Geographical Sciences (Human Geography)

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Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length PhD: Three years full-time or equivalent part-time (minimum
period of study).

seven 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 2021, however other dates can be considered. Please contact the postgraduate student administrator to discuss the options available.

Programme overview

The excellence of Bristol's social science research was confirmed by the latest Research Excellence Framework (2014). Overall, when intensity is taken into account, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law ranks second in the country, while the School of Geographical Sciences ranked first (see the Times Higher Education analysis of REF 2014).

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 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

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 scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

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.

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).

Applicants must develop their project ideas and proposals in consultation with potential supervisors within the School prior to formal application.

Applicants are required to contact potential supervisors within the School to confer on supervisory support and development of their project proposals. Only proposals and applications that have agreed written support from potential supervisors will be considered.

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:

  • Historical and Cultural Geography
    Main interests include the history of geographical thought and the history of science, cultural landscapes, geographies of performance and issues of textuality.
  • 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.

Staff profiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 and political geography, micro-politics, embodiment and labour, critical cartography

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

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

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

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

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), China; Population and urban geography; Quantitative methods.

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

How to apply
Application deadline:

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

The closing date for ESRC studentship applications (September 2021 start) is January 2021. For further details on applying for ESRC funding, please visit the SWDTP website.

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 2014 results

  • Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology (Geography):
  • 51% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 33% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 14% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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