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MSc by Research in Quaternary environmental change and archaeology


Coronavirus information for applicants and offer holders

We hope that by the time you’re ready to start your studies with us the situation with COVID-19 will have eased. However, please be aware, we will continue to review our courses and other elements of the student experience in response to COVID-19 and we may need to adapt our provision to ensure students remain safe. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, regularly visit our website, which we will continue to update as the situation changes

Key facts

Type of research degree
Mastership by Research (including MA by research, MSc by Research, MSc (Eng) by research)
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Dr Natasha Barlow and Dr Adam Booth
Additional supervisors
Dr Amy McGuire; Prof Karen Hardy
School of Earth and Environment
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Are you looking to further your experience of geoscience research? Are you interested in palaeo-environments and working with an interdisciplinary research group? If so, this MSc by Research is for you! Join us to work on Quaternary environmental change on the Isle of Skye, and its context for early human occupation!<br /> <br /> We are looking for a student who has graduated (or is soon to graduate) with experience of working with palaeo-environmental data, to develop a detailed microfossil-based reconstruction of a site located in North Skye and contextualise some exciting newly-discovered Palaeolithic and later archaeology. The sediment archive at the site includes marine, lacustrine and freshwater peatland, likely from the Late Glacial to present. The work is important as it will help to understand the environments in which these early settlers would have lived, establishing a wider context for the archaeological findings and appreciate why early humans were located this far north despite the cool climate and extensive glaciation across parts of the UK.<br /> <br /> Sediment samples have been collected in the summer of 2021, so this project would suit a wide range of students without the need to conduct field work (though options to do so may be available for those who are interested). The sediment core is complemented by a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) dataset, to support the interpretation and reconstruction of the site. The student will be supported by Dr Natasha Barlow (Associate Professor in Quaternary Environmental Change); Dr Adam Booth (Associate Professor in Applied Geophysics) and Dr Amy McGuire (Postdoctoral Fellow in Quaternary Palynology); as well as Prof Karen Hardy as lead site archaeologist and Principal Investigator. There is also scope to work alongside Dr Sarah Bradley from the University of Sheffield who specialises in modelling Quaternary relative sea-level change and glacio-isostatic adjustment. It is an exciting opportunity to further your research skills and work with an interdisciplinary team, with the goal of developing the work into an academic publication. This project is the ideal springboard for someone considering a career in academic or industrial research, or who has enjoyed their undergraduate dissertation project and wishes to explore further research opportunities.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p><strong>Training and wider research group</strong></p> <p>This research project will build upon collaboration between the University of Leeds, (ICREA) Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and the University of Sheffield.&nbsp; The successful candidate will have access to the expanding palaeoenvironmental laboratory within Leeds&rsquo; School of Earth and Environment and work along postgraduate students and research fellows in similar areas, as well as in the <a href="">Leeds Quaternary Group</a>.&nbsp; The lead supervisor (Dr Natasha Barlow) is currently leader of a large European Research Council project (<a href="">RISeR</a>) which focuses on the Last Interglacial environments in the southern North Sea, and is leader of the international PALeo constraints on SEA level rise (<a href="">PALSEA</a>) research group, therefore providing the potential for wider networking and training opportunities.&nbsp; Should the opportunity for further fieldwork arise, you will be trained and supported by the team in the collection of additional core samples and the acquisition of new GPR data.</p> <p><strong>Student profile</strong></p> <p>The ideal candidate will have a background in Quaternary environmental change, with a relevant degree e.g. Geography, Environmental Science, Archaeology or Geology.&nbsp; Some experience with microfossils (e.g. pollen, diatoms or testate amoeba) would be desirable.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;MSc by Research in Quaternary environmental change and archaeology&rdquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Natasha Barlow</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the project supervisor or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>This project does not have any funding and so applicants would need to self-fund or have their own sponsorship.&nbsp; Please enquire with the Faculty Graduate School about the costs via <strong></strong>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>