Automotive Engineering PhD

Key information

Full-time - 4 years

Start dates:
April 2024
July 2024
October 2024
January 2025

Part-time - 8 years

Start dates:
April 2024
July 2024
October 2024
January 2025

Why choose this programme

Studying for a PhD in automotive engineering at the University of Surrey means being part of a multidisciplinary environment, where doctoral students come together to work on applied engineering research topics with a direct impact on society.

You will spend a lot of time in our Centre for Automotive Engineering (CAE), which 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.

Our researchers also regularly collaborate with key players in industry, including Rolls-Royce, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Jaguar Land Rover. We are also host to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Thermo-Fluid Systems.

The University of Surrey ranked 15th in the UK for research power for engineering in the 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.

Postgraduate Research at Surrey

Frequently asked questions about doing a PhD

What you will study

Our Automotive Engineering PhD 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. You will develop your skills over time to become an independent researcher.

Assessment

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.

Research support

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.

Research themes

  • Automotive engineering
  • Computational fluid mechanics
  • Design
  • 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.

Research facilities

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-the-loop testing facilities for vehicles
  • Mechanical testing facilities
  • MicroStructural Studies Unit
  • Surface Analysis laboratory.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper second-class (2:1) UK degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower-second (2:2) UK degree plus a good UK masters degree - distinction normally required (or equivalent overseas qualification).

International entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

These are the English language qualifications and levels that we can 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.

Application requirements

Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.

After registration

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants:

  • Meeting the expected entry requirements
  • Being shortlisted through the application screening process
  • Completing a successful interview
  • Providing suitable references.

Fees

Start date: April 2024

Full-time

UK
£4,712
Overseas
£24,100

Part-time

UK
£2,356
Overseas
£12,100

Start date: July 2024

Full-time

UK
£4,712
Overseas
£24,100

Part-time

UK
£2,356
Overseas
£12,100

Start date: October 2024

Full-time

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
£26,200

Part-time

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
£13,100

Start date: January 2025

Full-time

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
£26,200

Part-time

UK
To be confirmed
Overseas
£13,100
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100 (subject to legal requirements).
  • Any start date other than September 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).

View the list of fees for all postgraduate research courses.

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.

Funding

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

Apply online

If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, please provide details of the project instead of a research proposal.

Read our application guidance for further information on applying.

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 to study at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to follow our policies and procedures, student regulations, and terms and conditions.

We provide these terms and conditions in two stages:

  • First when we make an offer.
  • Second when students accept their offer and register to study with us (registration terms and conditions will vary depending on your course and academic year).

View our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide on what to expect.

Disclaimer

This online prospectus has been published in advance of the academic year to which it applies.

Whilst we have done everything possible to ensure this information is accurate, some changes may happen between publishing and the start of the course.

It is important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team

Address

University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey GU2 7XH