The School prides itself on providing a world-class research environment, a product of the people within the School (both staff and students), our networks beyond the School, and our own world-class facilities.
Measures of Esteem
The School was ranked joint first in the latest (2008) Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), with 75 per cent of research activities rated world leading or internationally excellent. More generally, the high esteem in which members of the School are held within the discipline is reflected in the number of staff who edit Geography’s most prestigious academic journals (for exampleTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, Geography Compass, European Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, Cretaceous Research) or who are on their editorial boards (for example Boreas, Journal of Quaternary Science, Cultural Geographies, London Journal, Social and Cultural Geography, Society and Space, Antipode).
The School also prides itself on taking its research beyond academia, working with a wide range of national and international, governmental and non governmental agencies to shape policies and politics beyond the academy, for example: the US Cancer Institute, Department of Health, National History Museum, Environment Agency, United Nations, and The World Bank. The School was central to the campaign to make Queen Mary the UK’s first Living Wage university, and was recently honoured with the award of ‘Best Academic Centre’ by London Citizens (the grassroots charity leading this campaign) in recognition of the caliber of its ‘research and analysis of the changes that have taken place to work, community and family life’ and for joining ‘hands with [your] neighbours [to] change and challenge the market forces that can destroy the bonds that keep civil society together’.
An intellectually stimulating, friendly and supportive school
Whilst the RAE assessors were impressed by the strength of research across all five of our research themes, they also singled out the School’s ‘vibrant research culture’, and the ‘excellent integration of established staff, postdoctoral researchers and research students’.
Research students are an integral part of the School and we offer a thriving and supportive research milieu and world leading facilities for our students. These include a weekly School Seminar Series, regular reading groups (convened by research students in each of the School’s Research Themes) and the School’s annual David M Smith Lecture (among previous speakers are Doreen Massey, David Harvey, Partha Chatterjee, John Pickles, Onora O’Neil and Jamie Peck). They also involve events organized with our Annual Distinguished Visitors (who have included Cindi Katz, Julie Graham, Ash Amin, Nigel Roulet, and Geraldine Pratt), and QM Visiting Fellows (among whom have been Stuart Elden, Sallie Marston, Maria Kaika, Alec Murphy, Wendy Larner and Swati Chattopadhyay).
In addition graduate students in human geography attend our regular Research Frameworks meetings – an informal discussion group for all staff and students convened around the work of distinguished academic visitors. Recent visitors to the School and speakers at our Research Frameworks meetings beyond those visitors listed above include Nigel Thrift, Ed Soja, Matt Sparke, Paul Cloke, Peter Dicken, Erik Swyngedouw, Claire Dwyer, Richard Walker, Gail Davies, and Daniel Miller.
Graduate students in physical geography can take advantage of the School’s Physical Geography Discussion Group, providing regular meetings where staff, postdoctoral research assistants and postgraduate students present and discuss new ideas and preliminary research findings in a friendly and informal atmosphere.
As a PhD student in Geography you will enjoy your own desk and computing space in dedicated graduate offices with networked computer facilities, and access to the School’s research facilities – including specialist computers and computing software for statistical data analyses, geographical information systems, desktop publishing and the processing of video and electronic images. Technical staff (in cartography, IT and lab research) are available to help graduate students when their research requires their specialist skills and equipment.
In addition you will have access to a wide range of facilities and learning resources within the College and across the University of London. These include: the QMUL Library and other libraries within the University of London; the University of London Library at Senate House and the first rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library); and graduate facilities in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, including the ‘Lock Keeper’s Cottage’ in the Campus’s ‘Arts Quarter’ bordering the Regent’s Canal (seminar room, a common room with kitchen facilities and three work rooms with additional computing resources).
Physical geography and environmental science students have access to some of the best lab facilities of any School of Geography in the UK, developed from an initial investment by SRIF of some £3 million. They also have access to the laboratories located in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and facilities in the Centre for Micromorphology and Centre for Aquatic and Terrestrial Environments at Queen Mary.