Postgraduate study

Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Our objective is to understand and predict Global Environmental Change. We study how ice, oceans, atmosphere, land surface and biosphere have interacted in the past, we probe their current processes, and we develop predictions of their future dynamics.

Human impacts on our planet are changing the atmosphere, climate, ice cover, global biogeochemistry, biodiversity, soils, and even ocean circulation. This puts Global Change at the centre of the international scientific agenda.

A key aim of the Global Change Group is to forecast the nature of change in the Earth System. This relies on understanding the building blocks of the system, represented by the Group's programmes: Atmosphere, Biosphere, Cryosphere, Continents, and Oceans.

These programmes involve fieldwork, monitoring, experimentation, theory and simulation, designed to determine how the earth's systems work, how they operated in the past and where they are going in the future.

The Global Change Research Group is organised around five programmes, each with its own separate web page. You can find them under Atmosphere (Global Change), Biosphere (Global Change), Continents (Global Change), Cryosphere (Global Change) and Oceans (Global Change). For more information, please refer to the web page.

Research students have access to an exceptionally wide range of masters taught and research-training courses offered by the broad interdisciplinary interests within the School.

In collaboration with the College's Transkills unit, we also provide generic courses specific to research student needs and requirements.

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

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
  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
  • 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:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional costs apply to this programme: minimum £1,000 per year (normally paid directly by sponsors for those on studentships). Further research costs may be required, depending on your project 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