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University of Edinburgh: Human Geography and Environmental Sciences

Institution University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Research


This programme draws on the expertise of the the Research Institute of Geography and the Lived Environment (RIGLE) at the University of Edinburgh.

It is a vibrant intellectual home for more than 100 researchers working across the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Our research students are enrolled on PhDs, 3+1 degrees (a Masters degree followed by a PhD), or for MSc by Research degrees.

Research areas We work with a broad range of geographic themes and approaches and have particular research strengths in:

  • critical and qualitative human geography

  • quantitative and statistical geography and GIS

  • geohumanities and environmental humanities

  • cultural, development, environmental and urban studies

We study:

  • critical and popular geopolitics

  • the cultural politics of ‘race’, gender and sexuality

  • energy futures and extractivism

  • food security and sovereignty

  • health inequalities

  • hazards and disasters

  • human-animal relationships

  • media and mobilities

  • political activism and protest

  • sustainable development and environmental resource management

  • urban change and gentrification

Much of our research applies and advances decolonial, feminist, political economy, postcolonial and poststructuralist theoretical debates and is focused not just on explaining the world in which we live but changing it for the better.


We work closely with communities and groups outside the academy in Scotland and across Europe, but also with communities and groups in:

  • Belize

  • Canada

  • Colombia

  • Ecuador

  • Guatemala

  • India

  • Jamaica

  • Mali

  • Nepal

  • Nicaragua

  • South Africa

  • Trinidad and Tobago

  • Uganda

We exchange knowledge regularly through the four research groups that sit within the Institute (Health, Population and Place, Historical and Cultural Geography, Human Geography and Environment and Society) through regular seminars and other events, reading groups, writing retreats, and collaborative research programmes.

We also work closely with colleagues in other schools on campus, especially:

  • Edinburgh College of Art

  • Education and Sport

  • History, Classics and Archaeology

  • Languages, Literatures and Cultures

  • Social and Political Sciences

  • Medical School

Decolonising initiatives

We are working hard to dismantle white supremacy and sexism within our institutional culture and research programmes and are developing a range of decolonising initiatives with this in mind.

We receive funding from all the UK Research Councils, including the AHRC, ESRC and NERC as well as from a number of other funders.

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

MPhil (Res)

University of Edinburgh 

 University of EdinburghInspiring the world since 1583 
The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 16th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts not only students but also staff from some 156 countries, creating a unique Edinburgh experience.

We provide a stimulating working, learning, and teaching environment with access to excellent facilities and attract the world's best, from Nobel Prize winning laureates to future explorers, pioneers and inventors.

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