The University of Surrey has been leading the way in environmental and sustainability research for over 25 years. The diversity of Surrey’s interests in environment and sustainability research, and the breadth of our staff’s expertise, means that we can support PhD/EngD studies ranging across a full spectrum of sustainability research including pure social science approaches, natural sciences and engineering. The majority of our research in these areas adopts multidisciplinary approaches which we have pioneered for many years.
Our PhD/EngD in Sustainability allows you to pursue research studies at doctoral level while gaining invaluable research experience in a prestigious organisation external to the University, enabling you to apply your knowledge to real life sustainability issues. You will have the unique opportunity to further your research knowledge in the academic field of sustainability and apply this to an external partner organisation.
This programme is aimed at high-achieving researchers and graduates whose vision is to become a sustainability leader in industry. You’ll receive in-depth industry experience with a bespoke taught programme of advanced technical and specialised business modules.
The Sustainability PhD/EngD falls within the world-leading Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES), internationally recognised for multi-disciplinary research and teaching across all areas of sustainability. Collaborative research is carried out across the University, giving you an excellent opportunity to learn from, and contribute to, this vital domain of human development.
This unique programme offers you the opportunity to pursue your research studies at doctoral level and take a role in industry, applying your knowledge in the ‘real world’. You will further your research knowledge in the academic field of sustainability and apply this to a real challenge, spending the majority of your time within the external partner organisation.
You will be based at the University for the first 12 weeks of the programme where you will undertake a series of sustainability modules and personal development workshops, which will equip you for your time in industry. You will then move to your industry premises where you will integrate into the company, making your applied research relevant to the company and potentially the wider sector.
You will have two academic supervisors, one from CES and one from another relevant University department. You will also have an industry supervisor who will work alongside you on a day-to-day basis. The academic role of the supervisors is to guide and help train you in becoming an independent researcher whose thesis and associated publications and conference presentations make a contribution to academic and practical knowledge. You will closely collaborate with your supervisors, who will monitor your research progress at monthly and formal appraisal points.
The programme is assessed by formal progress reports at six monthly intervals, a confirmation report, a viva, and by submission and oral examination of a final thesis by independent external and internal examiners.
You will also have the opportunity to complete four specified taught modules from the CES masters programme, in order to qualify for The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) professional membership at Associate level. Completion of the PhD also provides strong support for application for the Managerial Full IEMA membership and Chartered Environmentalist level. Depending on the focus of the PhD research, it would similarly offer strong contributions to chartered status with other professional bodies, such as those in engineering.
Each year, researchers come together for a variety of events including our annual conference, the Roland Clift Lecture, the P3Connect series of talks, a writing retreat, the CES retreat and various seminars and training activities.
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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).