PhD and Masters by Research projects within the School of Earth Sciences are published on this page. It will be expected that you contact potential supervisors in advance of submitting an application.

We offer projects eligible for full funding (fees and stipend).  Students may be funded from a variety of UK and international industry and government sources, including via our NERC GW4+ postgraduate training award (see below and the GW4+ website for further details). All funded studentships for which we are currently recruiting are advertised below. 

To apply to the University of Bristol you must apply online.  You should select 'Geology (PhD)' as the programme in the drop down menu.  For Masters by Research select 'Geology (MSc by Research)'.

Fully funded projects available: 

University of Bristol Scholarship

This project is fully-funded through a University of Bristol Scholarship, including fees, stipend and research budget funded to UKRI PhD studentship standard.

  • Fossil insights into the developmental evolution of animal bodyplans during the “Cambrian Explosion” [Supervisors: Prof Philip Donoghue (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), Prof Davide Pisani (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), Prof Zongjun Yin (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr Sebastian Willman (Uppsala University), Dr Michael Steiner (Freie Universitat Berlin)] ‌
    DONOGHUE_Fossil_insights_into_developmental_evolution_of_animal_bodyplans (PDF, 440kB)  

PhD / Early-stage researcher (ESR) position - Volcano Geophysics
Closing date 14:00 on Monday 23rd May 2022

An early-stage researcher (ESR) position for 3 years is available from March 2022 in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol to work on volcano geophysics. The ESR is expected to register as a full-time PhD student and study for the degree.

The ESR will join a Marie Sklodowska-Curie funded European Training Network, IMPROVE - Innovative Multi-disciplinary European Research training network on Volcanoes (http://www.improve-etn.eu/). IMPROVE is a highly-cooperative multi-disciplinary network of academic and industry partners focussed on innovative research in volcano science.

Applications will be accepted from candidates of any nationality, but please be aware that the funding guidelines specify that candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years before recruitment. They must also be in the early stage of their research career; the degree making them eligible to start a PhD programme in their home country (Bsc or Msc) must be obtained no earlier than 4 years prior to the starting date. The student must start the project before 1st September 2022.

Further project details:  Gottsmann-ESR-Volcano-Geophysics (PDF, 46kB)

  

If you have any questions, please contact the Postgraduate Administrator via email earth-postgrad@bristol.ac.uk.

General information on postgraduate admissions can be found on the University postgraduate webpages http://www.bris.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/

 

Deadlines for the following projects has passed: 

University of Bristol PhD Scholarships 
Closing date Monday 14th February 2022 at 23.59 GMT

Several scholarships are available for the 2022/23 intake. Each scholarship provides a stipend at UKRI rates plus £2K per annum towards research costs (this can also be used for conference attendance as appropriate). The default scholarship is 4 years in duration starting in September 2022 (a later start date is possible, but students must commence their studies by 30th April 2023). The scholarships can be awarded on a full time or part time basis; overseas and home students are equally eligible for the funding. You should apply online selecting 'PhD in Geology' as the programme in the drop down menu.  You must provide the name of the Project Supervisor and the Project title you are applying for. As the Research Statement you should upload the project description (from the links below) of the project you are applying for.

List of projects for 2022/23 intake:

PROJECT TITLE: Microbial survival strategies during drought and fire
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Casey Bryce, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
BRYCE-Microbial survival strategies during drought and fire (PDF, 342kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Assessing the geothermal resource available from abandoned coal mines
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment, Digital/Data
Lead Supervisor: Dr James Verdon, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
VERDON-Assessing the geothermal resource available from abandoned coal mines (PDF, 423kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Carbon cycling in a warming world
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Professor Laura Robinson, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
ROBINSON-Carbon cycling in a warming world (PDF, 1,008kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Probing the potential for microbial iron redox cycling on the icy moons
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr James Byrne, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
BYRNE-Probing the potential for microbial iron redox cycling on the icy moon (PDF, 646kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Climate change impacts on coastal systems
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Professor Daniela Schmidt, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
SCHMIDT-Climate change impacts on coastal systems (PDF, 253kB)   

PROJECT TITLE: Cranial biomechanics of marine reptiles and their ecological implications
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Professor Emily Rayfield, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
RAYFIELD-Cranial biomechanics of marine reptiles and the ecological implications (PDF, 2,084kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Did the evolution of animals shape climate and the geosphere? A molecular palaeobiological approach
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Jakob Vinther, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
VINTHER-Did the evolution of animals shape climate and the geosphere? (PDF, 81kB) 

PROJECT TITLE: Controls on critical metal enrichment in granitic systems
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Bob Myhill, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
MYHILL-Controls on critical metal enrichment in granitic systems (PDF, 2,207kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Evolutionary morphology of animal wings
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Digital/Data
Lead Supervisor: Professor Philip Donoghue, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
DONOGHUE-Evolutionary morphology of animal wings (PDF, 179kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Reconstructing the regional stress field during porphyry copper formation in the western USA 
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Frances Cooper, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
COOPER-Reconstructing the regional stress field during porphyry copper formation (PDF, 573kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Environment and innovation as drivers of tetrapod evolution
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment, Digital/Data
Lead Supervisor: Professor Michael J. Benton, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
BENTON-Environment and innovation as drivers of tetrapod evolution (PDF, 479kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Waterworld: An experimental study of the deep Earth water cycle
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Oliver T. Lord, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
LORD-Waterworld: An experimental study of the deep Earth water cycle (PDF, 1,020kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Biogeochemistry of a subterranean estuary and fluxes of solutes and nutrients to coastal waters in the Northern Bahamas
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Professor Fiona Whitaker, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
WHITAKER-Biogeochemistry of a subterranean estuary and fluxes of solutes and nut (PDF, 2,695kB) 

PROJECT TITLE Volcanic deformation and the long-term evolution of magmatic systems
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment,  Digital/Data
Lead Supervisor: Prof. Juliet Biggs, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
BIGGS-Volcanic deformation and the long-term evolution of magmatic systems (PDF, 1,594kB)

PROJECT TITLE: Revisiting the 1928-29 Great Barrier Reef Expedition collection to reconstruct a reef from a century ago
University of Bristol Research Theme(s): Climate/Environment
Lead Supervisor: Dr Erica Hendy, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
HENDY-Revisiting the 1928-29 Great Barrier Reef Expedition collection to reconst (PDF, 1,351kB)

China Scholarship Council – University of Bristol joint-funded PhD Scholarship 
Closing date Friday 21st January 2022 at 12:00 GMT

When applying to the School of Earth Sciences, please choose 'Geology PhD' from the Programme Choice.  See the Earth Sciences Prospectus for details of research areas and staff profiles.  In your application form, please specify that you wish to apply for the China Scholarship Council – University of Bristol Joint Scholarships Programme and which staff member you would like to study with.  Further details at China Scholarship Council – University of Bristol joint-funded PhD Scholarship. 

Two European Research Council funded studentships 
Closing date Monday 4th April 2022 at 23:59 GMT

These two fully-funded projects will form part of the ERC-funded grant on Imaging Magmatic Architecture and could start in 2022/2023 or 2023/2024.

NERC GW4+ DTP 
Closing date Monday 10th January 2022 at 23.59 GMT

When applying for the GW4+DTP Projects in the School of Earth Sciences please choose 'Geology PhD' from the Programme Choice drop down menu (see Prospectus for other Schools offering projects under this DTP). You will need to make a separate application for each project. It is important that you follow the detailed instructions provided in the 'How to apply' link and read the Admissions Statement in the Prospectus to apply for one of these projects.

University of Bristol Scholarship
Closing date Tuesday 1st February 2022

This project is fully-funded through a University of Bristol Scholarship, including fees, stipend and research budget funded to UKRI PhD studentship standard.

  • Fossil insights into the developmental evolution of animal bodyplans during the “Cambrian Explosion” [Supervisors: Prof Philip Donoghue (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), Prof Davide Pisani (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol), Prof Zongjun Yin (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr Sebastian Willman (Uppsala University), Dr Michael Steiner (Freie Universitat Berlin)] ‌
    DONOGHUE_Fossil_insights_into_developmental_evolution_of_animal_bodyplans (PDF, 440kB)

 

Earth Sciences Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) DTP
Closing date Monday 10th January 2022

Typically we receive one studentship per year for projects with an 'extra-terrestrial remit' (as supported by STFC). Projects offered for this competition are listed below. Please approach supervisors for more detail and apply online ("select 'Geology PhD') before 23.59 Monday 10th January 2022

 

PhD / Early-stage researcher (ESR) position - Volcano Geophysics
Closing date 23:00 on Tuesday 1st February 2022

An early-stage researcher (ESR) position for 3 years is available from March 2022 in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol to work on volcano geophysics. The ESR is expected to register as a full-time PhD student and study for the degree.

The ESR will join a Marie Sklodowska-Curie funded European Training Network, IMPROVE - Innovative Multi-disciplinary European Research training network on Volcanoes (http://www.improve-etn.eu/). IMPROVE is a highly-cooperative multi-disciplinary network of academic and industry partners focussed on innovative research in volcano science.

Applications will be accepted from candidates of any nationality, but please be aware that the funding guidelines specify that candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity in the UK for more than 12 months in the three years before recruitment. They must also be in the early stage of their research career; the degree making them eligible to start a PhD programme in their home country (Bsc or Msc) must be obtained no earlier than 4 years prior to the starting date.

Further project details: PhD_ESR_position_Volcano_Geophysics (PDF, 26kB)

 

AWE-funded Masters by Research
Closing date Friday 11th March 2022

A fully-funded 1-year MSc by Research studentship in seismology at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, in collaboration with the Forensic Seismology group at AWE Blacknest is available to start in October 2022.

AWE Blacknest have, for 60 years, been researching techniques to distinguish seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions from those generated by earthquakes. Such techniques are part of the verification system for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty which is currently being ratified by United Nations member states. In addition, Blacknest scientists develop techniques to analyse signals generated by explosions in the atmosphere and in the oceans.

The project is focussed on exploring seismo-acoustic coupling of signals from near-surface explosions, full details are available at the link below. The student will gain an advanced skillset in the handling, analysis and interpretation of seismic data sets, alongside developing the ability to undertake seismic waveform modelling. The student will gain also valuable experience with data analysis software development. The successful applicants will also have access to a very wide range of University courses which will further enhance research and transferrable skills. The students would be expected to regularly visit colleagues at AWE Blacknest, and present results to AWE Nuclear Threat.

Further project details: Stable seismic source estimates for UK seismicity using seismic coda (PDF, 208kB)

Enquiries should be directed to Prof. James Wookey (j.wookey@bristol.ac.uk).

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Postgraduate Administrator via email earth-postgrad@bristol.ac.uk.

General information on postgraduate admissions can be found on the University postgraduate webpages http://www.bris.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/

Did you know?

The Bristol School of Earth Sciences currently has around 100 PhD students across all years of study. 

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