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The University of Worcester welcomes applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Physical Geography.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment.

Overview

Overview

Researcher Development Programme

You will have the opportunity to be supervised by leading researchers in your field and take advantage of our rich Researcher Development programme which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to complete your research degree but also enhance the skills you will need in any future career.

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award

or

  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement.

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study

or

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline

or

  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement.

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 7.0 in Written English.

Course content

What will you study?

Wide variety of research interests

The School of Science and the Environment has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in river science, glacial geomorphology, environmental geology, GIS and remote sensing.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Excellent supervision

Benefit from a professional and challenging relationship with your supervisory team, drawn from experienced academics working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Resources

Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state of the art library facilities. The Physical Geography team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project, including; field equipment including a Teledyne StreamPro Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), a 2D Flow Tracker, six Valeport Electromagnetic current meters, three portable YSI multi-parameter water quality probes, an ISCO automatic liquid sampler, Solinst water level and water temperature data loggers, Tinytag water temperature data loggers and tipping bucket logging rain gauges. Two hydrological monitoring sites on local streams (Leigh Brook and Bow Brook) continuously monitor water level and various water quality parameters (pH, temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, turbidity) with data logged every 15 minutes and accessible online via telemetry in real-time. Each site also has an ISCO automatic liquid sampler The field equipment and hydrological monitoring sites are managed and maintained by a specialist Physical Geography technician and field equipment can booked out through him.

Survey equipment includes a Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with three staff licensed with the Civil Aviation Authority to fly it in the UK, mapping and survey grade GPS, a Leica Terrestrial Laser Scanner, total stations, quickset levels and laser distance measurers.

The School of Science and the Environment has a fully-equipped GIS, Mapping and Visualization Suite, which provides access to high-end computers, industry-standard GIS (ArcGIS) and statistical analysis software (e.g. Primer-E, Matlab, SPSS) and other mapping and remote sensing software (e.g. ENVI and Photoscan Pro (Agisoft LLC)). This facility is run by GIS technicians, who provide advice and training to students and the suite also has its own A3 colour laser printer and A3 scanner for staff and student use. The Institute also has digital camcorders, cameras and microphones which students can use for data capture. A further six science and geography technicians offer support with field and laboratory based work.

Recent successful projects have included Dr Caroline Wallis who evaluated the Spatial Configuration and Temporal Dynamics of Hydraulic Patches in Three UK Lowland Rivers (2014), Dr Martin Wilkes who examined The Hydrodynamics of River Ecosystems: Towards an Objective and Ecologically Relevant Classification of Mesohabitat (2014), and Dr Amy Woodget who quantified Physical River Habitat Parameters Using Hyperspatial Resolution UAS Imagery and SfM-photogrammetry (2015). Some of our current research students are exploring The influence of physical habitat heterogeneity on macroinvertebrate community response to fine sediment deposition in river ecosystems (George Bunting).

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.

Supervisors

Dr Catriona Fyffe 
Expertise: influence of supraglacial debris on glacier-hydrology, glacier velocity and ablation; energy balance melt modelling; mountain river hydrometry and hydropower resource estimation.

Dr Cheryl Jones 
Expertise: influence of freeze-thaw activity upon low-strength mudrocks; site investigation; geological conservation; geological tourism; Geographical Information Systems.

Professor Ian Maddock 
Expertise: hydroecology; ecohydraulics; river management, river habitat assessment, the use of UAVs for river survey.

Dr Des McDougall 
Expertise: reconstructing former glaciers; the impacts of paraglacial reworking and its significance for the interpretation of the geomorphological record in upland Britain.

Dr Fleur Visser 
Expertise: remote sensing; Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA); unmanned aerial systems (UAVs/drones); very high resolution (VHR) imagery; remote sensing of submerged vegetation; structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry; field spectroscopy; hyperspectral remote sensing; assessment of pluvial flooding; soil erosion and sediment transport; sediment budgets; floodplain geomorphology and hydrology.

Careers

Where could it take you?

All research students must engage with the Researcher Development Programme (RDP), a core curriculum of training and development which provides them with the general and subject-specific knowledge, skills and behaviours to support them in the completion of their research degree. At the beginning of an MPhil/PhD degree, you will be allocated to one of two pathways depending on your experience and knowledge as a researcher. This will determine which elements of the programme are core and which are optional.At the beginning of the programme you will be required to complete a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) in conjunction with your Director of Studies. This identifies the training that you will need to undertake, in addition to the mandatory elements of RDP, in order to complete the programme and to become an effective researcher. This TNA is revisited at the beginning of each subsequent academic year. All students are offered a wide range of optional training workshops throughout the programme focused around the following themes:

  • Developing and Managing Your Research
  • Dissemination, Impact, Engagement
  • Completing Your Research Degree
  • Research Methodology Master classes
  • Data Analysis
  • Research Funding
  • Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness
  • Careers and Employability
  • Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
Costs

How much will it cost?

Fees

The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.

Accommodation

Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience, and our welcoming student communities are great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our halls of residence. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £102 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £165 per week (2019/20 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain a DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact research@worc.ac.uk.

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk.

Making an application

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Research School on 01905 542182 or research@worc.ac.uk

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr David Storey (d.storey@worc.ac.uk) to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

January start

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October start

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