University of St Andrews

PhD Funding Opportunities

Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews


Our research students are funded from a wide range of sources, including the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, other UK research councils and funders, industry partners, and overseas agencies.For a complete list of current funding opportunities please see the database maintained by the University’s Scholarships Team.

Enquiries from self-funding students are welcome. Information on tuition fees and other costs of studying at St Andrews can be found on the University’s Fees and Funding page.

Details of any funding opportunities that are especially suitable for Geography/Sustainable Development students will also be posted below as they arise.

If you have queries about the following studentships please contact the PGR secretary, Helen Olaez.


PhD Studentship:  Dynamic and Calving Behaviour of Glacier-Ice Shelf Systems in the Antarctic Peninsula

We invite applications from UK and EU candidates for a fully-funded PhD studentship, on modelling behaviour of the Larsen B ice shelf and its tributary glaciers, both before and after the major ice shelf disintegration event in 2002. 

For further information, select Dynamic and Calving Behaviour of Glacier-Ice Shelf Systems (PDF, 55 KB)

Application deadline: Friday 19 October 2018


Directly Funded Project (EU/UK only or UK only): New digital tools for using palaeoenvironmental records to understand longterm human ecodynamics in Iceland

Please note that additional eligibility criteria may apply; contact us for further information.

Supervisors: Dr Richard Streeter and Dr Althea Davies

The colonisation of the north Atlantic islands by the Norse in the 9th and 10th centuries is one of the best case studies we have for examining and understanding the impact of human settlement on fragile ecosystems. Although we know much about the environmental impact of settlement there is still uncertainty about how spatially homogenous the impact was and there are many areas in Iceland where we have very little information. The project will draw on both the exciting developments in palaeoenvironmental databases for meta-analysis and classical palaeoenvironmental approaches to better characterise the environmental impact of the arrival of humans on pristine natural systems, specifically in Iceland. The overall aims of the project are to (1) develop new approaches to synthesising and utilising palaeoenvironmental data stored in existing data archives (2) use this to identify gaps in our understanding of palaeoenvironmental change in Iceland (3) target the collection of selective new datasets to address these gaps (4) attempt to utilise ‘long tail’ data which is frequently not incorporated in meta-analysis (e.g. by digitising soil erosion records in field notebooks). There is the opportunity to develop skills needed to test hypotheses about human-environmental interactions beyond site level, which is essential for making rigorous contributions to global debates on sustainability and adaptive capacity.

For further information, select New digital tools for using palaeoenvironmental records (PDF, 531 KB) (PDF, 472 KB)

Application deadline: Friday 12 October 2018.


Fully funded PhD: “Past and present spatial patterning in the newly-discovered peat swamp forest environments of the central Congo Basin”

Supervisors: Dr Ian Lawson, Dr Katy Roucoux, Prof Simon Lewis (University of Leeds)

Applications are invited for this PhD position, which is linked to a major NERC-funded project. The aim of the project is to describe and explain the past and present spatial patterning in peat and vegetation properties within four individual peatlands, within the swamp forest complex of the central Congo Basin. The student will use pollen analysis and other palaeoecological techniques to explore the development of the peatlands over time.

For further information, please select Congo Basin Peat PhD (PDF, 812 KB)

Application deadline: Friday 12 October 2018.


Robertson Scholarship

The Robertson Scholarship, funded by a generous gift from Cornelius Robertson, is normally awarded to a postgraduate student in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The scholarship is worth £4000 per annum for three years, and can be used to help pay tuition fees, residence costs, and other related expenses. The award is normally made to a part-funded or entirely self-funded student.

For further information please contact Helen Olaez.