Research Opportunities

Key Facts

Subject area: Human Geography
Programme: PhD/MPhil
Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
MPhil – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Starting Date: Any time of the year
Entry Requirements: See here
International entry requirements We accept a range of qualifications from other institutions.
Standard English Language requirements apply. Details here.

Research in Human Geography at Keele encompasses work in cultural, social, political and development/economic geography.

Our research is clustered around four intersecting areas: family mobility, higher education and medical geography/social demography; international migration, development, sustainability and cultural economies; South Asian and cross-cultural world literature, postcolonial lifeworlds and literary representations of place and space; and the cultural geographies of everyday mobilities, embodied practices, and artistic performances.

Other important areas of research are in spatial theory; health; GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and gender equality.


See the student opportunities on offer at Keele.

  • South Asian Literature in English, postcolonialism, re-orientalism theory, power, narrative, identity construction, class chasms, social and cultural change (Dr Lisa Lau)
  • Migration, development, sustainability and informal economies (Dr Deirdre McKay)
  • Family practices and  mobilties; higher education and social justice; and family health in relation to substance (mis)use. (Prof. Clare Holdsworth)
  • Historical Cartography and GIS; Geographies of Food and Eating;  Pedagogy of Geography; Human Geography; geolinguistics and GIS (Dr Alex Nobajas)
  • New migration and superdiversity; urban and rural governance; community planning (Dr Simon Pemberton).

Research students in Human Geography have dedicated office space in the Moser Building. The building houses a vibrant community of postgraduate scholars and research staff. Research training and courses to enhance the employability skills of our research students are provided by the Learning and Professional Development Centre.

Our students are encouraged to participate in these as well as to attend and to present their work in several well established seminar series across the Centre for Social Policy. The seminars run throughout the year and include both internal and external speakers. Our students also contribute to seminars in other Centres and take part in wider Keele graduate symposia and events. They engage with staff research that has attracted support from the ESRC, EPSRC, AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, Agence Nationale Recherche and ERC.

There is an active culture of grant-seeking and research engagement in human geography; members of the group have recently received research funding from the ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative, Leverhulme Trust; RGS-IBG; Higher Education Academy; British Academy, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. There are opportunities for students to gain professional experience both through teaching and through contributing to externally funded research projects.

Our supervisors work closely with research students to support their PhD research. Members of the Human Geography group present their work at international and national conferences and publish widely in the international literature, sitting on international editorial boards.

Supervisors draw on their extensive professional networks to mentor students. Research students are encouraged to use their own research to get involved in professional meetings and join research networks and to develop the profile and CV necessary for a successful career.

Our recent and forthcoming publications include monographs on: mobilities, security and air transport, globalization and migration, families and intimate mobilities, and an edited collection on re-orientalism and identity politics, as well as numerous journal articles. 

We are currently supervising research students working in a diverse range of areas including Senegalese migration, civil contingencies, astropolitics and environmental security, women’s alcohol consumption.

Contact Details

Administrator Helen Farrell
Tel : (+44) 01782 733641
E-Mail :