UK Groundwater Forum. From left to right Images Copyright Derek Ball BGS ©NERC 1999, Jude Cobbings BGS ©NERC 2003, Terry Marsh CEH ©1991, Emily Crane BGS ©NERC 2004
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PhD route

A PhD can offer a fulfilling route into a career in hydrogeology if you have a strong interest in research, or a particular research question. However, it does take longer to become qualified, and unless you have a strong interest in research for its own sake, the MSc route offers a quicker and broader foundation to enter employment in groundwater work.

Most people undertaking a PhD in hydrogeology have an initial degree in geology or environmental science; but, a significant minority have geophysics, engineering, mathematics, physics or chemistry degrees, which reflects the breadth of hydrogeology as a discipline and the need for a range of specialists in groundwater work.

Research Opportunities

Helen Bonsor, BGS © NERC
Helen Bonsor, BGS © NERC,
Contaminant flow model

A number of UK universities undertake research in hydrogeology. Most advertisements appear in the autumn for studentships and projects available from the autumn of the following year. However, it is not unusual for studentships to become available at other times of the year.

Advertisememt locations include:


Funding for hydrogeological research is mainly from:

Funding from the UK Research Councils usually covers the fees and a contribution towards maintenance. University and industrial scholarships provide varying amounts of support. Sometimes it is possible to obtain a research post which allows a part-time registration for a research degree: this means payment is higher, but the time available to undertake the research in the PhD may be less.

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