PhD research opportunities

Two researchers in the icy artic

PhD research projects

The Museum partners with academic institutions to offer a range of PhD research opportunities. Some of these are based at the Museum, while others are based at the partner institution with visits to the Museum.

PhD studentships are often organised within the context of Doctoral Training Programmes (DTPs), funded by UK research councils or European research initiatives.

This approach has introduced a skills and training emphasis to the PhD experience, recognising that many doctoral graduates do not stay in strictly academic or research environments, but are employed across professional organisations and industry.

The Museum does not confer degrees, so students always have a university supervisor. 

PhD studies are possible with the Museum and any university, depending on the supervisory team for the project.

Funding sources for PhD projects

Funding for PhDs is from research councils through Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs), Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) or institutional allocations.

Some CDTs are structured so that the first year constitutes an MRes degree and then the candidate moves on to PhD study for the remaining three years.

Most DTPs and CDTs advertise specific projects for which students can apply.  We list the projects involving the Natural History Museum.

Applications to the London NERC DTP programme are not for a specific project, but for a research theme. A list of exemplar projects, including ones involving the Natural History Museum, can be found on the London NERC DTP website.

Doctoral Training Programmes (DTPs)

The Natural History Museum is a partner in eight NERC DTPs:

ACCE: Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment

  • Sheffield, York, Liverpool 

ARIES: Advanced Research and Innovation in the Environmental Sciences

  • University of East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Plymouth, Royal Holloway Earth Sciences 

CENTA: the Central England NERC Training Alliance

  • Birmingham, Cranfield, Leicester, Loughborough, Open University, Warwick 

GW4+: Great Western Four+

  • Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Exeter 

INSPIRE: the Interdisciplinary Southampton Partnership for Investigators Researching the Environment

  • Southampton 

SSCP: Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet

  • Imperial College London (SSCP)

The London NERC DTP

  • Brunel, Birkbeck, Kings College London, Queen Mary University of London, Royal Holloway, University College

Oxford DTP in environmental research

  • Oxford (OXFORD)

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT)

UK Food Systems

  • Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, Brunel University London, Centre for Food Policy at the University of London, Aberystwyth University, Royal Veterinary College, University College London, University of Sussex, NIAB-EMR and Rothamsted Research (UKFS)

We are also a partner in EPSRC CDTs:

SEAHA: (Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology)

  • Brighton, Oxford, University College London (SEAHA)

AHRC DTP TECHNĒ (the ‘craft’ of research in the arts and humanities)

  • Royal Holloway, University of London; Brunel University, London; Kingston University; Loughborough University, London; University of Brighton; University of Roehampton; University of the Arts London; University of Surrey; University of Westminster (TECHNĒ)

In addition, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) funding enables collaborations into planetary science with: the Open University, Glasgow University, Birkbeck, Imperial College and University College London.

Current PhD projects

PhD projects at the Museum and how to apply for them

Courses and students

Find out what courses there are on offer to study at the Museum.