Earth and Ocean Sciences PhD / MPhil

As one of the four subject disciplines within the School of Environmental Sciences we undertake fundamental and applied research within Earth and Ocean Sciences. We place a high value on our thriving Postgraduate Research (PGR) and have over 50 active PGR students.

Why study with us?

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

Kristoff B. Gibbon-Walsh - Earth and Ocean Sciences PhD student
  • 50

    postgraduate research students.

  • 84%

    of our research outputs deemed 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' REF (2014).

  • 1919

    the oceans have been studied here since the formation of the Liverpool Tidal Institute in 1919.


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 will 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 also encourage and train you to publish academic papers. It is not unusual for students to students leave with 2-3 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. 

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,407* (2020) £23,650* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020).
Part time 4-6 years £2,204* (2020) £11,825* (lab based programmes) £9,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020)

*This fees excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

If a EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 Aug 21.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

Entrance requirements for postgraduate students are a good 2:1 or first class Honours degree (or equivalent). The degree may be in any branch of Earth and Ocean Sciences and we also welcome applications from students in other subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Materials Science or Life Sciences, who wish to move into the Earth and Ocean Sciences.

We welcome applications from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those required to study for this research degree. See our guidance on international qualifications.

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

Find a supervisor

View supervisors in this area

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 

View staff list

Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

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Find a scholarship

We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

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