Civil Engineering PhD/MPhil/MSc by research

Start date
Research degrees can start at any time by agreement with the supervisor
PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MPhil: 2 years full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:
£4,407 (UK/EU students)
£22,500 (International Students)
Further fee information is available.

Our research tackles the problems faced by society today and develops the knowledge and tools to build the communities of the future. Many of our projects have already had a significant impact on society; the impact of others will be felt by generations to come.

Online chat event

MONDAY 3 AUGUST 2020 11:00 - 15:00
This online chat event is designed to inform prospective postgraduate students, applicants and offer holders about the postgraduate courses available within the Department of Civil Engineering and how to prepare for your course.

Online chat further information
Our research supports core themes of Transport, and Resilience and Sustainability. It benefits from being funded by industry, charities and research councils, which encourages innovative thinking and creates internationally recognised research. We pride ourselves in offering a stimulating research environment and are always keen to discuss research opportunities with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

We tackle the problems faced by society today: we aim to develop the knowledge and tools to build the communities of the future. Many of our projects have already had a significant impact on society; the impact of others will be felt by generations to come.

During your pure research degree you will be supported and guided by a supervisor, producing a thesis of original quality, worthy of publication in a learned journal. Our research tackles the problems faced by society today and develops the knowledge and tools to build the communities of the future. Many of our projects have already had a significant impact
on society; the impact of others will be felt by generations to come.

Why study Civil Engineering PhD/MPhil/MSc by research at Birmingham?

  • We have extensive laboratories and facilities both on and off our campus for undertaking research in geotechnical engineering, water engineering, wind engineering and structural engineering.
  • Advanced computer systems are provided for research into numerical modelling of complex systems and issues associated with resilience. The Department has a long tradition of distinguished research that benefits from being funded by industry, charities and research councils. This encourages innovative thinking and creates internationally recognised results.

Ashely talks about his PhD at Birmingham

I decided to study here at the University of Birmingham because the research community here in this department has been second to none. When I came here on the open day nearly two and a half years ago, everyone I spoke to, whether it was a student member or a staff member seemed friendly, easy to get along with.

Ashley Hayden, PhD Civil Engineering

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Annual Tuition Fees 2020/21 academic year

  • £4,407 UK/EU students, full-time
  • £2,204 UK/EU students, part-time
  • £22,500 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.

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. You will be able to apply for funding for the 2018 to 2019 academic year in summer 2018.

Follow the video link below to find out more
Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

Further information is available at the student finance zone.

Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.


For students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

How To Apply

It is recommended to contact the research theme leader before making any application for PhD study to discuss your project and funding. Thereafter, applications for PhD study can be submitted on-line.

Professor Miles Tight talks about admissions onto research degrees in Civil Engineering.

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

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

2:1 Honours degree, or a first degree of a lower classification, along with an MSc/MRes, or evidence of substantial relevant industrial experience. 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 are required:


IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • 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): Academic 51 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

Civil Engineering research programmes are degrees by research alone with a high level of research training, and we are always keen to discuss research opportunities with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

Our research supports core themes of Transport, and Resilience and Sustainability. These are clustered into four research groups:

  • Environmental Engineering

    Environmental Engineering at Birmingham embraces the key topics of water engineering (its purification, energy generation from waste water through anaerobic digestion and how we manage the natural water cycle to serve our needs), geotechnical engineering (engineering in harmony with the ground) infrastructure monitoring and assessment and, more generally, urban living (managing and designing effective cities which will serve us in the future).

  • Fluid Mechanics

    This research builds on a fundamental understanding of the motion of fluids – water, air, slurries, waves and weather – in order to address a variety of real-world problems. This allows us to study diverse topics such as wind-induced forces on buildings, vehicle aerodynamics, non-Newtonian fluids in water treatment works, and the behaviour of waves on a beach.

  • Structural Engineering
    Structural engineering is vital to an efficient and effective development built environment. As urban development and global urbanisation take place, the Structural Engineering group has focussed its efforts on structural integrity and serviceability, sustainable design, disaster resilience, structural robustness and innovative structural materials. Working collaboratively with colleagues from academia and industry, we have looked at novel structural materials, energy-producing structures, renewable energy structures and zero-CO2.
  • Transport Engineering
    From materials, road usage and highway design through to sustainable transport (walking, cycling), railway engineering, energy efficiency and risk management, this research theme is broad and encompasses most transport systems. 

Spotlight on our research: Tornado research

Find a PhD

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