Studying for a PhD at the Graduate School

As part of our vibrant community of PhD students you will make a direct contribution to the world-class research output of the Graduate School, and develop the skills you need to enjoy a rewarding career in your chosen field.

Whatever your field of interest in relation to the environment – whether in the natural or social sciences – the size and scope of the Graduate School for the Environment means that you are guaranteed to find a suitably stimulating research project to work on.

Support structure

As a PhD student, you will immediately become a valued member of a research group, each of which is headed up by one of our internationally respected academics and supported by an array of post-doctoral research associates and technicians.

You will make your personal contribution to the group – and be taught the research skills you need – under the guidance of one or more supervisors specifically chosen to suit your area of interest. It is with the support of your supervisors and your research group colleagues that you will be able to extract full value from your time at the Graduate School.

Industry-focused PhDs

We also offer a range of industry-focused PhDs, in which you get to work in partnership with a particular business, learning practical real-world skills as well as cutting-edge academic research techniques. These may be fully funded within the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.

Research Community

Our research community is made up of a series of groups set up to address specific areas of environmental research.

Atmosphere, Climate and Pollution

Our research addresses the sources, transformation, trends and fate of chemicals in the environment with a focus on atmospheric composition, air quality and climate. We use laboratory, field and modelling methods to investigate the processes governing the distribution and impacts of pollutants on local, regional and global scales, providing the scientific understanding to underpin environmental policy decisions.

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Critical Geographies

Our research focuses on a variety of critical geographies that are vital to sustainability, social and environmental justice and our collective futures.  These include geographies of migration, energy, water, food, climate change, infrastructure, the Anthropocene and the subterranean.

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Earth Science

The Earth Science research activities span four main areas of expertise: Volcanology and Hazards, Contemporary Environmental Processes, Sub-surface Fluids, and Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoenvironments. 

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Ecology and Conservation

Our research uses molecular, behavioural and ecological techniques to understand how ecosystems function, how they respond to global change, and how they can be managed to enhance biodiversity and its associated services.

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Environmental and Biogeo Chemistry

We work across contemporary and palaeo timeframes, within the terrestrial, aquatic and deep Earth environments.  Our analytical strengths span inorganic chemistry, stable and radioactive isotopes, noble gases, and trace organic analysis. 

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Geospatial Data Science

We are undertaking research to develop innovative spatial techniques in order to increase our understanding of a wide range of environmental and socio-ecological systems.

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Plant and Crop Science

We work from the molecular to the crop scale with researchers and end-users of research, in both the natural (e.g. plant and soil ecology) and social sciences. Our particular strength is applying our research to provide solutions to real-world problems, particularly in relation to Agri-Food Challenges.

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Political Ecology

We understand political ecology to coalesce around critiques of the relationship between culture, politics and nature. We have a dynamic, diverse and interdisciplinary research group work nationally and internationally with a host of academic, government, and civil society and private sector partners.

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Soil, Plant and Land Systems

Pure, strategic and applied research to develop scientific tools and techniques to solve problems related to soil, land and water management. Our approach to finding solutions is highly interdisciplinary and delivered through shared catchment platforms, modelling and uncertainty analysis.

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Water Science

Pure, strategic and applied research to develop scientific tools and techniques to solve problems related to soil, land and water management. Our approach to finding solutions is highly interdisciplinary and delivered through shared catchment platforms, modelling and uncertainty analysis.

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The Graduate School for the Environment is a collaboration between Lancaster Environment Centre, The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and Rothamsted Research.