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The University of Worcester welcomes 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.



Researcher Development Programme

You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree but also enhance the skills you will need in any future career.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

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


  • 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


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


  • 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?

Wide variety of research interests

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, political geography.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Excellent supervision

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.


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 Institute also has digital camcorders, cameras and microphones which students can use for data capture and creating podcasts.

Recent successful projects have included examining farmers’ interpretation of climate change in the Southern Welsh marches by Dr Rebecca Griffiths, as part of a PhD studentship. Dr Rachael Carrie, a Post-doctoral Researcher is currently exploring the impacts and processes of the of the ‘Functional Landscape Approach’: a ‘people-centered’ approach that seeks to contribute to environmentally sensitive and climate-resilient strategies for safeguarding wetland ecosystem services and improving livelihoods and well-being at the catchment-scale.


Dr Heather Barrett 
Expertise: urban geography; town planning; rural geography.

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


PhD Urban Geography (Birmingham, 1996)

BA (Hons) Geography (Portsmouth Polytechnic, 1989)


My main teaching and research interests relate to urban geography and planning. I am 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, I have recently co-authored a key urban geography textbook, which has been informed by my undergraduate teaching at Worcester.

I am a University of Worcester Teaching Fellow and I have undertaken pedagogic research which has drawn on the teaching that I do at Worcester. In particular, I am interested in the development of graduate employability in higher education curricula, and my research in this area has fed into the work that I do in relation to the development of academic tutoring programmes in Geography and Archaeology and Heritage Studies and also my teaching in core modules such as Applying Geography. Externally, I am a committee member of the Higher Education Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society, which links together geographers across the country engaged in learning and teaching research.

I also have a substantive management role within the Institute of Science and the Environment, being responsible for the co-ordination of the Institutes work in the areas of learning and teaching and quality enhancement, which involves working across a number of subject areas.


Dr Alan Dixon

Research Interests

I am 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 my work has focused on the importance of wetland environments at the community level, where I have 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.

I have been involved in various research and consultancy projects ranging from my own ESRC funded research that examined the role of local institutional arrangements in wetland management, to work undertaken for the FAO that led to the development of global Guidelines for Wetland-Agriculture Interactions. More recently, I have been working with the NGO Self Help Africa in disseminating the Functional Landscape Approach for dambo management in Malawi. My work has also informed wetland policy making in various African countries as well as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Together with Adrian Wood (University of Huddersfield) and Matthew McCartney (International Water Management Institute) our recent book, Wetland management and Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa, sets out a new agenda for wetland management in the 21st century.


I currently teach on a range of undergraduate modules that reflect my research interests. These include GEOG1120 People and Place, GEOG1122 Unequal World, GEOG2101 Highlands Fieldcourse, GEOG 2112 Researching Human Geography, GEOG2131 Geographies of Development, and GEOG3136 Environment and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The latter has been designed as a virtual fieldcourse which facilitates student interaction with a range of multimedia resources that simulate a field visit to western Ethiopia an area where I have worked periodically since 1996. In collaboration with Beacons Education Development Centre, a local NGO, I run a conference every year which gives students an opportunity to engage with practitioners and decision-makers in the field of international development. This is an integral part of the student learning experience on the GEOG2131 module.



  • PhD 'Indigenous knowledge and the hydrologicalmanagement of wetlands in Illubabor, Southwest Ethiopia' (University of Huddersfield, 2000)
  • BSc (Hons) Human Ecology (Huddersfield, 1995)

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 practiced, 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!

Nick was also at the forefront of the development of a critical new animal geography which emerged for the 21st century through his work on farm livestock and landscape, Such specialisms in geographical research ensures that his teaching covers exciting and relevant areas of human geography that many degree programmes and A level syllabuses simply do not reach!

Another key area of activity is Nicks Directorship of the Centre for Rural Research (CRR). This research centre offers the expertise of Nick and other Geography staff at Worcester to external clients who are seeking high quality research reports into important issues facing today's countryside. Project management has been a key element of the role. This has provided research opportunities for both students and recent graduates to become involved in research and gain experience. There are too many projects to list, but clients have included Government departments, local authorities, charities, protected area partnerships and private businesses. For more details, see the CRR pages.

Nick also undertakes a senior management role for the University as Chair of its institution-wide Research Degrees Board (RDB). Working closely with the Research School, he endeavours to ensure that all doctoral students interact positively with the University's regulations to enhance positively their experience of research training. He uses consistency and fairness as his guiding principles.


  • PhD Agricultural Geography (Coventry)
  • BSc (Hons) Geography (Coventry)

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.


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

How much will it cost?


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


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 £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 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

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

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

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr David Storey ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

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