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 UK research councils, charities, industry partners, and overseas agencies.

For research council funding in the social sciences, please see the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).

For research council funding in the physical sciences, please see the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership and the project list below.

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.


Carnegie scholarships

The Carnegie Trust holds an annual competition for PhD funding for graduates with a first class degree from a Scottish university.

The next deadline is Monday 7 January 2019.

Please select the Carnegie Trust website for more details. 


Fully funded 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, 86 KB)

Application deadline: Friday 18 January 2019 at 4.00 pm.


Fully funded PhD Studentship: 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, and will be affiliated with the IAPETUS DTP.

For further information, please select Congo Basin Peat PhD (PDF, 1,011 KB)

Application deadline: Friday 18 January 2019.


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. Applications by self- or part-funded candidates to our PhD research programmes that have been received by 31 March 2019 may be considered for this scholarship, which will be awarded on the basis of academic merit; please contact Helen Olaez if you wish to be considered.

For further information please contact Helen Olaez.


IAPETUS DTP projects

The following projects will be based in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development:

  • A general theory of glacier surges (Doug Benn)
  • Predicting the retreat of tidewater outlet glaciers (Tom Cowton)
  • Valuing neo-native species: is naturalised Scots pine a threat or benefit for climate resilience? (Althea Davies)
  • Testing the reliability of terrestrial tephra layers as records of past volcanic eruptions (Richard Streeter)

The following projects involve SGSD staff but are based at partner institutions within the DTP:

  • Source to sea: soil carbon transport from forested environments to coastal waters (Bill Austin)
  • Atlantic woodland health: long-term interactions between climate, ecology and management (Althea Davies, Richard Streeter)
  • Age, origin, and dynamics of carbon in the central Congo peatlands: radiocarbon dating plant leaf waxes to build a novel 10,000 year record of change (Ian Lawson)
  • Understanding ecohydrological dynamics in intact tropical peatlands: a biogeochemical approach (Katy Roucoux)

For eligibility details and how to apply for these competitive studentships, please see the IAPETUS website. The deadline for applications is 18 January 2019.


For further information on any aspect of research student funding, please contact Helen Olaez.