Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD

Why choose this course?

Your PhD will be conducted within one of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s world-class research groups, as you work together to create smart and clean urban environments within the constraints of space and the challenges of ageing infrastructure.

By sharing resources with other departments across the University, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be able to support you in pursuing multi-disciplinary and multi-scale research which spans traditional subject boundaries and enables science-led enquiry to create engineered solutions to industrially relevant problems both nationally and globally.

You will also benefit from the Department’s excellent track record for graduate employability and the wide range of scholarships offered through its partnerships with leading companies.

What you will study

On this programme your research will address the need for safe and sustainable environments in which we can all live and work. Your research can be about anything covered by one of our four research centres, or within the wider research interests in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

You’ll be assigned two supervisors, who will guide you through your PhD and meet with you at least once a month. Your supervisors will be responsible for your progress, professional development and your personal welfare. They’ll also be able to support you with preparing your work for publication, and for presenting to research seminars.

You’ll normally spend the first few months of your studies exploring the existing literature within your area of interest, and establishing the research question that you will address. After your first year, you’ll take a confirmation exam, and produce a report setting out your research objectives, what you’ve done so far, and a plan for how you’ll complete your final thesis. Your final assessment will be on your written thesis, and by a viva examination with both internal and external examiners.

As a research student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, you’ll be able to attend our monthly research seminars, where you can find out more about what your fellow researchers are working on and try your hand at presenting yourself, improving your presentation skills. We encourage our research students to interact with all our research staff throughout their programmes.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 48 months January
PhD Full-time 48 months April
PhD Full-time 48 months July
PhD Full-time 48 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
PhD Part-time 96 months October
Stag Hill

Additional costs

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

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).

Our students

  • Jade-Ashlee Cox, EngD Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems

    "The SEES Engineering Doctorate at the University of Surrey complements my degree in Physical geography from the University of Durham and MSc in Environmental Technology (Distinction) from Imperial College, London."

    Read more

  • Pam Billy Fom, PhD Civil and Environmental Engineering

    “My supervisors are academics with a solid interest and capability in my area of research. I’ve found them outstanding.”

    Read more

  • Mina Giagia, MSc Structural Engineering

    "This course provides an attractive programme structure with a good variety of interesting modules."

    Read more


  • Find out how our Doctoral College can support your research career

    Read more

  • Stay up to date with our latest research news

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  • Explore how our research is making a difference to the world

    Read more

Research facilities

You’ll be given office space and a computer within the Department, normally with other researchers working on similar or related projects. From here, you’ll be able to carry out computer-based desk studies and access central supercomputer systems to run simulations or other analytical models.

If your research involves experimental studies, you’ll be given access to appropriate laboratories along with the support and training to use them. Each laboratory has its own trained technicians, who will keep you safe and help you with any problems.

If your research requires fieldwork outside the office or the lab, your supervisor will work with you to help you carry out your studies safely and practically.

Some of the laboratories we have on site include:

  • A structures and materials laboratory, where you can manufacture and assess structural elements, including in a mechanical testing suite with static/fatigue capacity from 1N to 1000kN at size scales of 1mm to 5m in tension/compression/flexure
  • The SAGE laboratory, which can characterise soils and soil-structure interactions under controlled environmental conditions
  • Laboratories within the Centre for Environmental and Health Engineering (CEHE), which include water resources surveillance, modelling and management, water treatment, supply and regulation, wastewater treatment, disposal and safe reuse, and pollution control and waste management. We also have a cryogenic mill and accelerated weathering chamber to enable studies of environmental weathering and degradation of plastics
  • The Air Quality Lab (AQL), a world-class air quality monitoring facility housing advanced equipment that can measure trace levels of gases and particles, including nano/ultrafine particles
  • The GeoInformation Laboratory, our research hub for geospatial analysis, remote sensing and geo-simulation. Researchers have dedicated computing resources, including powerful workstations, state-of-the art software and data infrastructure
  • Wind tunnel facilities for pollution dispersion modelling.

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.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

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.


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

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.

Funding and studentships

PhD Opportunity in Structural Health Monitoring (‘SHM’) of Civil Infrastructure

Supervisor(s) To be confirmed
Funding Competitive Departmental Funding (UK/EU)
Application deadline 31 January 2018
Opportunities across all subjects

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222

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