What’s it like to do a PhD in Environmental Biology?
Doing a PhD in Environmental Biology, you’ll become proficient in a range of skills and techniques in either laboratory and field work or Bioinformatics. Those using Bioinformatics will learn to programme in software such as R and Python, and gain experience using techniques from data science and statistics.
Some typical research topics in Environmental Biology include:
- Mathematically modelling how food chains may be affected by environmental stressors – human or otherwise
- Studying environmental factors in disease susceptibility and recovery
- Developing methods to promote or improve ocean sustainability
- Devising methods of reducing adverse effects of environmental changes on a population (cross over with Biodiversity and Ecology)
- Identifying novel environmental contaminants
In a general workday, you may be taking samples from your ecosystem of study, performing experiments in the laboratory, or writing programmes to model a population. You’ll spend time planning future work, writing up your work to date, and chatting to your supervisor and colleagues about your plans and results. Your PhD will end in a thesis of approximately 60,000 words, which you’ll defend during your viva exam.
Environmental Biology programmes are generally advertised with full funding attached, meaning the project is pre-proposed by the supervisor. Some projects request you find your own funding, which can be difficult due to the additional bench fees. Proposing your own research project is uncommon in Environmental Biology, mostly due to the funding challenges.