Whether you’re a scientist, policy specialist or urban planner – the environment needs your help. Explore PhD and other graduate research opportunities at the University of Melbourne.
The environment is facing some pressing challenges – from climate change to species extinction. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, as a researcher, you can help turn things around.
Wherever your talents lie, there are exciting opportunities to apply your smarts in a graduate research degree.
Learn how we're making a difference
Pioneering environmental research covers both the theoretical and the practical. Across the board, it’s benefiting communities in Australia and internationally.
Through environmental research, we are:
- learning how to make houses more resistant to bushfires – we’re finding out which urban planning and building design decisions will give buildings the best chance of survival.
- studying the relationship between climate change and drought – why are some parts of Australia still waiting for drought-breaking rains after five years? And what can we expect in future?
- improving the quality of urban landscapes – using Australian shrublands as inspiration, we’re coming up with low-cost green infrastructure for cities.
- investigating whether collective self-restraint can save the world – with a view to guiding sustainability policy, we’re working to understand people’s willingness to regulate their own actions for the greater good.
- providing insights into farming in an era of climate extremes – using global data and machine learning, we’re showing where agriculture will be affected most by extreme climate events.
This is just a snapshot. We’re continuing to push the boundaries of environmental inquiry, on a global scale.
Read about the latest environmental research and commentary.
Watch: Growing greener cities
Choose your angle
As a graduate researcher, you can make your mark on the environment in a number of academic fields.
We conduct environment-related research in these faculties:
- Architecture, Building and Planning – sustainable housing and planning; urban greening; climate adaptation
- Arts – environmental social science
- Business and Economics – environmental economics; sustainable business
- Engineering – environmental engineering; sustainable technologies; sustainable energy systems; waste management
- Law – resource, energy and environmental law
- Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences – environmental psychology
- Science – soil, water and atmospheric sciences; climate modelling; conservation; ecology; sustainable energy systems; environmental policy and management; environmental social science and psychology; natural resource management; urban greening; climate change adaptation
- Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences – sustainable food systems; climate change adaptation; soil science.
Use this list to find projects and supervisors for a PhD or research masters.
Partner with an overseas institution
Current funded Joint PhD opportunities
When you undertake a Joint PhD, you are supervised by academics from two institutions. As well as the University of Melbourne, you can partner with an international institution. This means your research will benefit from a truly global perspective. And you will enhance your prospects for an international research career.
We are currently offering the following fully funded Joint PhD opportunities within the theme of environment:
- Two fully funded positions in decarbonizing future transport with ammonia fueled engines, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
- Two fully funded positions undertaking a comparative study of the influence of urban greenspaces on biodiversity related to human health and wellbeing in Shanghai and Melbourne, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
- Two fully funded positions in data and tools for improving the environmental performance of buildings and cities, with KU Leuven (Belgium)
- Two fully funded positions in cyclic soil-structure interaction framework for the foundations of offshore renewable energy structures, with KU Leuven (Belgium)
Join a collaborative research community
As a graduate researcher, you will work in a vibrant, collaborative research community. We offer seminars, workshops and exhibitions that will inspire you. And you’ll work with talented peers and supervisors who will challenge you and extend your ideas.
You could join one of our collaborative research initiatives or centres.
Interdisciplinary initiatives and institutes
- BioInspiration Initiative – taking principles from biological systems and applying them to technological and design problems.
- Future Food Initiative – focusing on protein production. It draws on many areas of research, including human physiology, food chemistry, and consumers and markets.
- Melbourne Energy Institute – investigating how to transition to low carbon energy systems.
- Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute – working to solve challenges of climate change, water and food.
- ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes
- Centre for Market Design
- Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law
- Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub
- Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub
- Healthy Soils for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Quality
- Peter Cook Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage Research
- Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre
- Threatened Species Recovery Hub
- Thrive Research Hub
- Search for a supervisor in your field of research.
- Find out more about international applications or domestic applications.
- Read about the latest research findings in environmental science.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our graduate researchers have temporarily transitioned to a ‘virtual campus’. We are still accepting enquiries and applications for graduate research in 2021. The University is planning a gradual, phased and safe return to our physical campus, in line with government guidelines.
Meet some PhD researchers
Dr Prue Addison
Dr Prue Addison talks about her PhD research in conservation management.
Dr Kylie Soanes
Dr Kylie Soanes talks about her science journey and reflects on her PhD studies in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences.
PhD candidate Mathieu Pichault shares his passion for sustainability and climate change. His research into wind power ramps is jointly supervised by academic staff in Earth Sciences and Mechanical Engineering.
Ceren Ayas is undertaking a PhD with the Faculty of Arts (School of Social and Political Sciences). Her research focuses on justice in energy transmissions.