Earth and Ocean Sciences MPhil/PhD

Major code: ESLP/ESLM

About us

Earth and Ocean Sciences

As one of the four subject disciplines within the School of Environmental we undertake fundamental and applied research within Earth and Ocean Sciences.  The school’s an attractive destination for staff who are leaders in their fields and we’re well-funded for both research and teaching.

We place a high value on our thriving Postgraduate Research (PGR) and have over 90 active PGR students with 25 PGR students contributing to our wide-ranging research work.

To find out more about the research topics and the ongoing research studentships available please visit our Postgraduate Research page.

Our education and training

We aim to produce researchers with strong, transferable research skills, who are internationally recognised in their own fields and understand current environmental and academic research problems.

You’ll develop your research skills primarily by completing a project under supervision. These skills include:-

  • data collection
  • manipulation of the data
  • data interpretation and modelling
  • critical analysis
  • literature surveys
  • presentation skills, through international conferences

We’ll also encourage and train you to publish academic papers. It’s not unusual for students to students leave with 2-3 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. Examples of recent publications by our Postgraduate students can be found here.

Self-learning comes first

 On our postgraduate research programmes you’ll be responsible for your own learning, but within a highly supportive training framework.

 Co-ordinated by the University Graduate School, this includes:-

  1. Supervision by named research staff members who are experts in their fields.
  2. Membership and interaction with the groups within our four research clusters.
  3. Independent monitoring of your progress.
  4. Comprehensive postgraduate training.
  5. A vigorous School research environment.
  6. Opportunities to present work within and outside the School.

The University Graduate School co-ordinates the University's commitment to world quality research recruitment, progression and completion of all research degrees.

If you are interested in advertised PGR topics, or are interested in joining our PGR community please contact the relevant PGR contact:

Earth’s Interior Dynamics: Dr Dan Faulkner (

People, Space, place: Dr. Olivier Sykes (

Earth’s Changing Environment: Dr David Hodgson (

Oceans and Ecosystems: Dr. Fabienne Marret-Davies (

Staff research interests

Staff research interests.

Kristoff B. Gibbon-Walsh

Supervisors are world experts in their field and they bring massive amounts of experience to the projects, which can be valuable.

What year of your postgraduate study are you currently in?


What is the name of the postgraduate study programme or research you are undertaking?


Can you summarise the work you are undertaking in your postgraduate programme/research in a few sentences?

I work to measure different forms of toxic metals in natural water systems electrochemical methods developed at Liverpool. Specifically to measure poisonous levels of arsenic in drinking water in parts of India and Bangladesh.

What were your main reasons for choosing to undertake postgraduate study/research at University of Liverpool?

I was born here and am working in one of the most successful and world renowned marine research labs in the world.

What’s the best thing about studying/researching in your department?

The autonomy, you can be very flexible and independent, which can be daunting at first, but I’ve come to cherish that freedom.  It’s a privilege.
What expertise do your lecturers bring to your studies/research?

Supervisors are world experts in their field and they bring massive amounts of experience to the projects, which can be valuable.

What kind of support do you get from tutors/supervisors?

I’ve become close to my supervisors, but I had to earn this position. At this stage as expected I am much more autonomous, but am still able to ask questions on a daily basis.

Describe a typical week for you in relation to your studies/research.

I write down a ‘to do’ list of experiments, emails, papers and other tasks I have to do and split them into segments at the beginning of the week. I usually spend an average of 8-10hrs in the lab a day working and then an hour or two with emails and papers in the evening.

What do you enjoy most about the whole postgraduate experience?

Being able to make my own decisions, whilst having experts to ask questions all the time.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement so far?

Organising and carrying out  field work on the well waters of West Bengal with a method we developed in our labs in Liverpool.

How will the skills you are learning  and utilising now help you in the future?

Although a PhD is inherently very specialised research, actually 80% of the skills learnt during reading, collaboration, organising fieldwork, time and project management are transferable.  So even though I still haven’t decided on my future plans I know that the time has been well spent. 
What advice would you give to anybody considering undertaking postgraduate study/research?

Choose something with scope for learning new techniques and working with people you can learn from, but most importantly you must have an acute interest in the subject matter.