Geographical Sciences (Human Geography)

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length PhD: three years full-time (minimum
period of study);

Eight years part-time.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Only for self-funded and non-UKRI funded students, conditions permitting.
Start date Most students will start in September 2022. Other starting dates can be considered if students are self-funded or funded externally from the University of UKRI. Please contact the postgraduate student administrator to discuss the options available.

Programme overview

Join a University ranked #1 in the UK for 'Geography and environmental studies' research (THE analysis of REF 2021).

We have a large and vibrant graduate community, focusing both on PhDs by research and on taught programmes. The graduate community has a strong international and interdisciplinary flavour, and offers an exceptional academic environment for postgraduate research.

Research opportunities span a variety of subjects at the leading edge of geographical research. There is also a range of exciting possibilities for interdisciplinary research that cross and connect research groups and departments. We urge you to consult the websites of individual members of staff as well as websites that detail collective research interests.

Alternatively, you may be interested in our PhD in Geographical Sciences (Physical Geography).

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund.

The School of Geographical Sciences also has very limited PhD funding available for applicants via the Liv Sidse Jansen Memorial Fund (for BME applicants only) and the PGTA Scholarship program. Please see the School's Postgraduate Scholarship page for details.  

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree in a relevant subject or an equivalent qualification and a master's qualification from a UK university (or equivalent).

The School welcomes applicants with an interest in utilising ESRC and UKRI secondary datasets in their research projects.

The School of Geographical Sciences, like many other Schools and Departments across the University, is committed to efforts to decolonise our curricula and to transform our research and teaching as part of these efforts. We especially welcome applicants interested in supporting this work, and we encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds, life-experiences, and geographies to apply.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile D
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

There are three main research groups:

  • Geographies of Political Economy
    Research expertise includes cities and urban change, neoliberalism, globalisation, governmentality, regulation and analytical political economy, critical political economy, social stratification, sustainable development, global development, rural development, livelihoods, coloniality, migration, and agro-ecology.   
  • Historical and Cultural Geography
    Main interests include intellectual history, historical geographies of nature, landscape, and representation, contemporary social theory and philosophy, embodiment and materiality, posthumanisms, postcolonialism, decoloniality, feminist geographies, historical demographies of the UK, environmental history, ethics and subjectivity.
  • Quantitative Spatial Science
    Research focuses on quantitative analysis of social, housing, health and political data. Expertise in methods including multi-level modelling, GIS, spatial statistics, spatial time-series analysis, ecological inference and non-linear systems, geo-computation, and machine learning.


Academic research and teaching, NGO research, education, civil service research and administration, policy analysis and development, industry, market research, consultancy, journalism, writing and communications, advocacy and activism, community development, project management.   

Staff profiles

Professor Owen Crankshaw, (Professor), Social inequality in global cities, social polarisation, post-Fordism and the geography of cities, racial inequality.

Dr Joe Day, (Senior Research Associate and Proleptic Lecturer), Historical geographies of migration and urbanisation in Great Britain and NI, demographic and quantitative analysis, social class, census geographies, fertility.

Dr James Duminy, (Lecturer), Urban geography, urban governance, sub-Saharan Africa, Global South, food security and health risks, urban development and resilience planning.

Dr Negar Elodie Behzadi, (Lecturer), Feminist political ecology, feminist geographies, Central Asian resource geographies and extractivism, visual ethnography and visual methodologies.

Prof Maria Fannin, (Professor), Governmentality and the body, feminist theory, political economy of science and technology.

Dr Sean Fox, (Senior Lecturer in Global Development), Conflict and violence demography; Political economy of development; Public policy; Quantitative methods; Sub-Saharan Africa and East/Southeast Asia; Urban studies.; Comparative historical research

Dr Joe Gerlach, (Senior Lecturer), Cultural, political and social geography.; Critical cartography

Dr Franklin Ginn, (Senior Lecturer), Philosophical questions concerning the nonhuman.; Cultures of nature; Environment-society relations

Dr Paul Glennie, (Senior Lecturer), Geographies of times and timing; Historical geography, especially of late-medieval and early modern England (consumption and consumer societies, urbanism, demography).; Food and agrarian change

Professor Richard Harris, (Professor), Quantitative geography; Social geography; Spatial statistics.; Geographies of education

Dr Mark Jackson, (Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Geographies), Postcolonial and decolonial geographies, geographies of modernity, political ecology, classical and contemporary social theory, urban theory.

Dr Thomas Jellis, (Lecturer), cultural geography, contemporary social theory, geographies of experiment/experimental geographies, art-geography collaborations, history of geographical thought, exhaustion and endurance, translation

Professor Julie MacLeavy, (Professor), Political and economic geographies of work and welfare; State theory; Urban studies.; Gender

Professor David Manley, (Professor), Neighbourhood effects; Segregation, inequalities, social geography.; Advanced quantitative analysis (especially of large and complex datasets)

Professor Robert Mayhew, (Professor), history of geographical thought.; Historical geography and intellectual history

Dr Naomi Millner, (Senior Lecturer), Political geography, Latin American conservation politics, environmental management, sustainability, environmental expertise, sustainable futures.

Dr John Morgan, (Lecturer), Early modern environmental history or England and northern Europe, histories of water and flooding.

Dr James Palmer, (Lecturer), Political ecology, resource geographies, bioenergy economies and infrastructures, nonhuman (especially vegetal) natures, labour and value production, and the politics of environmental knowledge controversies.

Professor Susan Parnell, (Professor), Cities, urban development, African urbanism, poverty, social differentiation, cities of the Global South, disaster risk.

Dr Merle Pratchett, (Senior Lecturer), Architectural practices and aesthetics, built space, design and lived experience; Art-geography collaborations.; ' More-than-human' geographies: museum geographies or the geographies of collections

Professor Jonathan Rigg, (Professor), Rural and development geographies of South East Asia, migration and mobility, rural-urban relations, livelihoods, coping and resilience, hazards and disasters.

Dr Yvonne Sheratt, (Senior Lecturer), Continental philosophy, intellectual history, geographies of knowledge.

Dr Emmanouil Tranos, (Reader in Quantitative Human Geography), Quantitative analysis, spatiality of the digital economy, geography of internet infrastructures, urban and regional geographies of digital infrastructures, SMART cities.

Dr Winnie Wang, (Senior Lecturer), Population and urban geography; Quantitative methods.; China

Dr Levi Wolf, (Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Human Geography), statistical analysis of elections and voting trends.; Bayesian spatial econometrics

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

We welcome applications at any time of year. Early application is advised.

The closing date for UKRI (ex. ESRC, AHRC) studentship applications (September 2022 start) is in January 2022. For further details on applying for ESRC funding, please visit the SWDTP website.

Applications for funding should begin two to three months in advance of the January 2022 deadline (eg in October or November 2021). 

All applicants MUST secure supervisory support for their projects PRIOR to submitting a formal application. To do this, please write via email to the proposed supervisor before applying to discuss the project idea and its supervision. Please secure written support for the project and your application before making a formal application to the University.

Applications made without prior supervisory support will not be accepted.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Vicki Sackwild Postgraduate Student Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 7328 Email:

Dr Mark Jackson Programme Director Phone: +44 (0) 117 929 8109 Email:

School of Geographical Sciences
University of Bristol
University Road
Bristol BS8 1SS
School website: School of Geographical Sciences

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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