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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.

Biomedical Engineering

Opportunities available in the Biomedical Engineering Research Group.

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.

Advanced Materials and Computational Mechanics

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

Numerical modelling of wind-wave-current-sediment interaction

The main aim of the proposed project is to quantify the sediment transport and morphodynamics subjected to various ambient environments.

Development of human soft tissue substitute material

This project will be at the cutting edge of biomechanics and the developed substitute will have use in many applications including training clinicians and evaluating medical devices.

Topological composite phononic crystals for advanced engineering applications

The main aim of the project is to combine recently designed and studied topological structures, such as for example gyroscopic lattices, to propose innovative metamaterial concepts made of different topological phases, leading to topological composite media where the phononic band structure is determined by both topological and non-topological effects due to the modulation of the phases.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a Safe and Effective Brain Stimulation Tool

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

Deep Machine Learning for Automated Lesion Detection in PET-CT

This project will develop automated detection of lesions in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using deep machine learning.

Flexibility provision from energy systems integration

The focus of the project will be on quantifying the flexibility that can be made available to power systems by their effective integration with heat supply systems from buildings.

Novel, rate-sensitive material to reduce head injuries

This PhD focusses on developing a new material that will enable helmets to perform effectively across a range of testing conditions that better represent common impact scenarios.

A futuristic science based approach to enhance quality and durability of High Performance Pre-cast Concrete Products

Concrete infrastructure projects are currently designed for delivery on time and budget through efficient management of construction processes.

Lab-on-GaN for manipulating cancer exosomes for cancer early diagnostics

The project will develop a surface acoustic wave (SAW) transducer based on piezoelectric effect of Gallium Nitride (GaN) to separate cancer-derived EVs subpopulation from whole blood.

Deep Learning based Robotic Motion Generation for Manipulating Granular and Viscous Materials

This project aims to investigate in developing Deep Learning based methods for robots to learn to manipulate such materials using tools, such as scoops, shovels, or trowels, and generate motions autonomously in real-time.

Novel Routes to Hierarchical Nanocomposite Fabrication using Magnetic Fields

This project will seek to develop nanocomposites with varying internal microstructures and to establish the relationship with final composite properties.

Numerical modelling of non-Newtonian rising bubbles

The project will explore the use of several constitutive laws for viscoelastic fluids that incorporate either shear-thinning or constant viscosity behaviour.

A high repetition rate semiconductor quantum dot light source (for the UK National Quantum Computing and Simulation Hub)

The focus of the project will be on increasing the efficiency and repetition rate of the single photon source to make higher photon number experiments possible, ultimately delivering an optical quantum simulation that outperforms a classical computer.

Novel sensors and techniques for high voltage insulator inspections

The project will investigate a wide range of non-contact probes and test techniques for the identification of problem on the system (e.g. pollution on insulator surface, surface degradation and hydrophobicity reduction, localized discharges).

Development of graphene-based functional interlayers for efficient, stable and inexpensive next generation photovoltaics

The aim of this project is to combine the unique advantages of graphene of 1) high charge carrier mobility, 2) good upscalability and 3) barrier effect for water and oxygen ingress to significantly enhance the stability of encapsulation-free perovskite solar cells without compromising solar cell efficiency.

Exploiting graphene and nanodiamond to enhance wear resistance of carbide-based materials by Spark Plasma Sintering

The focus of this project is to explore a bottom up strategy to design nanodiamond, graphene and tungsten carbide ceramic composite materials.

Audible Acoustics for Damage Detection in Aerospace Composite Structures

Cardiff University, Airbus, AcSoft and gfai tech are offering this unique opportunity to be part of an international collaboration to develop a carbon fibre composite damage detection system using Audible Acoustics (AA) for aerospace applications.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


There are a wide range of PhD studentships available each year and we are part of the EPSRC Water Informatics Centre for Doctoral Training which provides research studentships.

We provide financial support to every PhD student to enable you to attend training activities, and to purchase basic equipment needed for your research.

Name Deadline
EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD in Engineering 19 April 2019
EPSRC iCase PhD in Engineering: Highly efficient integration of lithium batteries to improve reliability and power density of WBG-based medium voltage direct current converters 31 May 2019
PhD in Engineering: Enhancing the stability of organic solar cells based on non-fullerene acceptors 30 September 2019
PhD in Engineering: Intuitive Human-Robot Collaboration in Unstructured Environments 2 July 2019
PhD in Engineering: Quantitative evaluation of creativity using computational semantics 2 July 2019
PhD in Engineering: Voltage uprating for more-electric and hybrid aircraft 31 August 2019

Tuition fees

UK and EU students

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

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
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