Environment and Sustainability PhD

Rooted in multi-disciplinary team working, CES does an excellent job in teaching and research into environmental management and sustainable development. It is very friendly with an international atmosphere and the great support I received from the administrative staff was very impressive. I made the right choice!

Dr Rattanawan "Tam" Mungkung PhD Environment and Sustainability

Why choose this course?

For over 20 years, the University of Surrey has led the way in environmental research. From investigating people’s attitudes to the environment, to understanding how nanotechnology can enhance new solar power solutions, our environment and sustainability researchers are seeking innovative approaches for a more prosperous, equitable, safe and secure future.

The Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) is a vibrant research community. It features a supportive network of postgraduate research students who make important contributions to the Centre’s wider research agenda.

This agenda spans technical, economic, social and policy aspects of environment and sustainability. The group is multi-disciplinary, internationally diverse and reflects a striking depth of professional experience.

CES PhD graduates have moved into high profile positions around the world, whether in industry, the public sector or academia. The problem-solving ethos of the Centre gives postgraduate researchers real focus and equips them with the commercial acumen to ensure they are highly employable.

We provide students with opportunities to work across the full breadth and depth of theoretical approaches to sustainability, ultimately helping them to lead thinking in their respective fields.

What you will study

We believe that contemporary environmental and sustainability issues need to be tackled in an interdisciplinary fashion, investigating the science, engineering and policy questions that matter by using appropriate tools and techniques from many research domains and excellent research facilities.

Our extensive research community is committed to deliver action-oriented, policy-focused responses that address environmental and social issues. We work closely with businesses and policy makers with these aims in mind.

Postgraduate researchers form an integral part of CES and take an active role in a range of intellectual and social activities within the Centre.

Attendance at appropriate taught modules, covering both research skills and subject-based material, is encouraged, as is attendance at the Centre’s monthly seminar series. Postgraduate researchers also attend and contribute to a regular internal seminar series.

The University and Faculty offer a training programme for postgraduate researchers, covering research methods and transferable skills. Researchers will follow a programme of courses tailored to their individual needs. CES postgraduate researchers also form their own group, meeting regularly to discuss supplementary training and support (facilitated by the Centre).

With over 20 years of activity, we have built relationships with multinational businesses and international bodies such as the UN and World Health Organization (WHO).

Some of our current research activity includes investigating how agro-industries can help reduce energy poverty in Africa, and exploring new, successful integrated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) schemes for developing countries.

PhD overview

CES’ interdisciplinary outlook will allow you to draw on research approaches from a variety of fields, including engineering, economics, environmental psychology, sociology and geography. You may develop research plans and apply methods involving both quantitative and qualitative data, supported by appropriate research methods training.

Discover more about environment and sustainability programmes in our video.

Research themes

CES staff are engaged in research across a wide range of topic areas and thus your PhD research could pursue interests in almost any area of environmental protection and sustainable development – in energy, water, waste, transportation, the built environment, air-pollution, land use, behaviour change or beyond.

Research areas, centres and groups


Our research attracts funding from both industrial and and government sources.

Surrey is part of the prestigious South East Doctoral Training Centre. Home/EU students may apply for a studentship under the Energy, Environment and Resilience strand or under one of the social sciences at the University of Surrey.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, January, April, July
PhD Part-time 60-96 months October, January, April, July

Entry Requirements

A first or upper second-class degree in a relevant subject (e.g. engineering, physical or social science), or equivalent overseas qualification. A Masters degree would be an advantage. Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, independent study is essential.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £20,000
Part-time £2100 £10,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our academic staff