The Department of Earth Sciences is one of the leading centres of research and teaching in the UK. 94% of our research has been classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF, 2014). We maintain vital links with industrial and commercial partners providing research support, industry experience and employment for our graduates.
Department research activity spans diverse topics designed to investigate the past, present and future of planet earth and its resources. Our research work ranges from groundbreaking blue-sky research, to very applied projects with high societal impact deliverables for industrial and government sponsors.
Prospective students are invited to contact individual members of staff in the department in the first instance to discuss potential research projects. Find out more about our staff areas of research and expertise and our postgraduate research opportunities (MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD) here.
If you are interested in a full-time MSc by Research, MPhil or PhD research project, or prefer to study part-time, please contact a potential lead supervisor and submit a CV. We also encourage you to put forward and discuss potential projects of your own design.
Research facilities and environment
Our research activities falls in to three main themes which are: Geodynamics and Sedimentary Systems, Physical and Chemical Earth Processes, and Global Environmental Change. They represent a framework to encourage and promote multidisciplinary activity.
Find out more about our research areas here.
Our extensive facilities, include world-class laboratories for geochemical analysis, sedimentology and palaeontology, and specialist analogue modelling laboratories for recreating earth structures.
PhD research studies are supported by Research Council, industrial and College studentships.
The MSc by Research has as its main focus 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.
The main outcome of the degree is a piece of independent research presented in the form of a dissertation.
A good first degree or masters in a cognate discipline to Earth Science, and relevant to the proposed research project. We are also prepared to consider candidates with extensive practical or industrial experience that would be relevant to the project.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
- TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
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.
Students may be employed as postgraduate demonstrators during their studies 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.
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.
Many of our graduates have gone on to work in the oil and gas industries, water authorities, environmental agencies, and consultancies.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £4,345
International students tuition fee per year**: £23,600
Other essential costs***: TBC
Please note this course may be subject to additional bench fees of up to £6000 per year for lab-intense projects. This will depend on the nature of your project and will be discussed fully with your potential supervisor.