Postgraduate Programme

Postgraduate Programmes • MPhil/PhD Degree

The UWI Seismic Research Centre is the regional institution responsible for surveillance of, and fundamental research into, volcanoes and earthquakes for the English-speaking territories of the Eastern Caribbean. The UWI-SRC provides its 9 contributing governments with accurate and up-to-date information about earthquake, volcanic and other geologic activity; 19 live volcanoes are included in this portfolio. Our research is focused on developing a better understanding of the geologic processes at work in the region so as to reduce risk and promote sustainable development. To this end, we are actively working to develop geologic hazard awareness and collaborate with local, regional and international agencies on research and outreach projects.

The Centre offers MPhil and PhD programmes in Volcanology and Seismology.

Candidates applying for admission are required to satisfy the relevant general regulations of the Faculty and the University’s Board for Graduate Studies and Research. The minimum qualification for admission to the MPhil programme is a BSc General Honours degree (minimum GPA 3.0) or its equivalent from an approved university.

Applicants to the MPhil or PhD research programme, should liaise with their potential supervisor for guidance in developing a clear research project and research proposal, which must be submitted to the Head of Department. Supervisors listed in the application form should have agreed to do so.

Our main research focus includes (but is not limited to):


  • Physical Volcanology (analytical and numerical modelling of diverse volcanic and hydrothermal processes)
  • Volcanic hazard and risk assessment
  • Geochemical studies of hydrothermal areas in the Lesser Antilles & development of effective geothermal monitoring strategies


  • Seismic hazard assessment
  • Application of the piece-wise b-value technique to earthquake prediction
  • Application of Distributed Computing Techniques in earthquake and volcano monitoring
  • Development of strong motion seismograph networks and use in defining earthquake risk


  • Hazard communications
  • Awareness and perception of geologic hazards
  • Use of ICT in delivery of scientific information

Programme Objectives

The MPhil and PhD degree programmes are research oriented and normally requires the candidate:

  • To show satisfactory knowledge of the background of the subject;
  • To write clearly and in a logical and ordered fashion;
  • To use appropriate research methods and techniques competently;
  • To display an ability to analyse critically and evaluate independently the relevant literature and related material;
  • To make an advance in knowledge of the subject.

The PhD degree programme requires the candidate:

  • To achieve the same objectives as specified in the M.Phil. degree programme;
  • To make a significant original contribution to knowledge;
  • To produce a thesis which is worthy of publication.

Programme Benefits

Laboratory experience

Collaborative linkages and MOUs are currently being developed with several Universities and other overseas institutions (e.g. The Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, UK) to allow postgraduate students access to laboratories and modern experimental equipment used for research in earth sciences. Depending on the specific research project and the extent of the collaboration with external institutions students will have access to these research tools and learn the latest techniques and technologies.

Field experience

Given its operations in the region and connections the Unit is well positioned to provide a richly rewarding field experience. In addition to fieldwork associated with their specific research project, there are opportunities for postgraduate students to participate in organized field programmes.

Opportunities will be provided for students to hone their presentation skills in a range of activities, including practical activities such as writing for the web, print and televisual media, image manipulation, and oral presentation skills. Key skills in use of field and monitoring equipment are covered, and training in computer programming, and so on will be taught as required for the students’ research.

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