School of Geography

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Postgraduate research fees and funding

Funding your PhD

A PhD is a significant financial investment, but it is one that we believe brings an invaluable personal experience and a wealth of professional opportunities on your graduation. There are a range of different sources of funding available for PhD students at QMUL. Finding funding is an important element of the application process and we recommend that you begin to explore your funding options as early as possible. 

The School of Geography at QMUL invites applications for fully funded PhD studentships commencing in September 2018. The studentships are for applicants wishing to undertake a PhD in Human Geography or Physical Geography/Environmental Science, in a research area agreed in consultation with the prospective supervisor. Studentships may be funded from one of the sources below, dependent upon eligibility and proposed topic. Candidates are strongly advised to make contact with the School and a potential supervisor to discuss these opportunities.

LISS DTP Studentships (1+3 or +3) 

The School is a member of the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP), which is an interdisciplinary doctoral training partnership involving QMUL, King's College London and Imperial College London. As a member of LISS-DTP we are able to offer 1+3 (one year MRes followed by three year PhD) and +3 (three year PhD) studentships, for projects relating to three thematic pathways which align with the research expertise of our academic staff: Health, Biopolitics and Social Inequality, International Development, Conflict & Human Security, and Urbanisation, Social Change & Transformation. Successful applicants will be hosted within the School of Geography and will have access to training opportunities across the LISS-DTP. Eligibility is based on UK residency, although non-UK resident EU students may apply for a fees only award. 

Applications for an ESRC studentship must be made to the LISS-DTP by 5pm on 31 January 2018. Please follow the instructions on how to apply.

LISS DTP ESRC Collaborative (CASE) Studentships (1+3 or +3)

Staying afloat? Making home and creating place on London’s canals and rivers

Project description:

The London Assembly estimates that at least 10,000 people now make their homes on London’s waterways, occupying 4000 vessels, and living at fixed points in the city (home moorers) or moving every two weeks to different locations (continuous cruisers). This phenomenon has been triggered by the escalating costs of ‘on land’ housing but also by Londoners seeking an alternative lifestyle. These waterside environments are also emerging as novel public spaces with regeneration promoting opportunities for recreation and new economic activities, especially those centred around food and the arts. Benefitting from a collaboration with the Canal & River Trust and The Geffrye Museum for the Home, this interdisciplinary project is the first detailed study of the communities living on London’s waterways. It seeks to understand how these communities form and operate and how they manage the challenges of canal boat living. The research will contribute to our theoretical understanding of home and place making and, specifically, it will generate new evidence to help the CRT and other stakeholders better understand the needs of those who make their homes on London’s canals and rivers and help inform the development of these waterway environments as sustainable and high-quality places for people and wildlife.

For further details on the project please see: ESRC CASE Studentship Staying afloat project full details [PDF 443KB]. Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Alastair Owens to discuss the details of the proposed project.

Transmitting In/equality Across Borders: Shifting Inheritance Practices and Outcomes among Indian Migrants in London

  • Academic leadProfessor Kavita Datta, QMUL
  • Co-supervisorProfessor Alastair Owens, QMUL 
  • Partner: Dr Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust
  • Funding: LISS-DTP ESRC Collaborative Studentship, 1+3 (MRes Global Development Futures and 3-year PhD) OR 3-year PhD (if the candidate has relevant masters degree)
  • Application deadline: 23 February 2018

Project description:

Investigations of migrants’ inheritance practices and outcomes are limited in multi-disciplinary migration and inheritance studies. This omission is surprising given that more than a billion people are migrants, 244 million of whom are international migrants. Situated within conceptual and empirical lacunae, this project aims to interrogate the migration-development nexus. At its core is a concern to make visible the extent and patterns of transnational inheritance among migrant men and women, and examine how these are mediated by gender and class; interrogate the formal and informal mechanisms through which migrants’ inheritance rights are negotiated, maintained and translated and assess the extent to which inherited assets translate into economic security and productivity. Focusing on skilled and semi-skilled Indian migrants living in London, a mixed method research strategy will be deployed, entailing a questionnaire survey with migrants; qualitative interviews with migrant men and women as well as wealth and asset managers, solicitors and other financial advisors who mediate migrant inheritance, as well as an analysis of migrants’ wills. Collaborative outputs beyond the thesis will include Briefing Reports and a workshop bringing together academics, policy makers and industry practitioners.

Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Kavita Datta to discuss the details of the proposed project. 

Circuits of Global Labour Governance: Public Procurement and Labour Standards in the Global Electronics Industry

Project description:

The globalisation of supply chains has created a governance deficit concerning working conditions in the world economy. Private-sector initiatives (corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct) face limits to improving labour standards. Yet, little attention has been paid to public sector attempts to regulate working conditions in global supply chains. An EU Directive on Public Procurement, however, allows state organisations to include clauses on labour standards in procurement contracts. In this context, this project will examine socially responsible public procurement of electronics hardware - an industry mired by serious labour violations – and focuses on the state as a regulator and buyer. The research will be carried out with Electronics Watch, a non-profit, non-governmental initiative which organises public sector buyers, provides tools to create effective market demand for decent working conditions (e.g. contract clauses), and monitors working conditions to ensure compliance in factories. The project will examine: how the EU Directive is being implemented by public-sector buyers in the United Kingdom; how the governance framework impacts lead firm and supplier relationships in the sector; and the experience of public procurement regulation as an emergent new relationship between the state, public sector governance and labour conditions in globalised production networks.

In terms of research methods, the project will involve key informant interviews with one or more public procurement agencies in the United Kingdom; a mapping of the legal framework for labour standards in public procurement, and its implementation in the contracts will be conducted; key informant interviews with one of the top three electronic brand firms at its headquarter location and with the brand firm’s major suppliers in Malaysia; interviews will also be conducted with local monitoring organisations, trade unions, and workers in Malaysia; secondary data from audit and monitoring reports will be analysed to provide contextual data.

Applications must be made through the LISS DTP website. Please do not hesitate to contact the academic lead Professor Adrian Smith to discuss the details of the proposed project.

To be considered for these projects, all applications must include:

These materials should be sent BOTH to and the academic lead indicated for the project.

Students applying for CASE studentships must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of UK/EU residency status and academic qualifications, specifically core social science research methods training that must already have been undertaken (for +3 awards) or will be undertaken at Masters level (for 1+3 awards).

Please see the LISS DTP website for further details.

QMUL Principal's Postgraduate Research Studentships

The School invites applications for QMUL Principal’s Postgraduate Research Studentships for self-defined projects relating to any of the School’s human or physical geography research themes. Applications are also invited for projects that might involve collaboration with other Schools within QMUL. These studentships are open to UK, EU and international students and cover fees and maintenance at the Research Council rate for London (currently £16,553).

The deadline for submitting application is 5pm on 31 January 2018. See this page for details of the application process.

London NERC Studentships

The School invites applications for Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) PhD studentships through the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, for projects relating to the School’s Earth Surface Science research theme. A collaboration between QMUL and other world-leading research centres in London, the DTP is offering four-year studentships across a suite of research areas. See details on NERC eligibility. For more information, including examples of projects available, see Please do not hesitate to contact the named QMUL supervisor to discuss the details of the proposed projects. 

Applications must be made through the DTP website by 11am on Monday 8 January 2018.

Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award

The Students who are graduates of QMUL and are not in receipt of a full scholarship, may be eligible for £1,000 off their postgraduate degree tuition fees. For eligibility criteria, how to apply and further information, visit the Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award web page.

Application process and interviews

See above for details of how to apply for LISS and London NERC DTP studentships. We anticipate interviewing shortlisted applicants in mid-February 2018.

It is important to be aware that different funding bodies and organisations will have different deadlines: the majority of these will fall inbetween November and February prior to the commencement of your PhD project in September.

As a result of the quality of our graduate training and supervision, the School of Geography has been awarded NERC recognition, is part of the ESRC-funded London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP) and is an associate member of the AHRC-funded London Arts & Humanities Partnership.

The School primarily accepts students on to our PhD programmes who have identified sources of funding. We will consider applications from self-funded students in exceptional circumstances.  

PhD tuition fees for 2018-19

Students enrolling on a postgraduate degree programme are charged tuition fees each year by Queen Mary University of London. The rate you will be charged depends on whether you are assessed as a Home/EU or Overseas student

Tuition fees for Home students are set by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the 2018-19 rates are likely to be confirmed in January 2018. The published rates for 2017-18 are:

  • £4,195 for full-time research degrees
  • £2,098 for part-time research degrees

For overseas fees see our page on International students’ tuition fees and for further information visit this page.

More information

  • Further funding opportunities do come up throughout the year so please keep checking the Funding a PhD pages regularly for updates.
  • The School of Geography also accepts applications from international self-funded students. Further information is available here.
  • For enquiries, please contact:
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