International Postgraduate Students

We have a thriving community of graduate students from the UK and overseas. This page provides some orientation for international students considering campus-based graduate courses in Geology:

Research degrees (PhD)

A UK PhD usually comprises 3 years of full-time study, followed by some months ‘writing up’ on reduced fees before the thesis is submitted. The 3 years are entirely dedicated to research and writing of a thesis; there is no formal taught component (though there is training in research techniques, other relevant skills, and careers advice).

The supervisor team usually comprises of a principle supervisor (the expert), a second supervisor, and an independent staff member who chairs the ‘Thesis Committee’. It is this committee which meets periodically to assess the progress of the student. The thesis is normally examined within 3 months of submission by a panel comprising one internal examiner (usually the ‘independent staff member’ from the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment), and one external examiner (normally from another UK University or Research Institute).

Applicants for a PhD should normally have a good Master of Science degree in a relevant field or a very good first degree (equivalent to a First Class or Upper Second Class Bachelor of Science Degree).

Note on English language ability for non-native speakers

Applicants whose first language is NOT English, and who have NOT lived in a country where the first language is English for at least 3 years immediately prior to the commencement of the course, should normally include in their qualifications one of the following:

  • English Language at GCE Ordinary Level or Cambridge 1119 or GCSE or IGCSE, at grades A to C
  • British Council IELTS 6.0, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component

Full details can be found here: English Language Entry requirements


We welcome informal contacts from students considering applying to us for campus-based study. Please contact:

Dr Dave Holwell, Postgraduate Tutor



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