Why choose this programme
The University of Surrey’s Centre for Automotive Engineering (CAE) provides world-class technical research for vehicle analysis. This includes all electric and hybrid powertrains, autonomous vehicles, vehicle dynamics simulation, tyre dynamics simulation, design and simulation of vehicle subsystems (brakes, steering, suspension, chassis control systems design), design of experimental test benches, lightweight chassis design and vehicle aerodynamics.
A PhD in automotive engineering enables you to employ cutting-edge science to make new discoveries. Our excellent laboratories and facilities are nationally and internationally recognised, and a stage for world-class research. We provide a multidisciplinary environment where doctoral students from different disciplines can meet and work together on applied engineering research topics with direct impacts on society.
Our researchers also regularly collaborate with key players in industry, including Rolls-Royce, Dstl and Jaguar Land Rover. We are also host to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Thermo-Fluid Systems and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies.
The University of Surrey ranked 15th in the UK for research power for engineering by the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. We are now also ranked in the top 20 in the UK for the overall quality of research outputs – research papers and other published works.
What you will study
Our PhD in Automotive Engineering will give you the knowledge, skills and expertise needed for a career in engineering, research or academia. You’ll be intellectually challenged, develop research and management skills, and become an expert in your chosen field of study.
It normally takes around three years to complete a full-time PhD. You’ll be assigned a minimum of two supervisors, who’ll guide you through your studies. You’ll learn how to conduct literature reviews, develop your ideas and verify them with experiments, and collaborate and perform interdisciplinary research. Over time, we’ll develop your skills and transform you into an independent researcher.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate Careers and Employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
- Automotive engineering
- Computational fluid mechanics
- Hybrid vehicles
- Tyre dynamics
- Vehicle dynamics.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences.
As a PhD student within the School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, you’ll have access to all our analysis and testing facilities. These include:
- Environmental Flow (EnFlo) laboratory
- Fluid dynamics supercomputer cluster
- Gait laboratory
- Hardware in loop testing facilities for vehicles
- Mechanical testing facilities
- MicroStructural Studies Unit
- Surface Analysis laboratory.
Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper-second class degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower second plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required).
International entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Start date: April 2023
Start date: July 2023
Start date: October 2023
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: January 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
For fees payable in 2022/23, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
Overseas students applying for 2022 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
How to apply
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.
Code of practice for research degrees
Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.
Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.