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Find out about the research we do in Environment and Health

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Environment and Health PhD

Start date

January

October

April

Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

Fees

2020/21

International £19,280

UK £4,407

2021/22

UK £4,327

International £19,855

MPhil option available
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Research profile

Environmental factors influence our health and wellbeing, as well as affect ecosystems and wildlife. An intimate understanding of such factors – chemical substances, for example, or changes in radiation or temperature – is urgently needed to better understand disease trends in humans and adverse effects on wildlife. Our research in the area of environment and health provides the foundations necessary to pinpoint preventable causes of ill-health and adversity and to underpin the development of evidence-based primary prevention policies. A second important focus for our research is to understand the impacts of human civilisation on Earth's natural systems and the ecosystem services that support us. We are developing technologies and approaches to prevent and remedy pollution as well as to renew and restore degraded ecosystems.

Our research focuses on five areas:

  • Biological Pathways and Systems
  • Environmental Health and Ecosystems
  • Environmental Change
  • Environmental Solutions
  • Environmental Policy and Communication

Membership of London NERC – DTPs 
Staff from Environment and Health participate in the London NERC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP), a program that currently funds 70 PhD students in the natural sciences.  The aim of the London NERC DTC is to attain new standards of excellence in environmental science research training and deliver a transformative inter-disciplinary experience for PhD students in the heart of London. Students are trained at 9 of the World-leading research centres, which cover a huge range of environmental science research, from those driven by contemporary environmental challenges to those exploring complex questions about the evolution of planet Earth.  Student projects within Environment and Health are mainly in the themes of Environmental Pollution, Natural and Biological Hazards and Past Life and the Environment. 

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Our research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. By uncovering a link between exposure to water pollution and sex change in male fish in UK rivers, Professor John Sumpter’s research team provided the impetus for human health research also linking chemical exposure with declining sperm counts, increased incidence of male genital abnormalities, and testicular, breast and prostate cancer in human populations.

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.  

Learn more about research in this area.

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

While we welcome all multidisciplinary topics in the area of Environment and Health here is a list of potential research areas we would like to supervise.

  • Development of a novel assay for testing androgens and anti-androgens in fish. 
  • Degradation and Transformation of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment 
  • Development of a novel model to quantify nitrous oxide emissions in the biological nutrient removal process of wastewater treatment plants
  • Human Toxicology and Epigenetics 
  • Development of an evidence-based risk management system for Legionella control in domestic water systems.
  • Identification of microplastics in freshwater environments
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Research journey

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April.

Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we can also provide you with some ideas. Search for PhD topics for your chosen field of research.

The programme specification is in the process of being updated and may not be an accurate reflection of the programme.

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Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

Find our more: Study environment for research students

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

The Library services boast:

  • state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research
  • publication and grant database
  • one of the largest UK's full text repository
  • an integrated data management system
  • analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
  • Open Access centrally managed fund

Find out more: Brunel Library

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Careers and your future

Tailored careers support is offered to all our current PhD students and for up to 3 years after you complete your research at Brunel. We help you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research. Our careers provision includes online advice, one to one consultations and a range of events and workshops.

In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

Find out more.

Doctoral students graduating from Brunel University London in Environment and Health are highly valued by numerous employers and attain prominent roles as academics, PDRAs and Research Fellows in prestigious Universities worldwide.  Some graduates find influential roles in Government Agencies, such as the Environment Agency and Food and Environmental Research Agency, or as environmental managers and ecotoxicologists in Industry, including Syngenta, Atkins and Proctor and Gamble.  PhD Graduates have also joined various environmental consultancies as analysts, or have established their own consultancies serving on several National and International committees (e.g. OECD) dealing with current health/environment issues.

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UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

An interview may be required as part of the admissions process, and if so it would be conducted by one of the academic staff members remotely via Skype, phone or other means. 

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.  

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EU and International entry requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 100 (min 20)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2020/21 entry

International

£19,280 full-time

£9,640 part-time

UK

£4,407 full-time

£2,203 part-time

2021/22 entry

UK

£4,327 full-time

£2,160 part-time

International

£19,855 full-time

£9,925 part-time

UK fees are subject to change in January 2021 following an announcement by the UK Research and Innovation.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

Fees for EU applicants- For entry in 2021/22 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to support EU students during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course. EU fees for 2022 entry are not yet confirmed.

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.