Department of Geography

Fully funded 3 year PhD studentship in numerical rock slope modelling

The department is seeking to appoint a full-time PhD student to join and contribute research to an industry-funded project team that aims to understand the mechanisms of rock slope failure. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing numerical models of rock slope stability using finite and discrete element rock mechanics software. Specifically, the PhD project will improve understanding of the mode, scale and timing of rock slope failure in response to both internal and external controls and triggers. The successful candidate will work closely with other members of the research team to seek to combine innovative laboratory tests of rock strength and novel field monitoring of rock mass behaviour.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates with a background in rock mechanics, engineering geology, quantitative geomorphology, applied mathematics or related disciplines. Applicants must demonstrate experience and competence in numerical modelling and/or rock slope stability. The candidate will hold a strong (2:1 or higher) undergraduate and/or masters level degree in a related discipline.

The anticipated start date is January 2013.

The studentship will provide payment of full-time tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a tax-free stipend at the RCUK rate (£13,950 in 2012 - 2013) for the three-year duration of the programme.

Further information about the project can be obtained from Dr Nick Rosser

How to Apply

To apply for this studentship you must submit all the following documents to the email address below by the due date:

  • CV
  • Brief statement of research interests and experience
  • Two references from academic referees
  • Certificates of qualification
  • Academic transcripts

Fully-completed applications must be submitted to by 14th November, 2012 at the latest.

Additional Information about Postgraduate studies in the Department of Geography

The Department has a large and vibrant Graduate School, with over 90 students registered for research degrees, including the PhD, the MSc (by research), the MA (by research) and the MA in Research Methods. It has a culture of research that seeks to define the direction of the discipline through cutting-edge research and the attainment of world-leading scholarship. Our Mission is to recruit, to inspire and to graduate the very best postgraduate students, both Masters and Doctoral, in geographical research. We do this through a wide-ranging postgraduate programme with research that covers the full range of the discipline and by recruiting students with backgrounds in the sciences (natural and social), humanities, and engineering. It is supported by a community of scholars, a resource framework that is comparable with other world class centres of geographical learning, and a diverse range of funding sources for both UK/EU and overseas scholars.

We are one of the leading centres of geographical scholarship in the world. With 58 academics, 34 researchers, 21 professional support staff, 32 administrative and technical staff, 123 postgraduates, and 579 undergraduates, we teach and research across the discipline from Antarctica to Bangladesh, from spatial theory to flood modelling, and from GIS to the social economy. Our aim is to create and sustain a world class research and teaching environment with top class laboratories and IT facilities in a supportive and collegial atmosphere.

Our success in marrying research and teaching excellence is reflected in the most recent university guides, which consistently place the Department of Geography at Durham in the top flight. Our strength lies in all the people who work in the Department and in the students who study here.

Additional Details about Application and Eligibility

Language Requirements

If English is not your native language then you will need to provide proof of proficiency:

  • An overall IELTS score of 6.5with no element scoring less that 6, and a score of 7 for the writing element, or
  • An overall TOEFL IBT score of 96 with no element scoring less that 23 and a score of 27 for the writing element.

In both cases the certificate must not have been issued more than two years before the start of the programme.

Student Selection

The selection process will take place shortly after the application deadline and we hope to be able to notify the successful candidate by the end of November 2012.