Earth Sciences PhD / MPhil

Our postgraduate students are led by internationally-renowned experts and enjoy a first-class experience in an exciting research environment

Why study with us?

I chose to study at Liverpool to pursue my passion for studying the interior of our Earth and earthquake generation. Liverpool is one of the best research centres in the country for this.

Stephen Hicks - PhD Earth Sciences (Seismology)
  • 100 years

    of teaching Earth Science subjects at Liverpool

  • 96%

    of all activity is 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 36

    Earth Sciences PhD students


Earth Science is one of the five subject disciplines within the School of Environmental Sciences at Liverpool.  Each year we offer projects concerned with renewable energy (e.g. geothermal) and environmental challenges (e.g. carbon capture and storage, microplastics).  Our projects are funded by international research organisations as well as industry and charities.

Research themes

Earth Science research at Liverpool is exciting and dynamic, and has a tremendous breadth of topics. We are internationally recognised for our studies of both the solid Earth and Earth surface processes. We aim to understand the Earth and contribute to society’s energy and environmental efforts through studies that employ field, experimental, analytical and numerical techniques, providing an integrated approach to some of the most fundamental questions in our science.

We have unique, extensive and world-leading laboratory facilities for rock deformation, electron microscopy, geomagnetism, volcanology, seismology and diagenesis. We are also passionate about fieldwork and conduct field studies around the world.

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

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

• data collection and management;
• data interpretation and modelling;
• critical analysis;
• analysis and discussion of literature;
• presentation skills, through international conferences;
• paper writing skills, through writing manuscripts.

We encourage and train you to publish academic papers. It is not unusual for our students to complete their PhD programme 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 £4,596* (2022) £25,950* ^ (lab based programmes)
£20,400* (non Lab based programmes) (2022)
Part time 4-6 years £2,298* (2022) £12,975* (lab based programmes)
£10,200* (non Lab based programmes) (2022)

* This 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 an 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 August 2021.

Entry requirements

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 6.5 no band below 5.5
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 88 overall with L 17 W 17 R 17 and S 19
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 176 with no less than 162 in any paper
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 176 with 162 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 162 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 176 with 162 in components

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

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Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

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

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