Postgraduate study

Engineering

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

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 the UK for research power in Engineering in the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework exercise in 2014, as part of a joint submission with Heriot-Watt University. The exercise also classified our research as internationally excellent or world-leading. Our facilities, grant income, awards and prizes are rated as internationally excellent and more than 94% of our research papers are published in high-impact, world-leading scientific journals.

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:

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDEngineering3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
PhDEngineering6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

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:

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

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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

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.

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 and £600 for part-time, or £1000 for a full-time MPhil project and £500 for part-time. 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.

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

  • 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. 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.

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).

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