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Postgraduate Study

If you are exploring the possibility of a PhD degree in Earth Sciences, you will:

  • have either done an undergraduate degree in an earth science subject or, perhaps, want to use your degree from another science subject such as physics, chemistry, mathematics or biological sciences;
  • be relishing the stimulus of one of the UK's premier research departments.

Our students are greatly sought-after. Over the last five years, about 25 per cent of our 80 PhD postgraduates have gone to careers in the commercial sector; 25 per cent to research fellowships; 30 per cent to work on research grants and contracts; 10 per cent directly into university teaching posts and 10 per cent into non-scientific posts including the civil service. Many of the research fellows have also subsequently gone into industry, university and research institute posts.

Please note: part-time study may not always be viable and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, so please discuss this option with your proposed supervisor before making an application for this mode of study.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research;
  • demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
  • demonstrated self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and
  • produced a thesis for examination.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Earth Sciences

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2023
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
Jan. 15, 2024
Course Starts
April 17, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Oct. 2, 2024
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2025

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Jan. 15, 2025
Course Starts
April 17, 2025

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.


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