The Surrey Space Centre (SSC) is the largest UK academic centre for space engineering research. With a host of expert academics and close links with industries, SSC offers the ideal research environment for the next generation of space scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
As a PhD candidate within the Centre, you will work alongside academics, postdoctorate researchers and fellow postgraduate researchers, as they push the boundaries of low-cost small satellites and develop new innovative technologies. You will also benefit from the Centre’s strong academic-industrial strategic partnership with both Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) and Airbus DS.
Throughout your research you will have access to our world-class academic research facilities, covering advanced multidisciplinary small satellite and space system engineering techniques for Earth orbit and interplanetary space; innovative communications, remote sensing, robotics and space science payloads for small satellites; and enabling technologies for low-cost space exploitation and planetary exploration.
Following completion of your PhD you will able to apply for membership with the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Chartered Engineer status with the Engineering Council UK and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Postgraduate researchers are registered for a maximum four year period of full-time study. After twelve months you write a confirmation report, which is assessed by two independent examiners. You will submit a written PhD thesis after a minimum three years of full-time study. A detailed evaluation of progress and future research plans is made every six months to ensure that progress towards completion of the PhD remains satisfactory.
You will be allocated two Surrey-based academic supervisors, in addition to any external collaborative supervisors. Your principal supervisor will be an expert in your area of research and will be in charge of monitoring your research progress. The supervisors will help you to define the initial objective and scope of your research, and to refine these as the project evolves. They will direct you to resources to help you learn the necessary experimental, theoretical or computing skills and will advise you on the completion of your PhD and the content of your thesis. External collaborative supervisors are appointed in many cases, in order to contribute specific expertise or facilitate access to resources or organisations.
Your office space will be located at the Surrey Space Centre building and you will typically share office alongside researchers with related research interests. As a PhD student you will be assigned to a research group which includes a team of academics, postdoctoral researchers, guest scientists and fellows.
Many areas of research at SSC are inter-disciplinary and you are likely to have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists at universities, research establishments, and industries around the world. If your PhD project is collaborative it may involve travel for meetings with collaborators and access to specialised facilities.
SSC monthly seminars are open to all postgraduate researchers. You will get an opportunity to attend presentations by each research group and all PGRs are expected to present their individual research on the day of their group’s presentation. In addition to these internal seminars, there are regular opportunities to attend invited lectures, by renowned external speakers, organised by different research centres and departments within our Faculty.
Furthermore, you will be able to meet other researchers, academics, and other staff at informal PGR forum meetings, and get involved in organising the PGR conference, social or other events.
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There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
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).