Postgraduate study

Infrastructure & the Environment

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE) is among the leading centres of civil and environmental engineering research in the UK. The Institute seeks new technologies to solve real-world problems in order to promote sustainability.

Key research areas include:

  • behaviour and design of structures in fire and other extreme events
  • fire science and fire safety engineering
  • shells and containment structures
  • nonlinear finite element modelling of complex structures and structural collapses
  • mechanics and transport of granular materials and multiphase media
  • computational mechanics and bio-mechanics
  • fibre-reinforced polymer composites in structural strengthening and repair
  • high-speed rail
  • intelligent infrastructure and non-destructive evaluation
  • sustainable water and wastewater treatment technologies
  • water supply
  • waste management and resource recovery

IIE has excellent laboratory and computing facilities, including the latest facilities and instrumentation for experimental and computational research in structures, granular solids, fire safety engineering, non-destructive testing and environmental engineering.

Students are strongly encouraged and trained to present their research at conferences and in journal papers during the course of their PhD.

Students are also encouraged to attend transferable skills courses provided by the University and to participate in external courses provided by organisations such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

PhD candidates pursue their research projects under continuous guidance, resulting in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge. You will be linked to two academic supervisors, and one industrial supervisor if the project is industrially sponsored.

The Institute has excellent laboratory and computing facilities, including the latest instruments for experimental and computational research in structures, granular solids, fire safety engineering, non-destructive testing and environmental engineering.

We offer a comprehensive range of exciting research opportunities through a choice of postgraduate research degrees: MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD.

Masters by Research

An MSc by Research is based on a research project tailored to a candidate’s interests. It lasts one year full time or two years part time. The project can be a shorter alternative to an MPhil or PhD, or a precursor to either – including the option of an MSc project expanding into MPhil or doctorate work as it evolves. It can also be a mechanism for industry to collaborate with the School.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree resembles a PhD but generally takes two years instead of three and does not carry the same requirement for original contribution to knowledge. You pursue your individual research project under supervision, submitting your thesis at the end of the project.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

As a PhD candidate you pursue a research project under continuous guidance, resulting in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge. In the School of Engineering you will be linked to two academic supervisors and one industrial supervisor if the project is industrially sponsored.

A UK undergraduate degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject, or relevant qualifications and experience.

Please contact us to check the specific entry requirements for this programme before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL