Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability PhD/EngD

"Being embedded in Carillion and focusing on a key business issue means I’ve been able to combine research from academic and industry sources with incredibly valuable access to the knowledge of internal teams. I see some of my work being incorporated in company processes and future plans. That’s hugely rewarding.” 

Erica Russell PDS Candidate at Carillion

Why choose this course?

Our research seeks to support the design, delivery and management of efficient and sustainable infrastructure – from developing new materials, to optimising management of large-scale complex networks and monitoring air and water quality.

We believe contemporary environmental and sustainability issues need to be tackled in an interdisciplinary fashion, so we investigate the questions that matter by drawing on appropriate tools and techniques from a multiplicity of research domains.

Our extensive research community is committed to working together to deliver action-oriented, policy focused responses that effectively address long-term environmental and social issues. We collaborate with businesses and policy makers with these aims in mind.

Our research receives strong support from research councils, funding bodies, government and businesses in the UK and abroad – giving you access to excellent facilities, whatever your specialism.

With over 20 years of activity, we have built up relationships with key players across every area of relevance to an environment and sustainability agenda – from multinational businesses to international bodies such as the UN and World Health Organization (WHO).

What you will study

The Centre for Environmental Strategy is committed to defining, developing and applying the latest thinking on sustainability, resource efficiency and industrial ecology.

Our unique Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme offers you a major collaborative opportunity. If you join us, you will become a Doctoral Practitioner (DP) based with one of our leadings industrial partners for at least two years.

You will pick up a specific research brief that has been designed in partnership, and in order to resolve current industry issues and add to the academic body of knowledge.

Research areas

  • Sustainable development policies and practices
  • Sustainable systems: design and modelling
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Carbon and water footprinting
  • Low carbon energy supply
  • Energy demand and efficiency
  • Social research on sustainability
  • Lifestyles and resource consumption
  • Policy and strategy: for governments and businesses
  • International development and sustainability
  • Environmental psychology
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Labour, workplace and the environment


Funding will come from the partner organisations. DPs are paid a competitive living stipend of up to £20k per annum, normally tax free. In addition to this, UK/EU study fees are covered by the University.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD/EngD Full-time 36-48 months January 2017

Contact us

Admissions enquiries:

01483 68 2174

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Entry Requirements

All applicants should:

  • Hold a 2:1 in a relevant undergraduate degree
  • Fulfil the minimum English language requirements

Due to the challenging nature of the research projects and the fact that DPs will work at the partner organisation’s premises, it is likely that candidates with some work experience (eg, at least a year of professional training that is assessed and integrated into the degree programme) will have an advantage in the selection process.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5 and minimum by component: 6.0

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.

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.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £20,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

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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).

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