Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2-5 years, Part-time: 3-8 years

Course level




Start dates

January, March, September, June


Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

Course description

Take your knowledge and ambitions to the next level with a research degree at Derby. We will help you achieve a highly regarded MPhil or PhD specialising in areas such as mechanical and aerospace engineering, manufacturing, design, motorsport engineering or the built environment.

Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.

We will work with you to design an individual research programme that suits your topic. You will meet your supervisor regularly for guidance and progress monitoring.

What you will study

We offer a variety of topics at PhD level in mechanical/aerospace engineering and the built environment. Many involve working with industrial companies in the East Midlands.

  • Multiscale Assessment and Modelling of Low Energy Impact Fatigue in Aerospace Composite Structures
  • Large Eddy Simulation of Wake-induced Transition
  • Pressure Gain Combustion: Fuel Spray and Shockwave Interaction
  • Optimising Aerospace Material Performance by Embedding 3D Fibre into Composite Preform
  • Urban Information Management: Sustainable Urban Information Systems
  • Using Intelligent Augmented Reality (AR) for Multi-User Collaborative Design and Manufacturing
  • Expert System for the Estimating of Costs for Large Complex Engineering Projects
  • Reducing Aircraft Noise through the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Neural Networks
  • Sustainability Impact of BIM and Low Energy Design
  • A New Approach to Characterisation Material Properties from Measurement Data Using Combined Inversed Analysis and Optimisation
  • Simulation-based Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Sustainable Manufacturing Design and Management

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

MPhil or PhD

This route typically involves undertaking independent research under academic supervision that leads to the production of a written thesis, which for some subjects may also be accompanied by creative works. The MPhil is studied over 3 years (full-time) or 5 years (part-time); the PhD is studied over 4 years (full-time) or 8 years (part-time).

Integrated Route PhD

This route involves a taught component of research training prior to beginning your independent research under academic supervision, which culminates in the production of a written thesis. The Integrated Route PhD is studied over 5 years (full-time) or 8 years (part-time). Please note that this route is currently unavailable.

MPhil or PhD by Published Works

This route is designed to provide doctoral recognition for your previous research achievements. These would be contained in a body of largely already published or creative works accompanied by a critical appraisal, which contextualises your publications, and justifies the contribution these have made to your subject area. The MPhil or PhD by Published Works is studies over 2 years (full-time) or 3 years (part-time).

MPhil or PhD by Concurrent Publication

This route is only available for University of Derby staff. Under this route, you are expected to produce and publish research or creative work accompanied by a critical appraisal which contextualises your publications, and justifies the contribution these have made to your subject area. The MPhil by Concurrent Publication is studied over 3 years (part-time only); the PhD by Concurrent Publication is studied over 8 years (part-time only).

For each route, you will meet with your supervisors on a regular basis, to be agreed between yourself and your supervisory team following enrolment onto the research degree programme.

Entry requirements

Applicants for research degrees should normally hold an honours degree from a UK University, or qualifications or experience which are deemed by the University to be equivalent.

Language requirements

Applicants who do not hold a UK, EEA, or Swiss passport must also provide an IELTS certificate showing that you meet our entry requirements (overall score 6.5, minimum 5.5 in each area of learning).

Please note that you do not need to supply an IELTS certificate if you have completed a degree from a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI; or if you have citizenship of a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI.

Fees and funding

Doctoral loans

Find out more about doctoral loans and see if you could be eligible for a doctoral loan.


Scholarships and discounts may be available to international students on specific intakes.

How to apply

UK/EU students

UK/EU postgraduate research students can apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

International postgraduate research students can apply directly to the University. If you wish to work during your studies, please check your eligibility to work during your studies before applying.

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree


With the prestige of a PhD on your CV, you can progress in your present job or seek new career opportunities in a range of areas such as research and teaching in universities, industrial research centres or publicly funded bodies.  You can also enter management at a senior level within industrial companies.

Contact us

Course: Stamartis Zoras (Built Environment) (programme leader) Course: Huirong Le (Mechanical Engineering) +44 (0)1332 593167 +44 (0)1332 593599
Research Student Office +44 (0)1332 591060

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.