Postgraduate study

Atmospheric & Environmental Sciences (Environmental Sustainability)

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

The research degree in Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences draws on expertise from two research institutes: Global Change and Geography and the Lived Environment.

The School has the largest geoscience research group in the UK, with about 370 academics and researchers. The quality of our research is second to none: we were the highest rated research group in the latest UK Research Assessment Exercise.

Among our large and experienced academic team are many global leaders in their field. Two of our researchers were lead authors of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, and we also boast a double winner of the World Meteorological Organization’s Norbert Gerbier Prize.

Global Change Research Institute

Our overarching aim is to improve the scientific understanding of past, present and future changes in the Earth system through measurements, theory and computational modelling.

Better understanding of the Earth system allows us to inform policymakers and to develop effective mitigation strategies, which, if implemented, would minimise the economic and humanitarian implications of changes in climate and the Earth system.

Our aim incorporates some of the most compelling scientific challenges of the 21st century. To address these questions we nurture a multidisciplinary research and teaching environment, integrating expertise across the Institute, the School and more broadly throughout the University.

Geography and the Lived Environment Research Institute

We seek to generate agenda-setting research that improves understanding of the relationships between people, society and the environment.

Our research investigates key areas of contemporary and historical societal concern, including development, climate change, inequalities, land-use change, ecosystem services, health and wellbeing and urbanisation.

The lived environment refers to those aspects of the Earth system that are experienced by people – not as it is purely conceptualised or theorised, but as it is lived. It is a multidisciplinary concept that brings together environmental science, geography, economics, policy, social science and computer science.

As a research student affiliated to two of our research institutes, you will 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 are exceptionally well-equipped with the latest technologies to enable our researchers to stay at the forefront of their fields.

The School houses an impressive range of facilities and services and is involved with a number of collaborative centres of research excellence.

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:

  • 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