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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

Climate Change and Environment

Start date

September, January or April

Locations Streatham Campus
Penryn Campus
Study modes

Study mode details

Full time and part time
Split-site research available


The challenges posed by climate change are at the forefront of many universities, but none more so than Exeter: we have more contributors on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change than any other university in the world.

In May 2019 we declared a climate change emergency to show support those calling for urgent action and show commitment to leading the change required. This statement is resulting in a clear plan of action as to how we, as a university, are playing our part.

There is a growing demand for knowledge and expertise in all aspects of climate change:

  • the science of climate systems and human influences on natural processes
  • the history of past climate change and the trajectory of climate projections over the next hundred years or longer
  • the vulnerability of human and natural systems around the world
  • the practical and policy responses we need to manage the risks and tackle the causes
  • the links with the wider imperatives of sustainable development

You can explore our world-class research in Environmental Intelligence, and see how our Clean Growth research spans the natural and social sciences, engineering and business. The PhD to which you wish to apply (links above) will depend on in which discipline your lead supervisor sits.

View 2024 Entry

How to apply

Apply online

Ask a question


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72


Web: Enquire online
Phone: 0300 555 6060 (UK)
+44 (0)1392 723044 (non-UK)

Top 20 for Geography and Environmental Science

The Complete University Guide 2023

Top 25 in the world for Geography

QS World University Subject Rankings 2022

Home to the £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute: researching solutions to environmental change

6th in the UK for world-leading research in Geography and Environmental Studies

Based on 4* research in the Research Excellence Framework 2021

Research overview

Our research expertise in climate change and the environment can be broadly found within the following institutes:

Environment and Sustainability Institute

The Environment and Sustainability Institute’s world class research and education is enhancing people's lives by improving their relationships with the environment. Based at the University's Penryn Campus, in Cornwall, the ESI’s interdisciplinary research focuses on finding solutions to the problems caused by environmental and societal change to build a more sustainable future .

Global Systems Institute

The Global Systems Institute is applying Earth system science to create networked solutions. Researchers work with others with the goal of securing a flourishing future for humanity as an integral part ofa life-sustaining Earth system. A trans-disciplinary group of researchers, educators and partners are looking beyond single ‘environmental’ issues to a truly systemic view of global changes.

Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

The Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence develops innovative approaches to the use of data and artificial intelligence in modern society, covering the entire spectrum from collection through interrogation and analysis, to interpretation, visualisation and communication. Two of its key themes focus on the environment and sustainability: Physical Systems and Environment and Society.

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health

Based at the Knowledge Spa in Cornwall, the European Centre for Environment and Human Health conducts world-class research into the complex connections between the environment and health.


You can expect:

  • High-quality research supervision to develop and nurture your potential
  • A tailored supervision approach to help best suit your requirements
  • Accessible supervisors who are enthusiastic about working directly with postgraduate research students
  • Regular timetabled meetings with your supervisor
  • 'Open door' policy to all postgraduate students - instant access to world-leading researchers who will share their expertise and ideas with you
  • Regular meetings with your supervisory team, other members of your research group, and mentors

You will only be able to apply for a PhD when you have received a letter from potential supervisors stating that they are willing to supervise your PhD thesis. You therefore need to initiate contact with faculty who are working on topics that you are interested in and present them with a proposal of no more than 2000 words.