Chemical and Process Engineering Research PHD

Why choose this course

With the oldest continuing chemical engineering programme in England, we are a highly respected and award-winning department with a wealth of experience and expertise in the subject. 

Our interdisciplinary research work involves activities with cross-cutting themes, investigating materials and devices with the Advanced Technology Institute while addressing challenges in information technology. The recently established Centre for Advance Process Intensification offers a research platform for sustainable manufacturing, leading to the development of new and improved concepts of processing methods and equipment for chemical and energy conversion systems. 

Research in the Department is highly multi-disciplinary and we enjoy excellent collaborations with Materials, Chemistry, the Ion Beam Centre, the Surrey Space Centre, the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, and the 5G Innovation Centre, as well as access to their facilities. We are internationally recognised for our water research, for which the University was the recipient of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. We have also taken the first step towards ‘industrial sixth sense’ with a £1m project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which aims to develop technology enabling companies to ‘see into the future’ in order to prevent industrial disasters. 

Much of our research is computationally based and we have the latest software and hardware. Our modern laboratories include high headroom areas for pilot plant, and specialist laboratories exist for microbial systems, water and particle technology. 

The University’s strengths in chemical engineering include membrane filtration and ultrasound processing. Key members in the Department have extensive expertise in these areas and strong industry links with projects looking into implementation of water processing technology. 

You will benefit from comprehensive training and transferable skills development offered through the Faculty Graduate School, which serves to support your future career and create a friendly social environment for the Faculty’s large cohort of postgraduate research students. You will have opportunities to present and exchange your research with others within the Department, as well as socialise and network with others, at various events and forums.

What you will study

If you join us, you will have opportunities to investigate topics ranging from fuel cell systems, biorefining and reverse osmosis to positron emission particle tracking. 

As a PhD student you will go through a confirmation process in which you will need to produce a report to demonstrate your understanding of the research field and your project results. Your ability to carry out critical literature review, scientific writing skills and ability to carry out research and produce meaningful results will be evaluated by your supervisor and two examiners. Once you have passed the confirmation stage, your PhD research project can begin. 

At the end of the second year, you will be expected to submit a scientific manuscript draft containing your most important results, as well as a solid plan for writing up your PhD thesis. This will be evaluated by your supervisor and examiners, and necessary support will be provided. 

You will be encouraged to complete your PhD within 36 months, and you should submit your PhD thesis within 48 months. Your PhD thesis will be evaluated by two examiners (one external to the University). There will be also a formal meeting for you to defend your thesis with the two examiners questioning. The two examiners will then make recommendation based on their evaluation. 

The Department of Chemical and Process Engineering offers a dynamic and friendly environment for research. You will be provided with the necessary support to carry out your research projects and have access to expertise and facilities across the University, and externally when necessary. 

Depending on the nature of your project, you will work in labs, offices and in external institutions. If your project is experimental in nature, you will likely spend a lot of time in labs carrying out the research. If your project is computational in nature, you will likely work mainly within offices with computers. You will also have opportunities to work externally if your project involves such collaborations. 

The PhD programme is organised to support your progress as a PhD student. There will be a review with your supervisors every six months to discuss past progress, research directions, difficulties encountered and support needed. 

Your supervisor will offer their expertise in the research field, support in establishing necessary equipment and research conditions, guidance in the project overall research direction and results interpretation, and support in scientific writings.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PHD Full-time 48 months January 2019
PHD Full-time 48 months April 2019
PHD Full-time 48 months October 2018
PHD Part-time 96 months January 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months April 2019
PHD Part-time 96 months October 2018
PHD Full-time 48 months July 2018
PHD Part-time 96 months July 2018
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 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.

Disclaimer

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 more.

Research themes

There are five main research themes:

  • Energy and materials
  • Formulations and products
  • Health and food
  • Digital and process innovation
  • Water processing technology

Within these themes our research looks at:

  • Development and modelling of novel nanomaterials for solid oxide fuel cells, electrolysers, batteries, and super-capacitors
  • New generation of solar cells and membranes technology, custom-made catalysts for environmental and photocatalytic applications
  • Biorefining, design and optimisation of the bioenergy supply chain
  • Particulate materials manufacturing for pharmaceutical, food and minerals industry
  • Multiphase flow, process modelling and optimisation using coupled DEM-CFD and FEM
  • Particle mechanical property characterisation, powder flow and compaction, granulation and mechanistic modelling
  • In vitro and in silico models for biological systems at molecular, cellular and organ levels
  • Computation oncology and modelling radiotherapy
  • Oral processes of food and pharmaceutical products
  • Product structure and properties interplay with bio-substrate response
  • Industrial symbiosis, optimisation and decision making
  • Whole systems hierarchical modelling based on massive spatial-temporal data and time points
  • Innovative waste water processing and recycling , including forward osmosis
  • Use of ultrasonics to promote chemical and physical processing
  • Membrane filtration and synthesis

Research facilities

  • Bench and pilot plant filtration systems
  • Ultrasound processing equipment
  • Water testing facilities
  • Specialist laboratories for microbial systems, water and particle technology

The developed technology will be demonstrated in an existing modular-built pilot miniplant in Surrey, which contains three sections: feed preparation, reaction and downstreaming (purification/separation) processes, with a throughput of 50 litres/min and a reactor vessel operating volume of 300d/m3. It includes a heat exchanger network, pressure relief system, alarm management, fully automated with over 60 sensors and a DCS system.

Entry requirements

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).

View 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. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

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.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time January 2019 £4,260 £20,800
Full-time April 2019 £4,260 £20,800
Full-time October 2018 £4,260 £20,800
Part-time January 2019 £2,130 £10,400
Part-time April 2019 £2,130 £10,400
Part-time October 2018 £2,130 £10,400
Full-time July 2018 £4,195 £20,000
Part-time July 2018 £2,100 £10,000

For fees payable in 2018/19, 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 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Additional costs

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

How to apply

The dropdown below shows the available start months for this course. Please select from one of these available months when you are asked for your preferred start date within the application form.

Studentships

We have a host of partly and fully-funded studentship opportunities available.

Remediation of Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS)-Impacted Waters using Ultrasound

Funding information:
The scholarship is based on the RCUK rates. For the academic year commencing October 2018 this is £14,777 per annum for stipend (tax free maintenance grant) and £4,260 per annum for fees (these are full time rates, part time rates are £7,388.50 and £2,130 respectively). RCUK increases these values annually in line with a GDP deflator.

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