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We welcome applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Human Geography.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment.

Overview

Overview

School of Science and the Environment

The School of Science and the Environment has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in sustainable development, development geography, urban planning, rural planning, economic, social, agricultural and environmental change, and political geography.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award

or

  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study

or

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline

or

  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 7.0 in Written English.

Course content

What will you study?

PhD year by year

After receiving your application, we try to establish if we have the necessary expertise to supervise your project and we begin to form a supervisory team for you. This will normally consist of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will be your lead supervisor, and at least one other second supervisor, who will offer you additional support and guidance throughout your studies. If, following a successful interview, you are offered a place as a full-time student, your programme of study will look something like this:

First year

You will have submitted a draft research outline with your application. In your first six months, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal, we call this an RDB1 Proposal. You will be aided in preparing for this by engaging with a 20-credit masters level module RTP401: Developing and Managing Your Research, and by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will meet with your supervisory team for 30 hours a year and this can be face-to-face or via Skype. Students who have not taken a recent research methods module in a relevant area will normally undertake a second module in their first year, in research methods. At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will work with your supervisors on completing a progress report, which we call an RDB7.

Second year

In your second year, you will be collecting data and working on your research project, under the supervision of your supervisors through regular meetings. In your second semester you will take a module titled RTP402: Dissemination, Impact and Engagement, which will help you begin to think about these three core themes. You may at this point have research papers ready to publish and you may wish to attend conferences to present your research to other experts in your field. You will be able to apply to our Research Student Support Scheme for some funding for this purpose (LINK). Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. At Transfer (RDB2), you will submit one to two chapters of your thesis and deliver a presentation to a question panel of experienced researchers.

Third and fourth year

In your third and fourth year, you will be writing up your thesis and preparing for your viva voce examination. This is an oral exam with two external examiners and a chair. You can also request that your supervisor be present at the exam. The exam will take place after you have submitted your final thesis. After the exam, it is not unusual for the examiners to ask that some minor amendments be made to your thesis before the final award is confirmed and you will have additional time to do this. It is possible to complete the course in three years, but we have found that the majority of students do take four years to complete the course.

Part time students follow the same structure as full time students but complete the PhD over a maximum period of six years.

Pathways

Students are allocated a pathway appropriate to their research experience and background.

Students without a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 1. This means you will need to engage with all of the modules outlined above and undertake associated assignments. These modules will lead to the additional award of PG Cert in Research Methods at no additional cost.

Students with a previous research degree will normally be allocated Pathway 2 and this will mean they will not be required to engage with the taught elements of the course to the same extent as students on Pathway 1. We do still recommend that they attend all of the workshops, for example, but they would not need to submit the associated assignments. Students on Pathway 2 may request to switch to Pathway 1 at the start of their course, with approval of their supervisory team.

Regardless of Pathway, the Researcher Development team organise a range of workshops that all students will be invited to attend.

Supervision areas

How will you be supervised?

Supervision areas

The School of Science and the Environment has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in sustainable development, development geography, urban planning, rural planning, economic, social, agricultural and environmental change, and political geography.

Resources

Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state-of-the-art library facilities. The Human Geography team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project, including a fully-equipped GIS, Mapping and Visualization Suite, which provides access to high-end computers, industry-standard GIS (ArcGIS) and statistical analysis software (e.g. Primer-E, Matlab, SPSS) and other mapping and remote sensing software (e.g. Photoscan Pro (Agisoft LLC)). This facility is run by a GIS technician, who provides advice and training to students and the suite also has its own A3 colour laser printer and A3 scanner for staff and student use. The School also has digital camcorders, cameras and microphones which students can use for data capture and creating podcasts.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.

Supervisors

Please click on the name of the supervisor to follow a link to their web page and find out more about their research interests and potential areas of PhD supervision. We recommend contacting a potential supervisor with your research outline before submitting a formal application, please read our guidelines for writing your research outline first.  Please only contact one supervisor. If another supervisor is better suited to your project, we will redirect your query.

Dr Heather Barrett 
Expertise: urban geography, town planning, heritage/conservation and urban sustainability

Dr Alan Dixon 
Expertise: environment-development relationships and sustainable livelihoods in developing countries; local institutions, local knowledge, and social capital in natural resource management; wetland environments and the political ecology of wetland management; sustainable development.

Prof. Nick Evans 
Expertise: agricultural geography; family farm businesses and restructuring; women in farming; farm diversification and pluriactivity; rare breeds of farm livestock / animal geography; landscape.

Dr David Storey 
Expertise: rural change and development; territory and national identity; sport, place and identity

dr-heather-barrett

Dr Heather Barrett

Heather's main teaching and research interests relate to urban geography and planning. She is particularly interested in urban conservation and the tensions that exist between the desire to preserve urban heritage and the impulses for change and regeneration in cities. In addition to publishing research in this area, Heather is also the co-author of the undergraduate student text book Urban Geography, which has been informed by her undergraduate teaching at Worcester.

Alan Dixon Profile

Dr Alan Dixon

Alan is a Geographer and Human Ecologist with research interests in Environment-Development relationships in developing countries, particularly the dynamics and sustainability of socio-ecological systems.

Much of Alan's work has focused on the importance of wetland environments at the community level, where he has explored the ways in which local knowledge, social capital and common property resource institutions contribute to sustainable wetland management strategies that produce win-win outcomes for both local peoples livelihoods and wetland ecosystem services.

professor-nick-evans

Professor Nick Evans

Prof Nick Evans joined the Geography Department at Worcester in the 1990s and has been dedicated to the development of excellence in both research and teaching during this time. His academic interests lie firmly within the arena of agricultural geography, contributing to reinvigorating its relevance in human geography as agri-cultural geography. Nicks work focuses particularly upon the social and cultural reasons lying behind the way agriculture in the Western World is practised, offering alternative explanations to those usually based on economics. Using this approach, he is striving to uncover how agricultural policies and farm families really work!

dr-david-storey

Dr David Storey

David has an eclectic range of research and teaching interests covering aspects of territory and identity, sport and place, rural change and development.

David has also published widely on these topics and have delivered papers at various international conferences. He has been involved in a number of research and consultancy projects for a range of external organisations.

Careers

Where could it take you?

All research students must engage with the Researcher Development Programme (RDP), a core curriculum of training and development which provides them with the general and subject-specific knowledge, skills and behaviours to support them in the completion of their research degree. At the beginning of an MPhil/PhD degree, you will be allocated to one of two pathways depending on your experience and knowledge as a researcher. This will determine which elements of the programme are core and which are optional. At the beginning of the programme you will be required to complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) in conjunction with your Director of Studies. This identifies the training that you will need to undertake, in addition to the mandatory elements of RDP, in order to complete the programme and to become an effective researcher. This TNA is revisited at the beginning of each subsequent academic year. All students are offered a wide range of optional training workshops throughout the programme focused around the following themes:

  • Developing and Managing Your Research
  • Dissemination, Impact, Engagement
  • Completing Your Research Degree
  • Research Methodology Master classes
  • Data Analysis
  • Research Funding
  • Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness
  • Careers and Employability
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Costs

How much will it cost?

Fees

The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £105 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £169 per week (2020/21 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain a DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact research@worc.ac.uk.

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk.

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr David Storey (d.storey@worc.ac.uk) to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

January start

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October start

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