Natural Sciences

Degrees
  • PhD Natural Sciences
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time
Split-site research available Study mode details
Start date September, January or April

Research overview


Many of the most exciting developments in science are occurring at the boundaries where different branches of sciences, and mathematics, meet. Studying for a PhD in Natural Sciences will equip you with the ability to view research questions through multiple scientific lenses, with the emphasis on creating mathematical models that can be tested against observations. You will join an incredibly strong, and supportive, community of undergraduates, postgraduate researchers and staff who share a passion for exciting and ground-breaking research across the sciences and mathematics. Natural Sciences ranges from understanding the chemistry of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets to nanoscience, to using new advances in physics and materials to probe the properties of single bio-molecules. To tackle the big challenges of our time, from climate change to food security, and requires creativity and fresh perspectives. Diversity, of ideas and people, is therefore at the heart of who we are and what we do.

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Research centres/clusters/groups

Natural Sciences supervisors have close links with different research institutes, such as the Living Systems and Global Systems Institute, as well as research groups within such areas as Functional Materials. Profiles of Natural Sciences staff can be found on the department website.

Learning and assessment

The PhD programmes give you the flexibility to shape your own research in an area of particular interest to you. Like other research degrees you will be required to work independently, but with the support and guidance of an appropriate supervisor.

We are committed to ensuring that our research students are given the training and support to develop high-level professional skills required for careers in academia, commercial or public sectors.

A wide range of training is available to postgraduate students, including traditional, transferable skills and research specific training. This is either provided by Natural Sciences staff, or by colleagues from the University's Researcher Development Programme, which offers an extensive choice of training and development events exclusively designed for our postgraduate students.

There are a number of events, workshops and sessions available every year. Research seminars featuring internal and external speakers are organised each week during term time. You will be encouraged to attend additional optional courses, graduate schools and conferences and these are arranged through discussion with supervisors on an individual basis.

There are also opportunities for postgraduates to contribute to undergraduate teaching through activities such as the running of tutorials and demonstrating within practical sessions.

PhD Assessment

The PhD is assessed by a thesis of up to 100,000 words and a viva voce examination.

Facilities

Due to the varied nature of Natural Sciences, you will have access to multiple facilities and buildings on campus. As appropriate these may include state-of-the-art facilities within the Living System Institute, the Harrison Building and Physics Building.

Careers

As well as providing a gateway to careers in scientific research, whether in academia or companies, many employers value graduates with a background in a broad based multi-disciplinary and mathematical science degree.

Entry requirements 2020

Applicants must hold a university degree that is accepted by the University of Exeter for registration as a graduate student such as a BSc, MSc or equivalent with first or upper second class honours. We want to support diverse and inclusive work environments. We therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. 

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition Fees per year 2020/21

Following your registration, tuition fees for subsequent years of study may increase to take into account inflationary pressures – this will not exceed 3 per cent per year of study.

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
University of Exeter
Innovation Centre
Rennes Drive
EX4 4RN

Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)
+44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
Web: Enquire online

Supervision and support

All students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of scientific research. You will also receive support from other researchers through the Natural Sciences Society, and the Natural Sciences Equality Network.

Learning and assessment

The PhD programmes give you the flexibility to shape your own research in an area of particular interest to you. Like other research degrees you will be required to work independently, but with the support and guidance of an appropriate supervisor.

We are committed to ensuring that our research students are given the training and support to develop high-level professional skills required for careers in academia, commercial or public sectors.

A wide range of training is available to postgraduate students, including traditional, transferable skills and research specific training. This is either provided by Natural Sciences staff, or by colleagues from the University's Researcher Development Programme, which offers an extensive choice of training and development events exclusively designed for our postgraduate students.

There are a number of events, workshops and sessions available every year. Research seminars featuring internal and external speakers are organised each week during term time. You will be encouraged to attend additional optional courses, graduate schools and conferences and these are arranged through discussion with supervisors on an individual basis.

There are also opportunities for postgraduates to contribute to undergraduate teaching through activities such as the running of tutorials and demonstrating within practical sessions.

PhD Assessment

The PhD is assessed by a thesis of up to 100,000 words and a viva voce examination.

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