Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Geochemistry is a key theme in the Dynamic Earth Research and Palaeoenvironmental Change Groups and has been a major focus of the research carried out at The Open University for nearly 40 years.

Academics and researchers from Earth Sciences use cutting-edge geochemical techniques, such as laser ablation (LA) inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and solution ICP-MS, to study a very diverse range of problems in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. Our research interests include ore formation and the evolution of the Earth’s mantle and crust, palaeoceanography, water-related alteration processes, palaeoenvironmental change, impact cratering and the early Earth, climate science, magmatism and metamorphism related to mountain building.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We encourage enquiries from prospective students on any geochemical or geochronological aspect of Earth evolution and ore formation. 

Current/recent research projects

  • Using mineral systems to track arc magmas to ores
  • Te and Se cycling and supply
  • Using geochemical tracers to study the South Asian Monsoon
  • Hydrous and hydrothermal evolution of impact craters
  • Reconstructing ocean circulation during past warm climates
  • Using noble gases and Ar/Ar geochronology to track volcanic and crustal processes

Potential supervisors

  • Dr Tom Argles – metamorphic evolution, crustal melting, economic geology
  • Dr Pallavi Anand – ocean biogeochemical proxies and palaeoceanography
  • Dr Frances Jenner – igneous geochemistry, economic geology
  • Dr Marcus Badger – organic geochemistry, temperature and atmospheric CO2 proxy application
  • Dr Susanne Schwenzer – water-related alteration processes, impact-cratering and Early Earth processes.
  • Dr Philip Sexton – climatic change during the Eocene and mid-Cretaceous ‘greenhouse’ regimes, and the relationships between ocean circulation, ocean carbonate chemistry, and atmospheric CO2
  • Dr Sarah Sherlock40Ar/39Ar geochronology
  • Professor Clare Warren – metamorphic evolution, U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, petrochronology, geodynamic evolution.

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,712 per year Full time: £15,456 per year
Part time: £2,356 per year Part time: £7,584 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Central England NERC Training Alliance; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Meteor creater

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Administrative support

Email: STEM-EEES-PhD-Admin
Phone: +44 (0)1908 332943

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.