• Global top 50

    for Earth and marine sciences, geology and geophysics

  • Waterfront campus

    Unique location with outstanding facilities including world-leading analytical geochemical laboratories and our own research vessel

  • 98%

    of our research rated world-leading 
or internationally excellent

    Source: Research Excellence Framework 2021, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

About us

The School of Ocean and Earth Science is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. This is where we conduct our research-informed teaching. It's also the location of our 6 research groups:

  • Geochemistry
  • Geology and Geophysics
  • Marine Biogeochemistry
  • Marine Biology and Ecology
  • Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate
  • Physical Oceanography

Our scholars and educators join us from all over the world. They carry out fundamental research to explore the Earth’s natural support systems.

The impact of our work includes identifying and implementing nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change impacts. Other examples include sequestering atmospheric CO₂ in marine and terrestrial rock formations and through enhanced rock weathering.

We're educating the next generation of Earth and ocean scientists who’ll be taking on key global challenges. Our suite of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees includes supervision of around 150 PhD students. The School’s educational activities are underpinned with a UK top 10 position in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023.

Our Waterfront Campus is supported by a wide range of scientific facilities and equipment including a research catamaran equipped for coastal and shelf research.

We hold the UK's only Regius Professorship in Ocean Sciences, cementing our position as leaders in ocean science and maritime systems.

Two students sit at a desk inside a room on a boat. They observe a bank of computer screens displaying various data and information.
Students visualising data in real time on board our research vessel RV Callista.
A researcher wearing an orange life jacket deploys a bright yellow, autonomous water surface vehicle to map seabed habitats.
Deploying autonomous surface vehicles to map seabed habitats.

Research culture

Our research aims to develop a deep understanding of the whole Earth system. We then apply new findings to secure our planet's future sustainability.

Our top research priorities are:

  • reducing uncertainty in knowledge of the climate system and climate variability
  • developing and testing solutions for greenhouse gas emission reduction and atmospheric removal
  • evaluating the sustainability of natural resources on land and in the oceans
  • investigating the impacts of natural change and anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles
  • investigating connections between plate tectonics, mantle dynamics and natural hazards
  • translating environmental data to knowledge

We transfer our knowledge to industry, public bodies and the third sector through the work of our Stakeholder Advisory Board which includes representatives from:

  • the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 
  • EDF UK 
  • the Marine Management Organisation 
  • the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory 
  • Fugro GB Marine 
  • the British Geological Survey

At the heart of our research activities is interdisciplinarity. It is woven into our 6 research groups, partnerships with the National Oceanography Centre and multi-disciplinary PhD supervisory teams and training activities. This drives the postgraduate research programmes offered by the:

A researcher wearing a white lab coat, and gloves, uses large advanced geochemistry facilities.
Advanced geochemistry facilities.
Two researchers wearing white lab coats, work together to prepare samples in laboratory with a computer.
Dedicated sample preparation and analytical laboratories.

Facilities and equipment

Our home at the Waterfront Campus is shared with the National Oceanography Centre Southampton. Our many facilities include:

We also maintain our own research vessel to support the School's education and research activities.

Learn more about our extensive facilities and campus with our video tour.

Waterfront Campus tour

Explore facilities and equipment in our 8-minute YouTube video.


We welcome research fellows who want to play a key role in our research across ocean and Earth science. We tackle the most pressing scientific and societal challenges in the natural environment.

Eligible schemes

Our support package helps researchers develop competitive fellowship applications to a wide range of schemes, including the following. Contact us for advice about schemes not listed here:

  • The Royal Society University Research Fellowship
  • The Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
  • Natural Environment Research Council Independent Research Fellowship
  • European Research Council Starting Grant

Support for applicants

We match applicants with a departmental host, who will provide:

  • help with applications, including support letters and costings
  • introductions to potential collaborators
  • introductions to existing fellows
  • a tour of our department and facilities

Support for research fellows

Successful applicants enter our formal fellowship scheme, which offers:

  • training
  • access to the latest equipment
  • protected time away from teaching and administrative duties
  • opportunities to enterPhD studentship and research grant competitions
  • opportunities to move into a permanent academic role

Moving into a permanent role when a fellowship ends (proleptic appointments)

Sometimes a research fellow will wish to move into a permanent academic role with us when their fellowship ends. This is called a proleptic appointment.

How research fellows move to a permanent role
  1. During the fellowship, we'll set the objectives the research fellow must meet to move to a permanent role.
  2. After 18 months, the school will review progress against objectives.
  3. If the research fellow meets their objectives, they can apply for a permanent role.
  4. As part of the application process, we'll ask them to give a research talk to colleagues, complete a teaching exercise, and undergo a panel interview.

Get in touch to discuss a fellowship application

Whatever stage you're at with your application, we'd love to hear from you.

Email our Deputy Head of School (Research), Professor Maeve Lohan: m.lohan@soton.ac.uk

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

We're committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment where everyone is treated equally and fairly. Our Athena SWAN Bronze award recognised this commitment to gender equality in higher education. 

We offer a broad and diverse teaching, research and support community with opportunities to tackle barriers to inclusion. Representatives from the School are actively involved in developing and implementing the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences and University EDI policies. Our staff also chair the faculty’s EDI committee.

Our key priority is to consult with our School community to identify our equality and diversity priorities.

Visit our EDI pages to learn more about our:

  • EDI committee
  • policies and support
  • grants and awards supporting flexible working and diversity
  • mentoring
  • EDI resources and training

Our courses

Research and enterprise

Our work has real-world impact whether we’re carrying out research or working with industry.

Our research community

Learn about the research groups we host and the institutes we work closely with. You can explore publications, projects, staff profile information in detail.


The quality of staff and facilities at our unique waterfront campus, based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, enable us to make world-leading contributions in the fields of Earth and Marine Science.
Head of School
Our staff’s international research profile addresses the most pressing scientific and societal challenges in the natural environment.
Professor of Marine Chemistry
Our skilled staff apply their research to a wide range of enterprise activities through effective collaborations with industry, government and charities. Many of these activities are focused on supporting the low carbon economy.
Professor in Marine Geology & Geophysics
Our diversity of programmes equips our graduates with the skills, abilities and experiences to change the world.
Professor of Evolutionary Ecology

Work with us

Contact us

Get in touch, we’re happy to help

You can contact us by:
Ocean and Earth Science, Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton, Hampshire SO14 3ZH
We welcome visits by appointment

Useful links