Postgraduate study

Human Geography and Environmental Sciences PhD, MPhil

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The research degree in Geography draws on expertise from the School’s Human Geography Research Group, part of the Geography and the Lived Environment Research Institute.

The Human Geography Research Group is recognised for its leading contribution to research at the forefront of the field.

The group’s research efforts provide challenging new insights to core geographical concerns through three research themes:

  • relations and identities
  • knowledges, practices and policies
  • development and power

We draw on quantitative and qualitative methods, making innovative contributions to both approaches. Several research projects span our specified research themes, and many of us work in collaboration with colleagues in other parts of the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

We have expertise in a wide range of regions, including the UK and Europe, South Asia, Australia, North and South America, Canada, the Caribbean and the Middle East. We also have productive collaborations with colleagues in many parts of the University.

We support a lively programme of seminars, symposiums, readings groups and postgraduate workshops that support and disseminate our three research themes.

The Human Geography Research Group is a member of the ESRC-recognised Scottish Human Geography Consortium and the Kindrogan Consortium for Advanced Postgraduate Research Training in Human Geography. It has expertise in qualitative and feminist methodologies, archive use, and GIS-linked analysis of large datasets.

The School of GeoSciences is recognised as an outlet for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) RT (1+3) postgraduate training programme and has a RT-recognised masters by research programme:

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

As groupings of researchers with related interests, the institutes provide 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.

We have one of the best-equipped GIS laboratories in Europe, together with software for data handling in a range of social, economic and demographic datasets, GIS, database management, modelling and visualisation.

Our collaborations with colleagues in other parts of the University include the Schools of Education, Health in Social Science (including Counselling Studies), Edinburgh College of Art and other areas within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.

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

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

Additional costs apply to this programme: minimum £500 per year (normally paid directly by sponsors for those on studentships). Further research costs may be required, depending on your project requirements.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDGeography3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDGeography6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilGeography2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilGeography4 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP

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
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP