Human Geography graduate research

Geography studies the relationships between physical environments and human societies. Many of the most complex global challenges facing humanity – including migration, urbanisation, ageing, socio-economic inequality, and climate change – result from changing human-environment relations, but Geography is the only core academic discipline that treats them in an integrated, interdisciplinary way.

A PhD in Human Geography prepares students for an exceptionally broad range of careers, in fields such as urban planning, environmental management, migration policy, international development, and geospatial analysis, to name a few. Human Geographers study how humans organise socially, culturally, economically and politically across space and interact with their environments to create distinctive places. We examine how places differ in the culture and demography of their human populations, in their patterns of social and economic development, and in how humans interact with their physical environments.

We maintain international research networks and contribute to current debates through high-quality research, engagement and impact. Staff have engaged with several large research programs, with state, national and international organisations. Our current research strengths centre on:

  • human migration and population diversity
  • migration policy, politics and global migration governance
  • environmental governance and sustainability transitions
  • political ecology of development
  • sustainable business models and
  • corporate sustainability.

Research students

We place high value on a maintaining a vibrant research culture, in which research students are central. Our research community includes strong links among different sub-disciplines of Geography, to the wider School of Social Sciences, and to cognate disciplines across the University.

We are committed to supporting research students through quality supervision, funding for field work, research seminars, reading groups, work-in-progress workshops, and opportunities to gain teaching experience.

Grants are available to support conference travel and fieldwork (e.g. in Southeast Asia, through the Richard John Bryant Estate Award 

Graduates of our PhD programme have become successful academics, policy-makers, and practitioners. Distinguished alumni and researchers include Lesley Head, Rob Vertessy, Ron Johnston, Gordon L. Clarke, Kathy Gibson, Chris Cocklin, and Rebekah Brown.

Research projects

Supervisors in Human Geography

Dr Ruth Lane

Environmental governance, social practices, consumption, waste, biodiversity conservation

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A/P Megan Farrelly

Environmental governance; sustainability transitions; experimentation/ innovation/ learning; energy transformations; sustainable urban water management

Dr Julian Yates

Political ecology; International, community-based, and rural development; Resource governance;Indigenous knowledge; Alternative economies

A/P Wendy Stubbs

Corporate sustainability, sustainable business models, hybrid business models, sustainability reporting, integrated reporting

A/P Alan Gamlen

Migration diasporas, diversity, citizenship, political geography, migration policy

Dr Bruce Missingham

Environment, anthropology, SE Asia, political ecology, education

Research student profile

Name: Susan van de Meene
Discipline: Human Geography

"I had excellent supervision and support throughout my candidature and this, together with the collegial atmosphere among the other postgraduate students and academics, contributed to my positive experience."

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Supervisor profile

Name: Associate Professor Megan Farrelly
Discipline: Human Geography

"Seeing the pride on a students’ face following their first conference presentation, first journal article acceptance and ultimately their final thesis submission is really a highlight to the overall process."

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