PhD research degrees

The School offers postgraduate research opportunities leading to PhD degrees across the whole range of its research activities

Funding comes from a variety of sources, including national research councils, internal scholarships and industry. View current PhD project opportunities by research area.

Phd research student in the labPostgraduate research (PGR) students joining the School benefit from a thriving research community, expert supervision and dedicated training programmes. 

The School provides all PGR students with a dedicated workspace and access to excellent computing and laboratory facilities. 

PhD research degrees are available in the following fields:

Information on studying for a PhD by Distance Learning can be found here.

PhD scholarships

The School is the lead institution for the NERC-funded CENTA Doctoral Training Centre, which funds between five and seven PhD UK/EU studentships at Birmingham each year.

A full list of projects within Environmental Health Sciences, Geosystems and Water Sciences research groups eligible for CENTA funding can be found at CENTA's PhD Opportunities page.

GEES will put forward candidates for projects in the Society, Economy and Environment and Centre for Urban and Regional Studies research groups for ESRC and AHRC studentships as appropriate.

The School is also a participant in the NERC Oil and Gas Doctoral Training Centre, with one UK/EU Studentship per year. See a list of NERC Oil and Gas DTC projects

Overseas international students with the potential for securing private, industrial or home-government scholarships are encouraged to contact potential supervisors directly. 

Funding for Brazilian postgraduates - Science without Borders

The Science without Borders programme offers funding for Brazilian postgraduates to study in the UK.

Under the scheme students can study for a PhD in science, technology, engineering or mathematics subjects at a UK university for 3-4 years. 

The scholarships cover:

  • Full tuition fees
  • Bench fees (the maximum amount available for tuition and bench fees combined is £20k per year)
  • A generous stipend paid directly to the student 

For information on applying visit the Brazilian government’s website.

Brazilian funding agencies no longer provide pre-sessional English courses for PhD students. However students can access a free online English course.

Application deadlines

There will be three calls in 2015, covering PhDs that start between July 2015 and July 2016. It is important that students apply to the correct call for their proposed start date. 

Call 1:

  • Application deadline: 19 December 2014 
  • Results announced: 15 April 2015
  • Start of scholarship: Between July and August 2015

Call 2: 

  • Application deadline: 23 April 2015
  • Results announced: 14 August 2015 
  • Start of scholarship: Between January and February 2016 

Call 3: 

  • Application deadline: 21 August 2015 
  • Results announced: 15 December 2015 
  • Start of scholarship: Between June and July 2016

Current PhD projects

View PhD projects by research grouping:


There are opportunities for distance learning in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. If you are interested please contact Professor Jon Sadler ( in the first instance.

  • NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas - View PhD studentships

Doctoral Researcher