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About the Department of Earth Sciences

We are living through a time of unprecedented change on Earth. Scientific understanding of geological hazards, sustainability, infrastructure, climate change, energy, and natural resources has never been so important, and Earth Sciences sit at the heart of the debate.

We aspire to help shape the future by providing the highest quality education for our students and by undertaking research that is both intrinsically excellent and relevant to society. 

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25th in the Times Higher Education International Universities Rankings
World Top 100 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
Joint 7th in the UK for world-leading research impact (REF 2014)
4th The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

Study with us

  • Undergraduate study

    We place research-led teaching at the centre of our undergraduate programme because we want our undergraduates to be at the forefront of knowledge generation in the 21st century.

    Man reading while overlooking sea
  • Postgraduate study

    We aspire to help shape and improve the future by training the next generation of Earth Scientists through provision of high-quality postgraduate training and research opportunities. 

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Undergraduate study

We place research-led teaching at the centre of our undergraduate programme because we want our undergraduates to be at the forefront of knowledge generation in the 21st century.

Man reading while overlooking sea

Postgraduate study

We aspire to help shape and improve the future by training the next generation of Earth Scientists through provision of high-quality postgraduate training and research opportunities. 

https://pxl-duracuk.terminalfour.net/fit-in/768x432/prod01/prodbucket01/media/durham-university/departments-/earth-sciences/60205.jpg

Our research

This is how we make an impact on the world around us.

We are a vibrant and collaborative community of 50 academic and postdoctoral staff, and 70 postgraduate research students (PhD and MScR). We conduct and disseminate rigorous research that deepens our understanding of the Earth and environment, and that transforms and enhances practices and outcomes in academia, in industry, and amongst practitioners.

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Diversity initiatives

Our values are an integral part of our identity and form the basis of almost everything we do.

Earth Sciences aims to support equality, diversity and inclusion across the department, encompassing all aspects of inequality. We consider inclusiveness to be fundamental to a supportive, progressive and successful Department. We aim for the Department to be a pleasant and supportive work and study environment for all, respecting the dignity of staff and students, regardless of their gender, gender identity, race, or disability.
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What's new?

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Mohammad Daud Hamidi Awarded UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant

With co-awardee Asma Bachich from Morocco, PhD student Mohammad Daud Hamidi has been awarded a prestigious UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant to study the “The Shared Heritage of Water Management and Allocation along the Silk Roads”. The project is just one of twelve selected out of a total of 800 proposals from around the world, from postgraduate researchers aged 35 and younger.
Water Distribution Systems

Mine water geothermal heat project funded

The department of Earth Sciences is the lead on the large, interdisciplinary research project entitled “The Geothermal Energy from Mines and Solar-Geothermal heat (GEMS)”, which will explore the geological, engineering, social, and economical aspects of extracting geothermal heat from water in abandoned coal mines.
Drilling for Geothermal energy at Louisa Centre Stanley

Taught postgraduate courses (MSc degrees)

The Department is now offering and participates in 2 taught postgraduate degree programmes:
Satellite image with nodes and edges

New opportunity to study climate science

We are excited to announce the launch of our new 3 year Climate Science degree course!
New Climate Science Course at Durham Earth Sciences

Jeroen van Hunen EGU Geodynamics Division President

Jeroen van Hunen has been elected as President for the Geodynamics division of the European Geoscience Union Geodynamics.
Jeroen van Hunen EGU GD President

Jon Gluyas becomes President of Global Geothermal Energy Advancement Association

Professor Jon Gluyas (Director of Durham Energy Institute) is leading a new initiative bringing Industry and Academia together to advance the role of geothermal energy in the energy transition: the newly formed Geothermal Energy Advancement Association (GEAA).
Portrait image of Jon Gluyas
  • GeoNetZero PhD Opportunities

    The department has 2 fully funded PhD projects available on the GeoNetZero centre for Doctoral Training website.
    PhD project titles for recruitment
  • Mohammad Daud Hamidi Awarded UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant

    With co-awardee Asma Bachich from Morocco, PhD student Mohammad Daud Hamidi has been awarded a prestigious UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant to study the “The Shared Heritage of Water Management and Allocation along the Silk Roads”. The project is just one of twelve selected out of a total of 800 proposals from around the world, from postgraduate researchers aged 35 and younger.
    Water Distribution Systems
  • Coseismic fault lubrication by viscous deformation

    New Nature Geoscience paper by our team in the Rock Mechanics Laboratory, including Giacomo Pozzi, Nicola De Paola, Stefan Nielsen, Bob Holdsworth and Telemaco Tesei, shows that viscous deformation is a potentially prevalent mechanism of fault lubrication during earthquakes.
    Scanned images of different rock types

Mohammad Daud Hamidi Awarded UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant

With co-awardee Asma Bachich from Morocco, PhD student Mohammad Daud Hamidi has been awarded a prestigious UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant to study the “The Shared Heritage of Water Management and Allocation along the Silk Roads”. The project is just one of twelve selected out of a total of 800 proposals from around the world, from postgraduate researchers aged 35 and younger.
Water Distribution Systems

Coseismic fault lubrication by viscous deformation

New Nature Geoscience paper by our team in the Rock Mechanics Laboratory, including Giacomo Pozzi, Nicola De Paola, Stefan Nielsen, Bob Holdsworth and Telemaco Tesei, shows that viscous deformation is a potentially prevalent mechanism of fault lubrication during earthquakes.
Scanned images of different rock types

New opportunity to study climate science

We are excited to announce the launch of our new 3 year Climate Science degree course!
New Climate Science Course at Durham Earth Sciences

Stephen Mills Scholarships

Two scholarships available for UK students to undertake MSc by research projects in Durham Earth Sciences.
Durham Cathedral
I selected Durham University because it has a high world ranking, and I enjoy the small, quiet atmosphere of the city. The staff, students, and facilities in the Earth Sciences department are of the highest quality.

Jaafar H. Jotheri
PhD in Palaeoclimate - from Babylon, Iraq

Get in touch

Contact us to find out more about the exciting things our students do, research breakthroughs, and life at the cutting edge of Earth Science.

Earth Sciences,
Arthur Holmes Building,
Science Site,
South Road,
Durham. DH1 3LE

Tel: +44 (0)191 334 2300
Fax: +44 (0)191 334 2301

Questions about studying here?

Check out our list of FAQs or submit an enquiry form.

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