Mountain dynamics

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

Our research into tectonics and mountain building covers the processes and mechanisms relating to how mountains form on the surface of our planet and how the continental crust deforms from the macroscale to the microscale. In particular, our research focuses on mountain belts that form during continent-continent collision, such as the modern Himalayas and Caucasus and the ancient Caledonides. We try to unravel how, when and how quickly the mountain belts formed, the tectonic processes and mechanisms in operation during their uplift, and how their growth fed back into the solid Earth-surface processes-climate system. We achieve this through a combination of geochronology, structural geology, geochemical studies and metamorphic/igneous petrology.

Mountain Dynamics is a key theme in our Dynamic Earth Research Group. At any one time we commonly have two or three full-time PhD students, and have regular discussion meetings about the latest data from the laboratory and results/interpretations in recently published literature.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and prior research experience is preferred. 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, petrological, structural or geochronological aspect of mountain building or tectonic process.

Current/recent research projects

  • The effect of crustal melting on the structural and geodynamic evolution of mountain belts
  • The evolution of major tectonic structures in mountain building processes
  • The role of major structures in driving exhumation during mountain building
  • Determining the evolving balance between buoyancy, tectonics and surface processes during plate collisions
  • The geochemistry of magmatism during and following plate collision

Potential supervisors

  • Dr Tom Argles – the evolution and provenance of highly deformed and metamorphosed rocks in orogenic belts
  • Dr Sarah Sherlock40Ar/39Ar geochronology
  • Professor Clare Warren – metamorphic evolution, U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology, 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.


Mountain range

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.