Studying a PhD / MSc by Research at the University of Birmingham offers you a wealth of opportunities to expand and transform your thinking through independent inquiry. By undertaking an intensive research project, backed by intellectual and scientific knowledge, you will be joining a vibrant and proactive research environment. All doctoral researchers are brought together by the University Graduate School, providing an abundance of opportunities to meet fellow researchers.
Our research within the School of Mechanical Engineering positions the University and West Midlands region as the UK’s research and development centre in the area of Advanced Manufacturing. We pride ourselves on applying engineering science to solving problems that are important to society and we are leading changes in advanced manufacturing to ensure continued business success. Our research has vastly benefitted industrial partners in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing and transport sectors. Those include world-leading companies, such as Airbus, Delcam, GKN, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Johnson and Johnson, Johnson Matthey, Rolls-Royce, and Shell.Research degrees in Mechanical Engineering are offered through three research specialist centres:
Our research is often interdisciplinary, involving not only other areas of engineering but also biological sciences, chemistry, medicine, physics and psychology.
All researchers will be encouraged to publish their work at reputable conferences and journals.
Learning and Teaching
Every doctoral researcher is assigned one or more academic supervisors as well as a mentor. Meetings with your supervisor take place typically every week or few weeks, depending on your need for support and the stage that you are at with your research. Most PhD projects have industrial involvement, sometimes with formal industrial supervisory input. This provides you with useful experience of industry and adds a different perspective to your research.
Within the School, you will receive appropriate training to use all the equipment needed in your research project. To support you acquiring extra skills to advance your academic, personal and professional development a development needs analysis is undertaken.
Doctoral researchers are encouraged to participate in demonstration work during lectures and tutorial sessions to help support undergraduate students understand concepts and develop problem-solving skills. This gives you teaching and learning skills which are a valuable addition to your CV.
Throughout your research programme we keep track of your progress and invite you to reflect on your own academic and personal development, helping to offer you new directions in your research area. Normally, routine progress reviews are collaboratively completed by doctoral researchers and their supervisors, but for some PhD projects presentations with links to industry presentations may be required. All researchers are required to undertake an annual review of their research progress. This is usually carried out either in May/June or December/ January. In this annual review, you will be assessed by an academic member of staff. At the end of the research project, you will write a thesis to be submitted for exaamination and award of the degree.
Why study this course
By studying a PhD with us, you will be at the forefront of developing industry and making a pivotal change to society.
As well as this, you'll have access to an unparalleled support network. In addition to the supervisors associated directly to each researcher, the school have two mentors who can be approached to discuss specific issues that affect their progress. Also, the school has a postgraduate research administrator who advises all researchers on procedures followed by the school.
As a doctoral researcher at Birmingham, you will have easy access to the materials and facilites you need to undetake world-class research. In recent years, over £5 million has been invested in new laboratories for advanced manufacturing, micro-engineering and biomedical engineering and we are continually expanding our facilities.
Our Design Centre houses over 80 networked computers for computer-aided engineering including computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacture (CAM), finite-element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and systems modelling (engine systems; 1-d gas dynamic). There are also facilities for group design work, two new RP3D printing machines complementing the existing Denford table top four axis Compact 1000 Pro CNC router and milling machines.
Our £2.5 million machining research equipment is housed in a single purpose-built laboratory, enabling us to complete research contracts with industrial partners involving aeroengine manufacture, new materials evaluation (including titaniums and carbon fibre composites) and micro-sensor development for a whole range of applications. Our new engines laboratories are being used to research engines for hybrid vehicle power-trains in highly realistic transient speed/load conditions, including the effects of very cold start and combustion air (from -20°C) on emissions and performance.
We also have a biomedical engineering laboratory within a Class 2 containment area, equipped with the latest electro-mechanical testing machines for evaluating surgical implants, enabling us to work with surgeons and with the healthcare industry. Our clean room houses nanotechnology equipment used to make micro-electro- mechanical systems (MEMS).
We also have recently invested in a cryogenic energy laboratory, a £1 million purpose built facilitiy for energy storage using cryogenic liquids, state of the art equipment and a major demonstration plant.
Fees and funding
Standard fees apply. Learn more about fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Currently we offer up to 10 scholarships for doctoral research degrees per year. These cover fees and maintenance for UK/EU students and fees only for overseas applicants. Applications to the doctoral scholarships are made in consultation with the potential supervisor.
Other sources of funding are the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the European Union and industrial funding for UK and EU students. For more information contact the School directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
How to apply
Applications for research degrees will be considered for research topics that are related to the research interests of the academic staff within the School.
Learn more about applying.
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages