PhD opportunities for 2020 are now open

Opportunities are updated daily

Please check this web page or our Twitter @DocBGS for the latest information

All our doctoral training opportunities are through Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP) or Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT). We do not fund individuals and you will usually apply directly through the host university or DTP or CDT. Eligibility: NERC studentships are bound by the Research Councils UK Grant Terms and Conditions including residency and minimum qualifications. Doctoral Training in Environmental Research in the UK provides a useful summary of these.

We offer two types of studentship Hosted and Collaborative which have different application processes as follows:

How to apply for a Hosted PhD

These studentships are hosted at the British Geological Survey (BGS). BGS cannot award degrees so applicants must complete an online application with the DTP or at the university where they will be registered.

In addition to this they should send by e-mail to a current CV, names and addresses of two referees, personal statement written by the candidate, no longer than 1 page of A4, containing project title and detailing their reasons for applying to study a PhD and why they have selected their chosen doctoral research project OR send a copy of the university/DTP application.

How to apply for a Collaborative PhD

Details of how to apply will be on the PhD project description. Candidates will either apply to the Doctoral Training Partnership or to the University they will be registered with.

PhD opportunities are listed by the British Geological Survey science challenge areas.

Decarbonisation and resource management


Lithospheric-scale controls on magmatism and mineralisation; the Strontian case-study

Microbial survival and activity in bentonite: relevance to the safety case for geological disposal of radioactive waste

Next Generation LA-ICP-MS Geoscience

Sustainable use of urban groundwater with ground source heat pumps

The impact of meiofauna on sediment structure and chemistry


Assessing the sustainability of lithium brine extraction in high Andean salars

Fertility of subduction and post subduction magmatism associated with porphyry- and epithermal-Cu-Au mineralisation in the Aegean using zircon geochronology and geochemistry

Non-destructive assessment of brittle deformation in geomaterials

Environmental change, adaptation and resilience


Blue carbon and ecosystem functioning in mangroves under pressure

CO2 weathering of glacial till as nutrient source for Cryogenian biospheric oxygenation 720-635 million years ago (CO2-CryoBiophere)

Flickering switches in the landscape: searching for tipping-points, system noise and bifurcation in Natural Flood Management catchments

How, when and what do geochronometers record in deformed metamorphic rocks?

Impact of micro-karstic flow on chalk aquifer function and water quality


Environmental change, monsoon variability and human impact in Southeast Asia

Sensors for real time monitoring of drinking water quality and treatment processes

The fate and impacts of microplastics in freshwater systems

The mysterious microbial ecosystem beneath our feet: Unravelling the groundwater microbiology archive

Understanding the impact of public water supply processes on macronutrient cycling

Multihazards and risk


Can we predict the effects of climate induced flood events on the mobility and bioaccessibility of potentially harmful elements?

Forecasting the future of Earth’s magnetic field using artificial intelligence

Investigating space weather in the Ionosphere and Magnetosphere with induction coil magnetometer data


Development of robust inhalation simulation procedures for measuring exposure to potentially harmful elements from soil particulates

Illuminating the internal condition of safety-critical infrastructure slopes: new geophysical approaches for landslide hazard assessment

Landslide early warning: developing novel geophysical monitoring approaches to 'see inside' unstable slopes