Marine Science PhD / MPhil

Marine Science focus on all aspects of the marine system, from the physics of how the ocean moves across the planet, the chemistry of micronutrients and pollutants, through to the biology of single cells phytoplankton all the way to marine mammals. We offer a multi-disciplinary research program to further our understanding of the ocean, its functioning and its importance in shaping our world.

Why study with us?

Studying for a PhD at Liverpool is allowing me to develop my passion for ocean biogeochemistry. I have been greatly supported, had many research experiences and opportunities that are now giving me confidence in myself. I guess this is what it feels like to become an independent researcher!

Lewis Wrightson - Marine Science PhD student
  • 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.


Liverpool always had a close connection to marine sciences, from the young Jeremiah Horrocks (aged 22) who studied the influence of the moon on tides back in 1640, to William Hutchinson who recorded sea level twice a day for 30 years. It was no surprise that the fist Oceanographic department in the UK was open in Liverpool in 1919. This connection is still strong nowadays with the Ocean Science department having recently celebrated its Centenary and the University campus benefiting from the presence of the National Oceanographic Centre, a world renown research institute.

Our academic staff are internationally recognised with expertise in physics, chemistry and/or biology. We offer research topics that are often cross boundaries, aiming to answer fundamental questions about the functioning of the ocean, now and in the future. To find out more about individual research topics, please visit our Postgraduate Research page here.

By taking on a research project with us, you will integrate research groups that will train you to become an independent researcher while developing a range of transferable skills that will serve you in your future position(s), whatever they are. We aim to provide an emulative and exciting research environment to all PhD students to help them succeed in their research, during their PhD and beyond.  We will strongly encourage you to communicate and publish your research to the wider community.


Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* 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

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.

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

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

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Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

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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