The School of Engineering is committed to providing the best possible environment for our research students including excellent facilities, teaching staff who are internationally recognised, and a supportive environment for our students.

We are internationally renowned for our research and are a friendly supportive School with a diverse range of students from across the world. We pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary approach to research and organise our research into three main themes:

  • Energy and Environment
  • Health, Technology and the Digital World
  • Mechanics, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing.

We offer a 3 year PhD programme, a 4 year integrated PhD programme, an EngD programme, and a 1 year MPhil degree programme.

Programme aims

  • Develop research skills through a programme of in-depth study.
  • Develop expertise in appropriate methods of research and enquiry.
  • Produce high quality research outputs which demonstrate critical judgement.
  • Produce a thesis (PhD thesis approx. 80,000 words).

Distinctive features

  • We have a world renowned reputation for research and the impact of that research (REF 2014).
  • Teaching opportunities – we offer a range of teaching and demonstrating opportunities across our undergraduate teaching programme.
  • We have strong links with other institutions and research organisations as well as industry and business.
  • A wide range of funded studentships are available.
  • Our research income currently exceeds £10 million from public and private sectors and supports innovative research in traditional and emerging areas.
  • State-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities and modern laboratories.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil, EngD
Full-time duration EngD 4 years; integrated PhD 4 years; PhD 3 years; MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration PhD 5-7 years; MPhil 2-5 years
Start dates January, April, July, October
Application deadline(s) Applications to self-funded PhD projects will be considered on an ongoing basis.

Doctoral students are supervised by at least two qualified, experience academic staff. The supervisory team guide and advise through regular meetings and support the students through the University’s academic processes and procedures. Research students are expected to undertake approved research training during their studies.

PhD programme

The general structure of the standard three year PhD programme is as follows:

  • Year One: Research methods training and literature review.
  • Year Two: Experimental work/Data collection/fieldwork.
  • Year Three: Data analysis and writing-up.

Students are expected to produce an extended piece of written work each year to satisfy the University’s progress review monitoring procedures. This will usually take the form of a draft chapter from your thesis.

As well as the supervisors, doctoral students are also allocated a ‘Progress Reviewer’ who will independently assess and give constructive feedback each year on the work submitted for review.

4-year integrated PhD programme

We also offer a four-year integrated PhD programme, which combines a structured first year of taught modules (equivalent of 60 credits per semester) and research elements together with structured research training. The four year programme is particularly suited to overseas candidates who are making the transition from taught to independent research study or those with no formal master's degree.

Engineering Doctorate (EngD)

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is particularly suited to research degree students who want to work in industry. The four year programme combines PhD level research with taught courses, whilst students spend up to 75% of their time working directly with a company.

Research training

Research training is a strong feature of all of our research degree programmes. All students are required to participate in our supporting studies programme and to complete a skills development and training audit to agree a Personal Development Plan.

This, in addition to any taught components of your scheme, helps to ensure that you have the appropriate skills to complete a piece of high quality research, and to develop your professional and personal skills for application in your chosen career.

The research undertaken in the School is wide ranging and interdisciplinary. Our research covers the main engineering disciplines i.e. civil and structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, and medical engineering.

We are conducting research and advancing knowledge across a wide range of disciplines. Researchers at Cardiff are leading cutting-edge projects that have numerous practical applications. We work closely with industrial partners and other organisations to ensure that our research contributes to the needs of industry, business, economic development, and the community, both at home and abroad.

To create and sustain a dynamic research culture, research in the School is organised into the three themes of

  • Mechanics, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Energy and Environment
  • Health, Security and the Digital World.

These themes reflect the role that engineering plays in finding solutions to contemporary and future environmental, social, health and economic challenges.

Research areas

Engineering: Energy and Environment

One of the School’s three research themes is that of Energy and Environment, which aims to advance energy technology and play a key role in addressing the increasing demand for sustainable and low carbon technologies, while reducing environmental impact and ensuring a sustainable environment.

Engineering: Health, Technology and the Digital World

The Health, Technology, and the Digital World research theme provides a framework for the research undertaken in the fields of High Frequency Communications Engineering and Medical Engineering, Medical Physics, and Medical Electronics. The combination of these disciplines allows for a truly innovative approach and enables exciting new solutions for the security, healthcare and medical requirements of a modern society.

Engineering: Mechanics, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing

The wide ranging research theme of Mechanics, Materials and Advanced Manufacturing incorporates cutting edge research which fosters innovation and sustainability, supports social and economic development, and contributes to improvements in health and quality of life by ensuring the safety and best performance of materials and structures.

Research projects

We are inviting applications to a number of self-funded PhD projects in various fields of study. These projects are open to UK/EU and overseas students.

Prospective applicants are also welcome to contact any member of academic staff working in their area of interest to discuss ideas for their own proposed research project.

Geo-environmental Engineering

Self-healing of plant-stabilised geotechnical structures.

Biomedical Engineering

Opportunities available in the Biomedical Engineering Research Group.

Numerical modelling of multiphase flows

This project aims to develop a numerical framework which can be applied to various multiphase flow problems (gas-liquid, gas-liquid-solid, etc) in engineering and scientific research fields such as energy, environment and manufacturing.

Biomedical smart fabric wearable devices

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on energy and environment.

Advanced Materials and Computational Mechanics

Opportunities available within the field of Materials, and Advanced and Computational Mechanics.

Intelligent remote monitoring of knee implants

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on energy and environment.

Natural Flood Processes for Flood Risk Management

This project aims to develop a novel methodology to assess the effectiveness of Natural Flood Management (NFM) interventions at catchment reach levels.

Development of Graphene/ceramic composites with damage self-monitoring capabilities

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on energy and environment.

Towards Printing and Packing Energy Storage Devices

The goal of this project is to investigate the development of novel inks based on graphene and ceramic nanoparticles and to achieve multimaterial 3D printing for assembling on energy storage devices such as batteries or supercapacitors.

Response of plant roots to mechanical and hydraulic stresses – implications for geotechnical performance

Geotechnical structures such as engineered slopes often include the presence of plants of various types.

Resilient Materials for Life - Self-confining concrete

The aim of this PhD is to develop the concept of using shape memory polymer (SMP) tendons for the self-prestressing and self-healing of concrete elements.

Phytoremediation of light non-aqueous phase liquids in soils

Phytoremediation uses natural processes in plants to remove or destroy harmful contamination in soils.

Bio-geotechnical engineering of natural and engineered slopes using biofilm

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on energy and environment.

Synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for photocatalysis

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on mechanics, materials and advanced manufacturing.

Numerical Modelling of Turbulent Interfacial Flows and Fluid-Structure Interaction

This PhD project will focus on research in the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for interfacial and multiphase flows in environmental & industrial applications.

Effect of soil biofilm on soil mechanical and hydrological behaviour

The impact of biofilms on mechanical and hydraulic behaviour of soil structures is only now beginning to be thoroughly explored through work at Cardiff and elsewhere.

Modelling Particles/Fibres Suspended Material Flow for Industrial Applications

Particles/fibres suspended material flow is encountered in many disciplines of science and engineering.

Translating Metallic Automotive Components to Advanced Materials

This project aims to develop standardised approaches and methodologies for the translation of a metallic component to a composite material through computational analysis, physical testing and advanced video strain analysis.

Mechanical Forces Due to Lightning Strikes to Aircraft

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on mechanics, materials and advanced manufacturing.

Transport of alternative gases using existing pipeline networks

This is a fully-funded EPSRC project in engineering, focusing on energy and environment.

Suitable for graduates in engineering and related subject areas such as physics, mathematics, earth sciences and computer science.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

Postgraduate Research Admissions, School of Engineering


Apply now
Meet us at our Information Fair on 22 February 2018.

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