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Research opportunities in the Department of Environment and Geography


  Department of Environment and Geography

 Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

About the Programme

We offer an outstanding, dynamic and interdisciplinary space in which to carry out PhD research in all aspects of human geography and environmental science, including lab-based, field-based, desk-based and policy-oriented research. Below we list areas of our particular research strengths, but we welcome any PhD research proposals that align with our expertise, including research that bridges environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of human-environment interactions and sustainability.

Projects available:

Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE)

NERC-funded ECORISC (Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment Towards Sustainable Chemical Use) Centre for Doctoral Training programme

Human Geography and Environment MPhil | PhD | PhD (Distance Learning)

  • Energy geographies including: international development; public and stakeholder attitudes towards supply, demand, and energy system change; environmental and social justice issues
  • Perceptions of environmental and socio-technical risk issues
  • Environmental, economic and social costs of enhanced transport systems
  • Sustainable agri-food systems, including understanding current or changed behaviours that may affect the sustainability of consumption and production systems in the future
  • Interaction of social, economic and political processes across urban contexts

Environmental Geography MPhil | PhD | PhD (Distance Learning)

  • Tropical ecosystem response to environmental change
  • Reconstructing Quaternary environments and sea levels
  • Managing consequences of climate change
  • Glaciology and characterising glacial terrain
  • Ecosystem modelling
  • Environmental change and sustainable societies

Environmental Science MPhil | PhD | PhD (Distance Learning)

  • Prediction of water quality from catchment characteristics
  • Pollution effects upon soil/plant/water ecosystems
  • Evaluation of critical loads and levels of pollutants
  • Modelling of atmospheric chemistry processes
  • Biogeochemical cycling and sustainability
  • Indoor and outdoor exposure to air pollution
  • Soil Science
  • Pathways and impacts of agricultural pollutants

Environmental Economics and Environmental Management MPhil | PhD | PhD (Distance Learning)

  • Economics of the environment
  • Ecology and environmental management, with emphasis on marine systems, tropical and temperate forest systems, and agro-ecosystems
  • The nature and impacts of environmental pollution
  • Sustainable use of terrestrial, marine and freshwater resources
  • Economic growth and environmental health outcomes
  • Environmental health, migration and socio-economic change

Why us?

  • Our research is ranked joint second in the UK for impact, according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021)
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), a leading global environmental policy institute, has one of its largest centres embedded within our Department
  • Benefit from SEI's strong links to global policymakers
  • We collaborate with a broad range of private and public sector organisations, including DEFRA, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Overseas Development Institute, Willis Global Insurance Broker
  • Athena SWAN Bronze Award

We offer

  • £12.5m purpose-built facility that houses labs, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and learning spaces
  • weekly seminars, where academic and industry speakers talk about key and policy-relevant areas
  • first-rate teaching and research opportunities tackling tough questions across natural and social sciences
  • collaborative, friendly ethos and internationally-recognised research.

We have strong links with world-class research centres based at York, including:

  • Stockholm Environment Institute - York
  • York Environmental Sustainability Institute
  • York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems
  • CIRCLE (Centre for the Integration of Research, Conservation and Learning)
  • Centre for Human Palaeocology and Evolutionary Origins

What next?

Check that your research interests align with the expertise of one of our staff. Once you've identified a potential supervisor, please contact them before applying to discuss your application and potential research areas.

Complete an application


Funding Notes

This programme is waiting to confirm funding from a university or external source. This may depend on attracting suitable students and applications are welcome. Please see the programme details for more information.

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