PhD students at daily morning coffee

PhD students in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London take on a wide variety of interesting, exciting and impactful work.

Projects span topics as diverse as planetary science, environmental science, solid earth science, climate science, petroleum engineering, alternative energy systems, mineral extraction and computational science and engineering. Read more about one PhD student's research

Most applicants apply to do a specific research project, although (depending on the source of funding) students are welcome to suggest their own in consultation with potential supervisors.

Read more about career opportunities and the experience of our students including doing a PhD while raising a family.


Some projects are funded through research grants held by faculty members, and these will be advertised on the departmental web site as and when they become available. PhD positions funded through research grants may be available to overseas students in exceptional cases.

Many projects are funded through departmental or college scholarshipsThe Department is also participating in a number of established Centres for Doctoral Training, which offer additional studentships and scholarships for UK-resident students. The Centres offer further topic-specific education and training. See further information about the availability, deadlines and eligibility criteria of all scholarships as well as lists of projects that qualify for the main scholarships here.

Regardless of the source of funding, interested students should begin the application process by contacting a faculty member to discuss the potential research topic.

How to apply

Online applications should only be submitted after the potential academic supervisor has expressed sufficient interest in your application.

As we are a multidisciplinary department, we do not require applicants to necessarily hold an undergraduate degree in the Earth sciences. Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree in a field appropriate to the intended area of PhD research, with a classification of at least upper-second-class, or the equivalent.

The department admits about 40 PhD students each year. A full-time PhD at Imperial will normally take 3-4 years. 

Find out about Departmental projects by topic.