Department of Earth Sciences

Present research and funding opportunities


Fully funded PhD projects


Determining the oxidation state of the Earth's mantle using platinum group elements and their isotopes


Contact the first supervisor, Dr Helen Williams, for further information

The following fully-funded PhD research opportunities are currently available. Please contact the supervisor for further information about specific projects, or the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary for any general enquiries.


Crustal recycling into the deep mantle: new clues from selenium and iron stable isotopes


Contact the first supervisor, Dr Helen Williams, for further information


Structural and Thermal Evolution of the Togo and Benin Margin

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Richard Davies, for further information. Click here for further information on how to apply.


PhD projects for the 2013-2014 NERC algorithm or other fellowships and self-funded projects

The following projects are proposed as PhD projects. Funding for these projects might come from:

  • the NERC algorithm fellowships (eligible to UK students only), application deadline will be early March, 2013 (exact deadline to follow soon)
  • the Durham Doctoral Studentships (eligible to anyone), application deadline 7th February, 2013
  • a fully funded scholarship, as provided by international funding schemes or government schemes, click here for more information

Projects in Climate and Environmental Change


Is the oxidation state of terrestrial carbon changing?

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Fred Worrall, for further information


Establishing a link between ENSO and the Indian monsoon using stalagmite geochemical proxies

Contact the first supervisor, Dr James Baldini, for further information


Projects in Geohazards


The respiratory health hazard of mineral nanoparticles

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Claire Horwell, for further information


Catastrophic lava dome failure due to vapour-phase mineralization 

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Ed Llewellin, for further information


Fissures and fountains: magma dynamics in basaltic conduits 

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Ed Llewellin, for further information


Projects on The Solid Earth


 The distribution of elements between enclaves and hosts; a microanalytical study

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Jon Davidson, for further information


Origin of high-temperature rhyolitic magma - a study of interstitial glass in continental flood basalts

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Jon Davidson, for further information


Deformation processes and frictional properties of rocks during caldera collapse and volcano landslides

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Nicola De Paola, for further information


The frictional properties & dynamic weakening of brittle fault rocks in thrust belts

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Bob Holdsworth, for further information


Weakening mechanisms in reactivated crustal-scale faults: the Dover Fault zone, Newfoundland

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Bob Holdsworth, for further information


Morphotectonics of active normal faults from terrestrial laser scan datasets

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Ken McCaffrey, for further information


Hydrothermal circulation at mid-ocean ridges - understanding the Earth's energy budget

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Christine Peirce, for further information


Large-scale seabed topographic features: magmatic construction to structural collapse

Contact the first supervisor, Prof Christine Peirce, for further information


Palaeozoic Continent-Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions 

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Dave Selby, for further information


The earliest records of the Earth's magnetic field - a combined iron-isotope & palaeomagnetic analysis


Contact the first supervisor, Dr Helen Williams, for further information


Serpentine and element recycling at subduction zones

Contact the first supervisor, Prof. Kevin Burton, for further information


Distribution of monogenetic volcanic centres in central Europe

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Colin Macpherson, for further information

Project in Geoenergy, Resources and Waste


Isotope tracing of CO2 sequestration in basalt

Contact the first supervisor, Prof. Kevin Burton, for further information


Age & Correlation of North American Hydrocarbon Source Rocks: Insights for global implications

Contact the first supervisor, Dr Dave Selby, for further information


CeREES Geo-energy Scholarship Programme

Fully funded project opportunities arise throughout the year on the CeREES (Centre for Research into Earth Engery Systems) Geo-energy Scholarship Programme. This programme is aimed at BSc, MSci or MSc graduates who wish to undertake a cutting-edge research project in Geo-energy and aspire to a career in the energy industry. Please check the CeREES Geo-energy Scholarship Programme pages for updates.