Postgraduate study

Geology & Geophysics

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Geology & Geophysics

The research degree in Geology and Geophysics draws on expertise from the School’s Earth and Planetary Science Research Institute.

The Earth and Planetary Science Research Institute studies the physical and chemical properties, origin and history of the Earth, and encompasses the major disciplines of geology, geochemistry, geodynamics, meteorology and geophysics.

We bring together hitherto separate fields to understand the way in which the Earth’s subsurface works: from atoms to plates, and on timescales ranging from seconds to billions of years.

Expertise

We have special expertise in:

  • mineralogy
  • igneous, metamorphic and experimental petrology
  • palaeontology
  • sandstone and carbonate diagenesis
  • tectonics
  • rock physics and chemistry
  • petroleum geoscience
  • seismic imaging
  • seismic sequence stratigraphy

Research areas

Our research is applied to areas as diverse as carbon capture and storage and the examination of diamonds from the lower mantle.

The Edinburgh Earth Observatory, part of the Earth and Planetary Science Research Institute, is a multidisciplinary research unit, which provides a strategic focus and support base for the University’s expertise in the geosciences. Its main research focus is on understanding the Earth and its environment through the effective exploitation of both in situ and remote observations.

The Earth and Planetary Science Research Institute grouping, and the associated new joint Graduate School established by the Edinburgh Regional Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics, now contains Europe’s largest grouping of subsurface research geologists and specialist geophysicists in a single city.

As a research student affiliated to a research institute, you will benefit from an excellent peer-supported network.

As a grouping of researchers with related interests, the institute provides a forum for development of ideas, collaboration, and dissemination of results, and an environment for training, development and mentoring of research students and early career researchers.

We encourage our students to undertake demonstrating and tutoring work for the School's undergraduate programmes, for which appropriate training is given.

The group is equipped to world-class standards, and hosts a number of national analytical facilities, mainly on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council. We are home to:

  • the NERC Ion Microprobe Facility
  • the Experimental GeoScience Facility (NERC recognised)
  • the NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility
  • the NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility
  • the NERC Tephrochronology Service
  • the NERC Chemical Dating Facility
  • Airborne GeoSciences (NERC recognised)

We have privileged access to the isotope geochemistry labs at Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC).

A UK undergraduate degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Grant Institute
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JW

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Grant Institute
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JW