Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Engineering PhD, MPhil

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Engineering

A research degree from Edinburgh is your chance to connect with internationally renowned researchers and innovators and to experience one of Europe's leading universities in one of the world’s most iconic cities. We carry out world-class research and provide high quality training in research skills.

We ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for the quality and breadth of our research for Engineering in the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework exercise in 2021, as part of a joint submission with Heriot-Watt University. The exercise also classified 96% of our research activity as world-leading and international-level.

Our world-leading research is conducted through our Research Institutes. This enables us to span across and connect between our core disciplines of Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Electronics & Electrical Engineering.

Our seven research institutes are:

You will carry out independent research resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area, guided by your supervisor. You will submit a thesis and defend it in an assessed oral exam.

Alongside this research, all our researchers are offered training that is an integral part of our research degrees. You will gain skills that will serve you for the rest of your life, making you a more confident and knowledgeable person, and equipping you in both technical and soft skills.

This training includes our induction days, annual research conference, and a residential training in the Scottish Highlands. These are combined with a range of targeted training on topics such as research methods, analytical skills, technical writing, communication, project management, and networking. Our PhD researchers are expected to present their research at conferences and in international journal papers during the course of their programme.

We have an active research community. PhD, MPhil and MScR students present at and attend research seminars in their research institutes, alongside talks by visiting speakers. Our Engineering Graduate Society organises networking and training events across the School.

You can find additional information on our training and support below. This includes a link to the current handbook for postgraduate research students in the School of Engineering.

We have a very wide range of high-quality engineering facilities, including specialised test laboratories, fabrication workshops, and computing resources. Information on these facilities can be found on our research web pages.

Our graduates are amongst the most highly sought-after candidates for academic, commercial or consulting positions, entering careers around the world.

The majority of our research graduates enter the engineering profession in a wide range of fields, including automotive, bioengineering, communications, medical imaging, engineering consultancy, fire safety, renewable energy, chemical processing, oil and gas, fast moving consumable goods, high-technology and the semiconductor industry.

Other graduates from our PhD programme continue to further research including postdoctoral fellowships, lecturing roles and research contracts in universities and research institutes.

Please read our additional information on a research degree in Engineering:

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject, or relevant qualifications and experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

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.

Additional programme costs

In addition to tuition fees, your programme may be subject to additional programme costs. These are typically:

  • £1200 per annum for a full-time desk-based PhD research project
  • £600 per annum for a part-time desk-based PhD research project
  • £1000 for a full-time MPhil project
  • £500 for part-time MPhil project

However, for lab-based projects or those that require specialised equipment or software, these costs may be higher.

This should be discussed with the Engineering Graduate School on application.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDEngineering3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDEngineering6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilEngineering2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilEngineering4 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB

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.

You must submit two references with your application.

References must be dated within the last year, signed and on letterheaded paper.

Before you apply

We strongly recommend applicants find an academic that they are interested in working with before applying and contact them to discuss their research ideas. This initial contact can help when writing a research proposal and the application process.

See our website for a list of School research academics. Please be sure to include the name of your proposed supervisor in your online application.

Research proposal

When applying, applicants must provide a research proposal, even if for an advertised project. This helps evaluate your writing skills and research ideas and can help with both assessing your suitability for a research degree and whether we can offer supervision.

It should be no more than 2 x A4 pages and should indicate what areas of research interest you and the nature of the work you wish to undertake (experimental/theoretical/simulation).

CV and publications

When applying please provide a curriculum vitae and, if applicable, a list of your publications. If you have publications please provide your Researcher ID, ORCID ID, SCOPUS or Google Scholar address.

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

Further information

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB