Engineering Materials PHD

Why choose this course

The study of engineering materials bridges the gap between the physical sciences, where understanding of atomic and molecular phenomena help explain fundamental behaviours, and engineering structures where practical applications of such phenomena are realised.

Our Centre for Engineering Materials provides world-class analysis of ceramics, polymers and metals, as well as composite materials consisting of two or more of these materials, and explores a range of applications where such materials are being used to bring about improved performance or new products. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 80 per cent of our ‘general engineering’ research outputs were rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

A PhD programme in engineering materials will allow you to test the cutting-edge of science and 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 industry, including work with Rolls-Royce, Dstl, and Jaguar Landrover. We’re host to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Thermo-Fluids Systems and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Micro and Nanomaterials and Technologies.

What you will study

Our PhD in Engineering Materials 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 will guide you through your PhD. You’ll learn how to conduct literature review, how to develop your ideas and verify them with experiments, and how to collaborate and perform interdisciplinary research. Over time, we’ll develop your skills and transform you into an independent researcher.

Course facts

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

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).

Research themes

  • Adhesive bonding
  • Additive manufacturing & printing
  • Ceramics
  • Composites
  • Design
  • Energy generation and harvesting
  • Engineering materials
  • Materials for infrastructure
  • Nanomaterials
  • Smart materials
  • Surface and interface reactions 

Research facilities

As a PhD student within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, you’ll have access to all our facilities, including our Surface Analysis Laboratory, our Functional Nanomaterials Laboratory and our hardware in our Microstructural Studies Unit.

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.


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

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.


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

Development of novel radiation-grafted powder ionomers for use in high performance alkali membrane fuel cells

Funding information:
Funding status: Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students only) EU/UK  fees for 3 years: 2018-19 level £4195 Standard stipend for 3 years: 2017-18 level £14,553 £5k bench fees across three-year project

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