Postgraduate research courses in Earth and Environmental Sciences
The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences has funding for PhD studentships starting in 2020. Information about PhD (Doctorate) degrees at St Andrews can be found on the University website. The duration of a PhD is typically 3 to 3.5 years. For a list of our current funded PhD projects please view the Funded Research Projects dropdown list. You are also welcome to contact one of the School's academics to discuss alternative projects.
To apply, go to the How to Apply drop down list at the bottom of this page.
St Leonards College funded PhD studentship (open to all EU nationals)
- A new multi-parameter toolkit to unlock records of past volcanism (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Will Hutchison, Dr Andrea Burke, Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Professor Siwan Davies (Swansea) and Dr Michael Sigl (Bern)
World-Leading St Andrews Doctoral Scholarships (open to any nationality)
- The Roles of Lipids in Coral Biomineralisation and the Effects of Future Climate Change
Supervisors: Dr Nicola Allison (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Professor Terry Smith (School of Chemistry)
- Rapid CO2 and Climate Change in the Southern Ocean
Supervisors: Dr James Rae and Dr Andrea Burke (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences), Dr Lars Boehme and Professor David Dritschel (School of Mathematics and Statistics)
NERC-funded PhD studentships
A list of NERC-funded PhD studentships at the University of St Andrews is provided below, with more information on the IAPETUS2 Doctoral Training Partnership website.
- Coral osteoporosis: how does seawater phosphate affect the calcification of tropical marine corals? (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Nicola Allison (St Andrews), Dr Heid Burdett (Heriot Watt)
- How do biomolecules affect calcium carbonate diagenesis and palaeoproxy relationships (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Nicola Allison (St Andrews), Dr Stuart Jones (Durham)
- Future of continental heatwaves (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Michael Byrne (St Andrews), Dr Christopher Taylor (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)
- Monsoon dynamics in a changing climate (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Michael Byrne (St Andrews) and Professor James Baldini (Durham)
- Experimental High-Pressure, High-Temperature Evolution of Microbial Biosignatures (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Claire Cousins (St Andrews), Dr Jon Telling (Newcastle), Dr Aubrey Zerkle (St Andrews)
- Microbial carbon fixation in geothermal environments as an analogue to early Earth habitability (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Claire Cousins (St Andrews), Dr Jon Telling, (Newcastle), Dr Eva Stüeken, (St Andrews), Dr Sophie Nixon, (Manchester)
- Volatile element and critical metal cycles beneath the Greenland Craton (PDF)
Supervisors: Professor Adrian Finch, Dr Sami Mikhail, Dr Eva Stüeken, Dr Will Hutchison (St Andrews), Dr Lydia Hallis (Glasgow)
- Archaean geodynamics of the Zimbabwe craton (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Nick Gardiner (St Andrews), Professor Jeroen van Hunen (Durham), Professor Laurence Robb (Witwatersrand) and Dr Kathryn Goodenough (BGS)
- Rwanda’s strategic Sn-W-Ta endowment: Tectonic and metallogenic framework (PDF) (CASE-Funded)
Supervisors: Dr Nick Gardiner (St Andrews), Professor Laurence Robb (Witwatersrand), Dr Nick Roberts (BGS)
CASE partner: AfriTin Mining, Johannesburg
- Climate-changing volcanic eruptions from magma source to ice core archives: a sulphur isotope perspective (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Will Hutchison, Dr Andrea Burke, Dr Mark Claire (St Andrews), Dr Madeleine Humphreys (Durham), Dr Cees-Jan De Hoog (Edinburgh)
- Giant Dykes & Deep Time Tectonics; the Role of Dyke Swarms in Shaping the Early Earth (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr William McCarthy, Professor Adrian Finch (St Andrews), Dr Craig Magee (Leeds), Dr John MacDonald (Glasgow)
- The nature of Earth’s deep and dynamic carbon cycle (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Sami Mikhail (St Andrews), Professor Fin Stuart (SUERC), Professor Gareth Davies (VU Amsterdam), Professor Graham Pearson (Alberta), Dr Feargus Abernethy (The Open University)
- Coupled CO2 and oxygen change over the last 100 Myr (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Dr Babette Hoogakker (Heriot Watt), Dr James Barnet and Dr Eva Stueeken (St Andrews)
- Linking Phanerozoic carbon cycle perturbations, mass extinctions and large igneous provinces using novel geochemical proxies (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Dr Darren Mark (Glasgow), Dr Hana Jurikova (St Andrews)
- Novel reconstructions of seawater chemistry and CO2 over the last 100 Myr (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Professor Erin McClymont (Durham), Dr Hana Jurikova, Dr Robert Steele and Dr Andrea Burke (St Andrews)
- Quantifying CO2 storage in the glacial ocean (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Dr Babette Hoogakker (Heriot Watt), Dr Eva Stueeken and Dr Andrea Burke (St Andrews)
- Snowguns, seesaws, and CO2: million-year to millennial climate and productivity change in the Arctic (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Professor Erin McClymont (Durham), Dr Andrea Burke and Dr Paul Savage (St Andrews)
- The Southern Ocean’s role in CO2 change (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr James Rae (St Andrews), Dr Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand (Britis Antarctic Survey), Dr Andrea Burke (St Andrews) and Dr Thomas Bauska (British Antarctic Survey)
- Achondrite meteorites as snapshots of Earth’s earliest history (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Paul Savage (St Andrews), Dr Robert Steele (St Andrews) and Dr Kevin Burton (Durham)
CASE partner: Dr Ye Zhao (Nu Instruments)
- The co-evolution of Earth’s continental crust and hydrosphere: a Si isotope perspective (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Paul Savage (St Andrews), Dr Kevin Burton (Durham), Dr Catherin Rose and Professor Richard White (St Andrews)
CASE partner: Dr Ye Zhao (Nu Instuments)
- Exploring the effects on land plants of Paleozoic ocean oxygenation (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Eva Stueeken (St Andrews), Dr Catherine Rose (St Andrews), Professor Thomas Wagner (Heriot Watt).
CASE partner: Applied Petroleum Technology
- Resconstructing Earth's redox evolution with selenium isotopes in hydrothermal ore deposits (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Eva Stueeken (St Andrews), Prof David Selby (Durham)
- The stoichiometry of life across the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary (PDF)
Supervisors: Dr Eva Stueeken (St Andrews), Dr Catherine Rose, Dr Tim Raub, Professor Tony Prave (St Andrews), Professor Thomas Wagner (Heriot Watt)
CASE partner: Thermo Fisher Scientific
- People or Environment: Elucidating the causal factors of the Scottish pine decline in the mid-Holocene (PDF)
Supervisors: Professor Rob Wilson (St Andrews), Professor Erin McClymont (Durham), Dr Althea Davies and Professor Keith Bennett (St Andrews)
- A new multi-parameter toolkit to unlock records of past volcanism (PDF)
If you are interested in PhD study at St Andrews, the School requires that you contact directly the academic member of staff responsible for supervising your target project to discuss your suitability, qualifications, and funding potential. Applications should not be submitted without first contacting a potential supervisor.
Successful applicants will be provided with a primary and secondary supervisor or mentor. You can expect to form a close working relationship with your supervisors, meeting regularly throughout your time in the School. Supervisors are responsible for overseeing both your research and your broader career development.
IAPETUS2 Doctoral Training Programme - UK and EU applicants
Funding for PhD study in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is usually sourced from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Programme. Unfortunately international students (outside Europe) are not eligible and non-UK students are not eligible for the stipend associated with these awards.
St Andrews scholarships for UK, EU and Overseas applicants
Other sources of PhD funding allocated to particular projects may also be available, please inquire when you contact a member of academic staff.
External funding opportunities - for UK, EU and Overseas applicants
The Postgraduate Studentships website has a comprehensive searchable database of funding opportunities.
If you wish to be considered for a NERC studentship, applications must be received by the deadline published on IAPETUS2 website. Projects are typically advertised for PhD study in November of each year and have an early January to mid-February deadline. For September 2020 entry, the deadline for applications is 10 January 2020.
Deadlines for other projects within the School may vary and applicants are advised to check each project individually.
The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences aims to process applications within four to six weeks of the project deadline. However, this may be longer depending on the funding body providing the scholarship.
If you have questions about the application process or status of your application, contact the research postgraduate administrator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School requires a 2.1 or above UK undergraduate Honours degree (or overseas equivalent).
The following documents are mandatory:
- CV or résumé - this should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
- Academic transcript(s) along with certified degree certificates if available.
- Two signed academic references – these should not be provided by your proposed supervisor(s).
- Personal/motivational statement – maximum 1,000 words, include why you have chosen St Andrews and the particular project. Also explain how your current study and future career plans fit with the project. The selection committee and external funding bodies put great emphasis on this statement, so it is important it clearly applies to your chosen project. If you apply to more than one project, provide a personal statement for each.
- English language certificate if applicable (see below).
The School does not require a research proposal or a sample of written work.
English language proficiency
Non-native English speaking applicants must attain an IELTS overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 minimum in individual elements. TOEFL (iBT) with a score of 100 may also be accepted. For further information, see English language requirements and In-sessional English language services.
Further details of entry requirements, application procedures and to apply can be found on the postgraduate application page.