PhD with Integrated Studies in Formulation Engineering

Start date
Various intakes throughout the year.
4 years full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught, Doctoral research

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25:
£4,778 (UK)
£27,360 (International Students)
Further fee information is available.

The PhD is managed by the EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Formulation Engineering. We integrate the expertise of the component schools (Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry) aimed at formulation of multiphase structured products in a wide variety of forms.

The PhD with Integrated Studies in Formulation Engineering programme focuses on research into the physical, chemical and biological processes that create product structure, and the maintenance or breakdown of that structure in use. An important feature of the approach is that it is focused on achieving the desired performance of the product and the means to achieve this, rather than on characterisation of existing processes. This is a different approach from the traditional one in chemical engineering, and places new demands on interdisciplinarity and innovation.

You will take an inherently multidisciplinary approach, involving the component disciplines of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics and Biosciences, to a largely undeveloped area. The intention is to develop a framework of understanding for the design, manufacture and performance assessment of formulated products.

You will also develop personal, scientific and business skills to enable them to carry out the joint industry-academia research programme. The programme aims to produce graduates able to take charge of development teams in the most competitive markets.

Why study PhD with Integrated Studies in Formulation Engineering at Birmingham?

  • Competitive stipend;
  • Potential for an industry top-up bursary;
  • Engagement with a wider research community;
  • Interdisciplinary training and research projects;
  • Integral engagement with leading industrial partners in both training and research


The taught modules (120 credits) are spread over two/three years and are chosen from a range of topics including:

Basic Training and Introductory Modules (Years 1 and 2)

Choose a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 60 credits:

  • Bioscience for Graduates from Other Scientific Disciplines - 10 credits
  • Process Engineering Fundamentals - 10 credits
  • Design of Experiments, Measurements and Sensors - 20 credits
  • Industry 4.0 and Big Data - 20 credits
  • Innovative Toolkit - 20 credits
  • Project Management (Business Strategy Delivery) - 10 credits

Specialism, Business and Research Skills Modules (Years 2 and 3)

Choose a minimum of 60 credits and a maximum of 80 credits. Examples of optional are listed below:

Specialism modules

  • Bioseparations - 20 credits
  • Cell Factories - 20 credits
  • Chemical NanoEngineering - 10 credits
  • Design & Development of Drug Delivery Systems - 10 credits
  • Explosion Science, Prevention and Protection in Industries - 10 credits
  • Additive manufacturing and 3D printing for healthcare applications - 10 credits
  • Advanced Biomaterials for Healthcare Technologies - 10 credits
  • Advanced Energy Technology - 20 credits
  • Advanced Therapeutic Medicine Products - 10 credits
  • Applied Food Microbiology - 10 credits
  • Applied Synthetic Biology - 10 credits
  • Energy Engineering Design - 10 credits
  • Energy Storage - 10 credits
  • Energy Systems and Policy - 10 credits
  • Energy System Design - 10 credits
  • Energy Systems Modelling - 10 credits
  • Frontiers in Tissue Engineering - 10 credits
  • Future Engineering of Food - 10 credits
  • Food Structure for Performance - 10 credits
  • Interfaces in Products and Processes - 10 credits
  • Medical Devices - 10 credits
  • Introduction to Healthcare Technologies - 10 credits
  • Minerals and Mineral Engineering - 10 credits
  • Non Ideal Materials - 20 credits
  • Principles of Hydrogen Safety - 20 credits
  • Renewable Energy Systems - 10 credits
  • Sensor Systems in Medicine - 10 credits
  • Thermal Energy – conversion, storage and applications - 10 credits
  • Numerical Modelling and Simulation Tools - 20 credits
  • Plant design & manufacturing principles in pharmaceutical production - 10 credits

Business Skills

  • Business and Strategy Development - 10 credits
  • Project Management (Business Strategy Delivery) - 10 credits
  • Transferable Skills for Postgraduate Students - 10 credits

Research Skills

  • Innovative Toolkit - 20 credits
  • Independent Study 1 - 10 credits
  • Independent Study 2 - 20 credits


Annual Tuition Fees 2024/25 academic year

  • £4,778 UK students, full-time
  • £27,360 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.


Research engineers can be recruited onto the PhD with Integrated Studies in Formulation Engineering.  Fees are covered by EPSRC and research engineers receive a stipend (from EPSRC) and an industry ‘top up’ from the sponsoring company.

Present figures for 2020/21 cohort are £16.785 (from EPSRC) plus £3.100 (Industry top up).

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.


How To Apply

To apply please send a copy of your CV to for consideration.  Your application will be considered by the CDT board and if shortlisted will be invited to attend an interview.  Normally the candidate is invited to the University to meet the supervising academic, followed by an interview at the host company. Please indicate if you are interested in a particular project.

If successful, you will be offered a project at one of the partner institutions subject to EPSRC funding eligibility and University admissions criteria.

Learn more about applying. 

International students applying for this programme will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before the University can issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive an offer from us.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Honours degree in Chemical Engineering, Biological or Physical Sciences, or Mathematics. Learn more about entry requirements. 

International Requirements

International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications is required:

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

International students applying for this programme will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before the University can issue you with a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). We recommend that you apply for your ATAS certificate as soon as you receive an offer from us.

The programme comprises 120 credits of taught material.  The modules offered are typically intensive one week long courses at the University, with the majority offered at Masters level with a pass mark of 50% (with the exception of the introductory modules).  There are 10 and 20 credit modules available and we usually recommend students taking 50 credits in the first year, 40 in the second year and 30 in the third year (leaving final year free for thesis writing and experiments).  1 credit represents 10 hours of notional learning, so 10-credits is the equivalent of 100-hours, 20-credits of 200-hours and so forth.  On average our modules have 30% contact time (academic-led teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, lab work, etc) with 70% student-led independent learning.  

We currently offer a suite of courses:

Foundation’ modules in process engineering and bioscience to give basic training for those whose first degree did not contain the appropriate material

Core modules in formulation science and engineering, including measurement of structure and process, particle and colloid science, and in the science underpinning molecule delivery. 

A ‘Training Need Analysis’ is developed in collaboration with supervisors and modules are selected on the following basis:

  • Directly relevant to their research;
  • Develop business and transferrable skills;
  • Cover areas of Formulation Engineering not taught in the research engineer’s degree or career history;
  • Cover new manufacturing paradigms

Our graduate employability is 100%, with 70% of our students being employed specifically in the field of Formulation Engineering.  Around a third of our students are retained by the sponsoring companies upon completion of the programme.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.