Current PhD Opportunities

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

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.

Current PhD Opportunities

  • ESRC PhD Studentships

    Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) is pleased to offer opportunities to undertake fully funded PhDs in Human Geography and/or Development Studies. LEC is ranked 6th for Geography and Environmental Studies in the 2019 Guardian University Guide and is part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP). The studentship competition for an October 2019 start is now open and can be applied for through the following two pathways:


    Geography and Environment

    The Geography and Environment pathway fosters high-level research across the breadth of contemporary human geography. Applications are welcomed that engage with many aspects of environmental, cultural, development and political geographies and/or their interconnections.


    Development and Humanitarianism in an Unequal World

    This pathway supports innovative inter-disciplinary research on a range of global issues. We welcome applications on a wide variety of topics related to sustainability, political ecology, economic development, poverty, peace and conflict, humanitarianism, health and well-being.


    For further information on potential supervisors, we welcome you to explore our relevant research groups and profiles in ‘Critical Geographies’ and ‘Political ‘Ecology’. For details on the application process itself, please see



    1+3 Scheme provides support for students undertaking an eligible Masters programme which focuses on advanced study and research training explicitly intended to provide a foundation for further research at doctoral level, who will then progress to a doctoral programme. Suitable for applicants with an excellent undergraduate degree. 

    +3 Scheme provides support for up to three years of full-time study, or six years of part-time study, on a PhD programme leading to the award of a doctoral degree. Suitable for applicants with an excellent undergraduate and Masters degree, the latter having a strong research training profile.


    Funding Details

    The studentships will provide an annual stipend (full-time: £14,777 for 2018, exact rate for 2019 tbc.), access to a Research Training Support Grant, the opportunity for additional fieldwork funding and academic fees for 3 years (+3 scheme) or 4 years (1+3 scheme). 


    Residential eligibility:

    Candidates for awards must have a relevant connection with the United Kingdom. A relevant connection may be established if, at the start of the course:

    • The student has been ordinarily resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period preceding the date of application for an award, and
    • Has not been resident in the UK, during any part of that 3-year period wholly or mainly for the purposes of full-time education (EU students – see below) and
    • Has settled status in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971 (i.e. is not subject to any restriction on the period for which he/she may stay).


    Candidates who meet all three of the above criteria may apply for a full award.

    A relevant connection may be established for an EU student if the student has been resident in the UK throughout the 3-year period preceding the start of the course, even if for purposes of full-time education. EU students in this situation may apply for a full award. EU Students who have not been ordinarily resident in the UK for the last three years may apply for a fees only award.

    Non-EU students who have not been ordinarily resident in the UK for the last three years are not eligible to apply. For further details on residential eligibility, see ESRC’s pages.

    Full details of the application process (including eligibility criteria and forms) are available at the NWSSDTP website.


    Deadline for ESRC NWSSDTP studentship applications: 4th February 2019. Please note that applications should be accepted onto the PhD Geography programme at LEC by 20th January 2019.


    Informal enquires are welcomed and in the first instance please contact Stacey Read ( For matters related to the specific pathways, please contact Dr Giovanni Bettini – (Geography and Environment) or Dr John Childs – (Development and Humanitarianism in an Unequal World).

How to Apply

Launch your career in research with a funded PhD. Please read carefully the advertised project information, including the funding eligibility as only applicants who have a relevant background and meet the funding criteria can will be considered.

  • Download the Application Form and Reference Form.
  • Complete the Application Form, renaming the document with your 'Name and Application Form' e.g., Joe Bloggs' Application Form.
  • Send the completed Application Form and a CV to the email address as indicated within the project advert.
    Project adverts are available under Current Opportunities.
    Applications and CVs must be submitted as either Word documents or pdf files - no other file types are accepted.
  • Rename the referee form with your 'Name and Reference', e.g., Joe Bloggs Reference.
    Send the renamed reference form to two referees and request them to forward the referee document to the email address as indicated in the project advert.
    References must be submitted as either Word documents or pdf files - no other file types are accepted.
    It is important that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.
  • You will receive an acknowledgment in receipt of successfully sending the application documents.

Funded PhDs are advertised throughout the year, however the majority of projects are advertised between December and May for an October start. In some circumstances, dependent on the funding, start dates in January and April will be considered.

  • Please note that only applications submitted as per these instructions will be considered.
  • If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. This evidence is only required if you are offered a funded PhD, and is not required as part of this application process.
  • If you do not hear from us within four weeks of the closing date then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion. If you would like feedback on your application, please contact the supervisors of the project.

Book a place on one of our Open Days - on Wednesday 27th February 2019 or Saturday 13th July 2019 - to discover how we can provide the opportunity for you to develop your knowledge and further your career.

Research Groups

Join our Graduate Training Programme at Lancaster University

Research training

We take care of all of our students at Lancaster University. The Faculty of Science and Technology runs a series of training sessions designed to improve your skills and abilities during your PhD.

Learn more

Doctoral Training

You can also apply for a PhD at one of the Doctoral Training Centres and Partnerships that work with the Graduate School for the Environment.