The General Circulation of Planetary Atmospheres, Mathematics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3041

About the award

Earth is but one planet. There are at least seven others in the solar system and billions beyond. This project will explore some of the general principles governing the circulation of planetary atmospheres, including the Earth, and will seek to determine the relationship of Earth's circulation to that of other planets. The project will focus on terrestrial planets, which are planets like Earth that have a well-defined atmosphere with a definite lower boundary.

The student will explore how the circulation depends on the fundamental parameters of the planet, such as the planetary rotation rate, the atmospheric mass and composition, the distance from its host star. In particular we will seek to understand if and how Earth's atmosphere is connected to other planetary atmospheres, and so put it in a more general context. Is the Earth's atmosphere a very special case, or is it really rather ordinary, or generic? The project will involve a combination of numerical modelling and theory, using a flexible, idealized numeric model of planetary atmospheres that can be configured to almost any planet in conjunction with basic geophysical fluid dynamics theory. The student will choose the precise direction of the project, in consultation with the supervisor.

The successful student will join the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics which is part of the Department of Mathematics. This group has a number of other PhD opportunities, and applications to multiple posts is welcomed.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2018.


Application deadline:9th March 2018
Number of awards:1
Duration of award:per year
Contact: EMPS PGR Team +44 (0) 1392

How to apply

Entry requirements:
Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Applied Mathematics, Physics, Natural Sciences or other appropriate discipline. 
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply
In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”. 
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
The closing date for applications is midnight on 9 March 2018.  Interviews will subsequently be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus.
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730.  Project-specific queries should be directed to Prof. Vallis.