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Department of Geography

Research Programmes

The Department of Geography has a large and vibrant Graduate School, with over 90 students registered for research degrees, including the Ph.D, the M.Sc. (by research), the M.A. (by research) and the M.A. in Research Methods. The Graduate School is in one of the top rated Geography departments in the UK, having been ranked joint first in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. 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 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.

Professor John Wainwright (Director of Research Postgraduates)

We offer postgraduate research degree programmes which can be studied either full-time or part-time. You will be part of a community of scholars, with an interest in geographical research, responsibilities that are defined by the nature of the degree that you are studying, and a role to play within the research community. In return for these roles and responsibilities, we will aim to provide you with the intellectual environment and facilities necessary to complete your programme successfully. The degrees are:

The Doctorate

The Doctorate admits any student with a Bachelors or Masters Degree, of the required standard. This is a research degree, leading to presentation of a thesis and, if University conditions are met, graduation with a PhD degree. Full-time students must study for a minimum of three and maximum of four years to obtain this degree.

The Doctorate is the most common requirement for an academic post and many research positions both in academia and industry. However, some of our students simply choose to do a PhD because they have found something that really interests them, and they wish to pursue these in an intellectual environment, guided by research leaders in their chosen field of study. The emphasis is very much upon independent but supervised research. All students have at least two supervisors, who will guide students through to completion of a substantial piece of work which must be original, significant and contain publishable material. Along the way both generic and subject-specific training will be provided by the Department, Faculty and University. We will also carefully monitor and assess your progress. We typically admit between 15 and 25 students to start this degree each year.


The MSc (by Research)

The MSc (by Research) admits any student with a Bachelors degree or higher in a science or social science subject, of the required standard, to study in science-facing aspects of Geography. This is a research degree, leading to presentation of a thesis and, if University conditions are met, graduation with an MSc degree. Full-time students must study for a minimum of one and maximum of two years to obtain this degree.

This, along with the Master of Arts (by research) provides experience of advanced research but without the commitment to a minimum of three years study required at the outset of a PhD. Because it is a 'science' degree, it is suitable for students with a science or engineering background, including physical geography.

Many of our students choose the MSc route as a means of helping them to decide if a PhD is for them or not. Others use the MSc as a means of gaining the further qualification necessary for progression in their career. Finally, some choose the MSc simply because they want to research something that has always interested them, aided and guided by experts in their chosen field of research. The emphasis is very much upon independent but supervised research. All students have at least two supervisors, who will guide students through to completion of a substantial piece of work which must be original, significant and contain publishable material. Along the way training in generic and subject-specific skills will be provided by the Department, Faculty and University, together with careful monitoring and assessment of progress.


The MA (by Research)

The MA (by Research) admits any student with a Bachelors degree or higher in an arts or social science subject, of the required standard, to study in social science-facing aspects of Geography. This is a research degree, leading to presentation of a thesis and, if University conditions are met, graduation with an M.A. degree. Full-time students must study for a minimum of one and maximum of two years to obtain this degree.

This, along with the Master of Science (by research) provides experience of adavanced research but without the commitment to a minimum of three years study required at the outset of a PhD. As it is an 'arts' degree, it is suitable for students with a social science or an arts background, including human geography.

Many of our students choose the MA route as a means of helping them to decide if a PhD is for them or not. Others use the MA as a means of gaining the further qualification necessary for progression in their career. Finally, some choose the MA simply because they want to research something that has always interested them, aided and guided by experts in their chosen field of research.The emphasis is very much upon independent but supervised research. All students have at least two supervisors, who will guide students through to completion of a substantial piece of work which must be original, significant and contain publishable material. Along the way training in generic and subject-specific skills will be provided by the Department, Faculty and University, together with careful monitoring and assessment of progress.