Geography and Planning

The School of Geography and Planning is a major international centre for research in the areas of city and regional planning, human geography and urban design.

As a top-rated research school with the ambition to play a leading role in academic and policy debates at national and international levels, we aim to recruit committed research students for the pursuit of innovative, cutting-edge research at PhD level.

With our international linkages and research profile, we provide 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.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD
Full-time duration PhD 3 or 4 years
Part-time duration PhD 5-7 years
Start dates January, April, July, October

We have been awarded ESRC recognition for 1+3 and +3 PhD programmes.

Thus, first-year PhD students 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.

A series of shared offices are available for PhD students and each full-time student has access to computer facilities.

Our research structured around the following broad themes:

  • Sustainable consumption and production systems
  • Poverty, social justice and entitlement
  • Regional, city-region and neighbourhood governance
  • Innovation and regeneration
  • Complexity, urban evolution and environmental systems
  • Pedagogy, knowledge and the built environment

These themes are explored at multiple scales (supra-national, national, regional and local), in urban and rural spaces, and across different sectors (such as housing, environment, labour markets).

Research work is organised into five main groups with a number of crosscutting research centres.

Some of these focus work within research groups and others operate across research group boundaries.

We play a leading role in the Sustainable Places Research Institute, and play a leading role in the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) other research centres include

  • Animal Geographies Research Cluster
  • Centre for Economic Geography
  • Energy Research Cluster
  • Informal Economy Research Observatory
  • Research Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Food.

Research areas

Please see our research webpages for more information.

Communicating Biosecurity Advice to Farmers: What are the Challenges and What Works?

The aim of this PhD will be to work in collaboration with the TBAS to examine how biosecurity information is communicated to farmers, and develop and test new methods of engagement with farmers.

Well-being and National Planning Policy: Evaluating the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations Act in Wales

The aim of the PhD is to critically assess and further develop approaches to the translation and integration of well-being principles and planning evidence into national planning policy through a case study of Wales and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

The Frontiers of Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Justice in the Amazon: A Community-Based Study of Political Agro-ecology in the State of Pará

This doctoral research will generate theoretically original and empirically grounded understandings of the dynamics of, and interconnections between, different agro-ecology stakeholders, consumers, and policy-makers.

Vegetation Fires and their Management: from Perceptions to Policy

The project aims to understand the character and consequences of UK society’s perceptions of vegetation fires, both as natural hazard (wildfires) and land management tool (managed burning).

Fractured transitions? Identity, diaspora and disadvantage among young Somali people in Wales

This project critically engages with geographical writing on ‘encounters’.


We have had ESRC-funded PhD studentships for UK and EU students in the past.

Name Deadline
ESRC Wales DTP Collaborative PhD Studentships in Geography and Planning 1 February 2018
ESRC Wales DTP PhD studentships in Environmental Planning 1 February 2018
ESRC Wales DTP PhD Studentships in Human Geography 1 February 2018

Tuition fees

UK and EU students

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

The 2,000-word synopsis of the proposed research should include the following:

  • aims and purpose of the research
  • overview of the academic literature relevant to your field
  • proposed methodology
  • academic contributions of your research

This is to ensure, firstly, that the school has the necessary expertise to provide adequate supervision and, secondly, that the applicant has a researchable project in mind. Potential applicants are encouraged to identify at an early stage the degree of "fit" between their proposed research and the research interests of Planning and Geography staff. In order to do this, please refer to the research groups on sections on the School's website.

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree (or equivalent) or a Masters degree in a discipline relevant to the particular area of research.

All candidates will be required to demonstrate competency in English language prior to arrival in the UK. We look for the following standard: IELTS minimum overall score of 6.5 with at least a score of 7.0 in the writing section, and no less than a score of 6.0 in other sections.

English language requirements


Academic contact(s)

Andrew Williams

Dr Andrew Williams

Lecturer in Human Geography

 +44 (0)29 2068 8680


Apply now
Meet us at our Information Fair on 22 February 2018.

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