The Geography discipline at The Open University has built a reputation for producing rigorous and innovative intellectual work in both human and environmental geography, a serious commitment to active engagement in the world beyond the academy, and the development of an intensive yet flexible research culture. Its achievements are reflected and recognised by having 76 per cent of its research rated as being world leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Research is conducted through the OpenSpace Research Centre which promotes research on geographical and environmental concerns. Students are regarded as valued members of the discipline, able to interact with research-active academic staff and post-doctoral fellows based on campus in Milton Keynes, as well as with other staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and its associated research centres.

Key facts

The Geography discipline at the OU prides itself on:

  • cultivating a genuinely collective research culture sustained by regular seminars, collaborative meetings, reading groups, workshops, conferences and visits from external scholars
  • linking with external funding bodies and partner institutions to generate major collaborative projects, such as:
    • Sounding coastal change (AHRC)
    • Next Generation Paper (EPSRC)
    • The IDEAS Project (ESRC)
    • MIAG Network (ESRC)
    • Gender, Skilled Migration and IT (ESRC)
    • Smart Cities in the Making (ESRC)
    • Biosecurity Borderlands.


Most of our full-time research students are based at our Milton Keynes campus; for details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.



Find your research topic

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, fees and funding, available supervisors, how to apply and contact details for advice.

Culture and environmental change in the Anthropocene

Finance, space and power

Global environmental governance and policy

Migration and mobilities

Place, space and belonging

Visual and sonic cultures: theory and method


The journey has been nothing short of excitement, new insights, great exposure, collegiality and in-depth understanding, within a conducive learning atmosphere. The OU offers me access to state-of-the-art tools for my research, including access to the very latest software which has greatly assisted me in my data analysis and offered me great confidence for working after the completion of my study.

Jacob ObodaiPhD Student, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences