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Postgraduate Research - Earth Sciences


PhD research studies are supported by Research Council, industrial and College studentships, and projects cover the wide range of departmental research interests. Our postgraduate teaching and research activities strengthen links with a wide range of industrial and commercial partners within the oil, mineral, extraction, waste management and water industries. These links provide support for research, employment for graduates and work experience for undergraduates.

Listed below are full-time MPhil & PhD research projects presently on offer. If you are interested in a project, prefer to study part-time, or wish to discuss potential projects of your own design, please contact the lead supervisor, and submit a CV. 

The department aims to fund up to two PhD scholarships (maintenance & home fees). Interviews will be held 10 March 2017.

Please contact the Postgraduate Programmes Co-ordinator, if you have additional questions about the department or application procedures (email: pgadmin@es.rhul.ac.uk ; fax: 01784-471780; tel: 01784-443581). 

Applications will require 2 letters of reference, plus a cover letter and CV. The departmental policy is to offer all available studentships (RHUL & Industrial) to the best applicants across the range of PhD topics on offer.

An application form can be found here www.rhul.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying

Applicants are requested to send an additional copy of their CV directly to the lead supervisor of the project in which they are interested. Please also contact the supervisor if you have any questions about the project itself.

Applicants for RHUL funding will be invited for interview usually in late February and offers are made soon after.  Other applications are welcome at any time.

List of projects

TitleLead SupervisorPDF
Isotope geochemistry of tellurium: Adsorption and reduction of tellurium oxyanions Dr Anirban Basu, Prof Martin King PDF
Assessing sedimentary response of marine depositional systems developed in tectonically controlled elongate basins. Dr D Chiarella, Dr J Hernández-Molina & Dr S Longhitano (University of Basilicata, Italy) PDF
Project ESR9: The isotopic signature of urban methane emissions Dr D Lowry, Dr R Fisher, Prof E Nisbet & Prof T Rockmann PDF
Project ESR7: Methane from waste: constraints on captured and fugitive emissions from isotopic analysis Dr D Lowry, Dr R Fisher, Prof E Nisbet & Dr H Chen PDF
Building Accretionary Prisms: studying the interaction between the Himalaya uplift and the Sumatra subduction Dr Paola Vannucchi and Prof Jason Morgan PDF
Do black carbon and humic materials in snow and ice decay? Prof Martin King PDF
Oxidation of real atmospheric organic matter on interfaces of atmospheric aerosol: does it activate to cloud droplets (STFC funded) Prof Martin King & Dr Andrew D Ward (Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory) PDF
Energies associated with large caldera-forming eruptions Prof Agust Gudmundsson PDF
Rift-zone volcanic systems: their initiation, evolution, and extinction Prof Agust Gudmundsson PDF
Dyke-propagation paths: the movement of magma from the source to the surface Prof Agust Gudmundsson PDF
Energy sources, behaviour, and durations of volcanic eruptions Prof Agust Gudmundsson PDF
Volcano-tectonic modelling of magma chambers, ring-faults, unrest, and eruptions in volcanoes Prof Agust Gudmundsson PDF
The role of syn-kinematic sedimentation on early salt tectonic processes in the Post-Permian Salt Basin, Southern North Sea Dr Jürgen Adam PDF
Simulation of Non-linear Fault-Fracture Processes and the Stress-Strain History in the Brittle Continental Crust Dr Jürgen Adam PDF
Fault reactivation and evolution along the Madagascar-India conjugate margin Dr Ian Watkinson PDF
Drainage evolution and tectonics of the India-Sundaland boundary, Myanmar. Dr Ian Watkinson PDF
Deformation and exhumation processes in the metamorphic rocks of Thailand. Dr Ian Watkinson PDF
Microgeodynamic modeling of deep mantle melting Dr Saswata Hier-Majumder PDF
Thermochemical anomalies in the Earth's lowermost mantle Dr Saswata Hier-Majumder PDF
The Origin of Coal: unravelling the effects of climate, sea-level and vegetation on Pennsylvanian landscape evolution. Dr Howard Falcon-Lang PDF
The Use of Biochar as a Soil Amendment Prof. Margaret Collinson, Dr. Saran Sohi, Dr. Ben Raymond PDF
Carbon dioxide and methane in karst systems Prof Dave Mattey and Dr Dave Lowry PDF
Cretaceous angiosperms: seeing the trees from the wood Dr Howard Falcon-Lang PDF
Seasonal fluxes of N2O and CH4 in treated forest soils Dr Kevin C Clemitshaw, Dr Dave Lowry, and Dr Sirwan Yamulki(Forestry Research) PDF


MSc in Geology by Research

This programme is offered to prospective students who wish to pursue research in a selected field of the Geological Sciences for a period of one calendar year full time or two calendar years part time and be awarded a Masters degree.

The main focus of the degree programme is an independent research project, chosen by the student, developed into a project proposal through discussion with a chosen supervisor at Royal Holloway. It may be possible to arrange co-supervisors from other Universities, Research Institutes or Industry, to benefit from their specialist expertise. Students will receive training in research skills, including data collection, data handling and analytical techniques as well as transferable and presentation skills. During their studies students may attend taught courses if they are relevant to their training needs and students will have access to the wide range of other training opportunities available in the college including the Researcher Development Programme (RDP). Students may be employed as postgraduate demonstrators if there are opportunities available. In this situation they may attend the course 'Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning' (inSTIL) which, on successful completion, results in accreditation as an Associate of the Higher Education Academy.

The main outcome of the degree programme is a piece of independent research presented in the form of a dissertation. Upon completion of the programme students will have gained experience of research and presentation of material in the geological sciences which equips them to publish work in international scientific journals.

Prospective students should contact individual members of staff in the department in the first instance to discuss potential research projects. (The research interests of staff are available here.

More general questions may be directed to our postgraduate administrator pgadmin@es.rhul.ac.uk

For information on fees please see this

It should be noted that there are no funded places available for this degree programme but prospective students resident in England, and EU, EAA and Swiss students, may be eligible for a government loan. Further information on these loans is available at this external resource.

Proposed Research Studentship (MSc by Research)

Tectono-structural evolution of the Newfoundland/Iberian Conjugate Margins
Continental Margins Research Group & COMPASS Consortium
Supervisors: Prof. Jürgen Adam, Dr. Lucía Pérez Díaz and Dr. Graeme Eagles

This partly-funded project would suit a student with a sound geophysical background and an interest for extensional tectonics. As part of the Continental Margins Research Group, the successful candidate will receive training in platekinematic modelling techniques, seismic interpretation and the tectono-structural aspects of basin analysis.

Further details (PDF file)

Deadline for applications: 11th August 2017


The department is also part of the London NERC DTP and applicants whose research interests fall within the NERC Environmental Science remit should follow the link to find further information and to submit an application.



Jan 2017





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