Postgraduate Research Degrees

The School of Planning and Geography is a major international centre for research in planning and human geography. As a top-rated school with the ambition to play a leading role in academic and policy debates at national and international levels, it aims to recruit committed research students for the pursuit of innovative, cutting-edge research at PhD level.

With its international linkages and research profile the School provides a rich and lively scholarly environment in which to conduct doctoral research work. At present there are around 30 full-time PhD students in the School. A series of shared offices are available for PhD students and each full time student has access to PC computer facilities. Each student benefits from a generous photocopying allowance and a fieldwork and conference budget of £750 p.a.

Research in the School is inter-disciplinary and is structured around the following five themes: environment, society and space; housing; spatial planning and city environments; urban and regional governance; and spatial analysis. The School houses seven major inter-disciplinary research centres: Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Space; Regeneration Institute; Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society; Centre for Local and Regional Government Research; Urban China Centre; Centre for Advanced Social Studies; and Centre for Education and the Built Environment.

Within the School various types of support mechanisms exist for PhD research students. Specifically:

  • Each student is allocated two supervisors with expertise in the relevant topic.
  • An internal reviewer is chosen to assess students' written work as part of a progress review scheme.
  • A regular PhD research seminar series and two PhD Away Days per year provide students with an opportunity to present their research in a supportive and constructive forum. Students will be expected to make formal presentations outlining their research interests and activities. The seminars can be used by the postgraduates to sharpen up their presentational skills, try out new ideas and develop the arguments and hypotheses that guide their research.
  • The five research groups within the School - Environment, Housing, Spatial Analysis, Spatial Planning and City Environments and Urban and Regional Governance - provide a context in which knowledge about the broad research area can be exchanged. Through membership of a research group, individual students are drawn into a wider academic community within the School.
  • The School's International Centre for Planning Research supports researchers in their scholarly activities. It brings international planning academics into the School and organises seminars and conferences on planning and related research themes.
  • The University Graduate College exist to foster an intellectually stimulating environment where students are encouraged to share and develop research interests with peers from other Academic Schools, and to feel part of a wider research community. It runs a number of seminars and facilitates the exchange of information between students working in the very different fields of study associated with the constituent schools. An extensive University Graduate College Programme offers students training in a range of skills that contribute not only to the efficient management of their research studies but also to their personal development and future employability.
  • The School has been awarded ESRC recognition for 1+ 3 and +3 PhD programmes. Thus, first-year PhD students in Planning and Geography can gain the opportunity to undertake a scheme of study directly related to research training in planning, environment and housing. First year PhD students will be expected (depending upon prior learning and experience) to undertake some or all of the MSc in Social Science Research Methods. Distinct routes through the course in planning, housing, sustainability, transport and regeneration are available.
  • All CPLAN PhD students are expected to undertake a mix of training in generic and subject-specific research skills, as well as transferable skills, in order to broaden their development as researchers beyond the confines of the research skills required for their project. Training can be categorised within the four domains of the Researcher Development Framework (RDF):
    •  Domain A:  Professional and intellectual attributes
    •  Domain B:  Personal effectiveness/career development
    •  Domain C:  Research organisation and governance
    •  Domain D:  Communication, impact and influence
    Students are expected to accumulate 20 training points per year.

These various support mechanisms ensure that while research students engage in a unique and personalised piece of research they benefit from access to a broader community of researchers. The various levels of support add up to a vibrant and lively research culture both within the School and across the University as a whole.

The school has research links with a number of countries in Europe and the rest of the world. These links are reflected in our current PhD students, which come from across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and all parts of the U.K.

Further Information

Dr Andrew P. Kythreotis
Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 76063