PG Studies Each year the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group admits around eight postgraduate students to undertake research in space plasma physics or atmospheric physics, leading (via an initial MPhil registration) to the award of a PhD degree of Imperial College London. Home or EU students are supported financially by postgraduate studentship awards provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) or the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The details of the type of research pursued will typically consist of some combination of data analysis and interpretation, computer modelling, or theory. The Group's students have full use of our workstation/PC-based in-house computer system.

Our aim is that our students should complete writing their PhD theses by the end of their third academic year. During the first year, students spend about half of their time attending lectures or in private study, learning broadly about the field and the research techniques employed. The rest of their time is spent on an initial research project which is usually developed to become the main thesis topic in the second and third year. During the second year the emphasis is on the main research topic, which we aim to have sufficiently close to completion at the start of the third year that it can be written up into a thesis (and one or more research papers) during the final year. Throughout this time, students also attend a weekly series of research seminars and Group meetings where they have the opportunity to discuss their own research and the work of others. Most students will present a summary of their research results at a major national or international scientific meeting during their second or third year. About half of our students continue into research careers in fields related to their PhD studies; others find diverse employment using the computing, communication or research skills which they have acquired during their PhD studies.

PG studies

Research Topics

We are able to offer PhD research projects across the spectrum of the group's activity. To find more information on the research areas with which the Group is involved, go to SPAT research areas.

A list of projects for students proposing to commence study in the fall is available. In addition, you can read brief summaries of our current PhD projects provided by the students involved.

Postgraduate Teaching

All 1st year graduate students are to follow a series of lectures offered by the staff during their first term. These lectures cover all aspects of the research conducted in SPAT, ranging from Heliospheric Physics to the circulation of the Oceans. Second and third year postgraduate students are welcome to join. The SPAT postgraduate lectures are coordinated by Adam Masters.

PG Paperwork and deadlines

All information and relevant forms can be found at:

for year 1 students  [9 months: viva: ~20 min followed by questions; report: ~80% literature review + ~20% research; research plan]
for year 2 students  [18-24 months: viva: ~20 mins followed by questions; report: ~20 pages; research (thesis) plan]
for year 3 students [34 months: viva: ~20 mins follwed by questions; one-page thesis/research plan]
for year 4 students [complete forms for transfer of status at end of funded period. NB this may occur in year 3 if you are funded for 3 years].

General link for all categories

Contacting Us

If you are interested in joining our Group to undertake postgraduate research leading to an MPhil or PhD degree please contact either Dr Heather Graven or the Group Secretary at the address below. Telephone enquiries can be made to 020-7594-7770. A visit can be arranged or further information and application forms sent.

Postal Address:
Space and Atmospheric Physics Group
Blackett Laboratory
Imperial College
London SW7 2BW