Why choose this programme
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, metals and polymers, 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. 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.
A PhD course in engineering materials gives you the chance to employ cutting-edge science to make new discoveries. Our excellent characterisation and manufacturing laboratories and facilities are nationally and internationally recognised, and a stage for world-class research.
Our researchers also regularly collaborate with key players in industry, including Rolls-Royce, Dstl and Jaguar Land Rover. We’re 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.
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’.
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’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.
- Adhesive bonding
- Additive manufacturing & printing
- Energy generation, harvesting and storage
- Engineering materials
- Materials for infrastructure
- Smart materials
- Surface and interface reactions.
Our academic staff
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 Nanomaterials Laboratory and our hardware in our Microstructural Studies Unit.
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: October 2021
Start date: January 2022
Start date: April 2022
Start date: July 2022
For fees payable in 2020/21, 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 2021 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.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
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) 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 more.