadly concerned with the dynamic interactions between humans and their environment. This encompasses social and cultural geography, urban and political geography, economics and development studies, as well as environmental and landscape planning.
The PhD is a three-year full-time and five-year part-time programme. You research and write a thesis of a maximum of 100,000 words under the supervision of an academic team. Students participate in the vibrant seminar culture of the School and have opportunities to meet and interact with researchers who work in major areas of Human Geography.
The first year includes training in research methodology and then the remaining years involve field work and/or library research and writing up. Normally, you work closely with two supervisors throughout your research, although you have a committee of three (including your primary supervisor) overseeing your progress.
MSc by Research
This programme is one-year full time, or two-year part-time. You research and write a thesis under the supervision of one or two academic staff. We have a vibrant research group whose interests stretch across the range of Human Geography.
Choosing a topic
PhD applications are welcome in any main aspect of Human Geography including Rural and Urban Geographies, the Geographies of Tourism, Development Geography, and Political Geography as well as GIS and the utilisation of new geo-spatial technologies.
Although sometimes we have specific PhD research projects which might be externally funded by a Research Council where the PhD project has already been specified, most of our research students choose their own research topics. Once you have decided on the nature of your project, you should informally contact the member of staff in the School whose expertise and interests most closely match your area of research and ask them if they will act as your supervisor.
It is extremely important that you attach to your email an updated CV, a 2-page research proposal (including background statement, aims and objectives and research methods) and that you indicate how you are planning to fund your PGR studies. You then work with your proposed supervisor on refining your research proposal which provides the starting point for your subsequent research.
Each student is supervised by a supervisory team that consists of at least two members of academic staff one of them designated to act as the student’s Main supervisor. Occasionally, particular projects require more than two supervisors depending on the expertise that each supervisors brings in the project. It is also possible that co-supervision is provided by a member of staff from different School.
Students meet (or, while in the field, make contact) with their supervisor(s) several times over the course of each term. These meetings involve intensive discussion of the way the project is developing, the readings and training that have been done and that need to be done, and the way field research and writing-up is progressing.
If the research project requires that the student has to spend a significant amount of time in the field (away from the School), local supervision is usually organised. Overseas students who wish to spend most of their time in their home country while undertaking PhD research may register as an external student or for a split PhD.
The University’s Graduate School co-ordinates the Research Development Programme for research students, providing access to a wide range of lectures and workshops on training, personal development planning and career development skills.
MSc 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time; PhD 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time
Knowledge and understanding
This programme aims to:
- Offer focussed and supportive research-training
- To produce high-quality doctoral graduates with the skills necessary for pure and applied research within their chosen areas of employment, whether higher education, non-government organisations, public bodies and the private sector.