Environmental Sciences PhD
MPhil option available
This course has an MPhil option
PhD student loans
The UK Government will be introducing PhD loans of up to £25,000 to UK nationals, residing in England, for postgraduate research programmes starting in the academic year 2018-19. Read more here.
About the course
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.
MPhil degree option
An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.
Brunel hosts a community of internationally recognised and world-leading researchers in Environmental Sciences. We undertake innovative research that increases understanding of the links between our environment and health, aims to prevent disease, and improves the quality of our environments. Environmental Sciences has particular expertise in the health impacts of chemicals in the environment, winning a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health. Professor John Sumpter received an OBE in August 2016 for his research which has increased global awareness on the consequence of environmental pollution.
Our research addresses five key areas: Environmental Health and Ecosystems; Biological Pathways and Systems; Environmental Change (past, present and future); Environmental Solutions; Environmental Policy and Communication. Our research is highly regarded and offers talented researchers the opportunity to:
- Join an expert interdisciplinary community that publishes world-leading research addressing priority and emerging challenges ranging from fundamental environmental science to the links between environment and health
- Apply state-of-the-art equipment for the chemical analysis of samples and molecular and cell biology techniques.
- Benefit from our excellent network of contacts within various sectors of government, industry and academia.
- Enjoy being part of a well-resourced, collegial research environment - all our research students are based in our dedicated postgraduate study rooms alongside academic staff offices and play a full part in the activities of the Division.
- Make a real difference to society through translation of research into practical solutions.
For details of potential research topics please visit this webpage.
Find out more
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
Following the completion of the course students may follow several career paths:
- Career path within academia starting as a University Lecturer/Assistant Professor
- Career progression within research institutes commencing as a post-doc researcher and progressing to senior researcher.
- Career path within government agencies (e.g . DEFRA, Environment Agency, OECD, etc)
- Career path with industry (as toxicologist, regulators, senior research scientists)
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of environmental research, some supervisors may organise a placement at another research institution or industry during the period of study.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry Criteria 2018/19
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. This applies even if English is the native language of your home country. An appropriate level of English language competence is also expected as listed below. Find out which alternative English language qualifications we accept. Applicants may also be required to attend compulsory in-sessional English language support. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.
Teaching and Assessment
All academic staff in Environmental Sciences are potential supervisors and are listed here. For details of potential research topics please visit this webpage.
Each student will be allocated a supervisory team consisting of the principal supervisor, second supervisor and a Research Development Advisor. The supervisory team will set teaching and learning targets and advise the student how to achieve them. The progress of each student will be assessed by the supervisory team at regular meetings and by a formal Progress Review Panel at 9 months for full-time students (18 months for part-time students) and then annually. All academic supervisors receive university supported training in the supervision of PhD students.
A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets. The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology. Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career. Students will also enrol in the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme which ensures all students are equipped with generic research skills including presentational skills and impact activities.
Facts and Figures
- Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008. The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
- 54% of our research outputs were classified as Internationally Excellent and 19% classified as World Leading (REF 2014).
- Environmental Sciences research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
Fees for 2018/19 entry
Full time: TBC / Part time: TBC
Full time: £18,000 Part time: £9,000
Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097
Full time: £17,500 Part time: £8,750
We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.
Additional course related costs
Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.