Engineers on a yellow oil rig 1600x600

PhD, MPhil, MResCivil & environmental engineering

Research opportunities

We offer postgraduate research degrees in a wide range of subjects. Engineering subjects include:

  • civil
  • environmental
  • chemical
  • mechanical
  • electrical

We also offer research degrees in areas including geosciences, material science, physics, chemistry and microbiology.

We have a vibrant postgraduate research community, with around 70 postgraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds. We offer training in a diverse and international setting. We work closely with industry and government and our world-class research portfolio includes leadership of international and multi-institutional research consortia.

Our postgraduate research degrees can be studied over one year (MPhil, MRes) or three/three-and-a-half years (PhD). Our research is supported by funding from research councils, the Scottish Government and industrial partners.

All of our postgraduate research students have the support of two supervisors for the duration of their studies.

MPhil & PhD

You can study for your choice of these degrees in any of our research areas:

Take a look at our civil & environmental engineering sample project list for some ideas on PhD projects we offer.

You'll have the opportunity to attend our weekly research seminars, as well as specialist classes and training courses from across the University.


Our MRes degree is specific to the following programmes:

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD) programme 

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PG Cert RPD). 

This certificate is designed to support you with your research and rewards you for things you'll do as a research student here.

It'll help you improve skills which are important to professional development and employability:

  • the knowledge and intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • the personal qualities to succeed in your research and chosen career
  • the standards, requirements and conduct of a professional researcher in your discipline
  • working with others and communicating the impact of your research to a wide range of audiences

All you have to do is plan these activities alongside your doctorate, documenting and reflecting your journey to success along the way.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


Industry links

Our Civil & Environmental Engineering department has close links with industry. Around 25% of our PhD students have financial help from those links.

We also have several high-profile visiting professors who supervise current PhDs. 

Research facilities

You'll have access to our £6m state-of-the-art research laboratories which opened in June 2013. Our facilities include:

  • Geomechanics Laboratory
  • Environmental Chemistry Laboratory 
  • Microbiology Laboratory
  • Structures Laboratory
  • Numerical Modelling of Geomaterials
  • Field Investigation Capabilities
You'll also be given your own work area with allocated desk, computer and storage space in our new office in the James Weir building.

Research collaborations

We support a wide range of international research collaborations. These include activities in:
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Swaziland
  • Thailand
  • United States

Staff excellence

Our staff are experts in their fields. Some examples of their prestigious achievements include:

  • Professor Lunn: Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) (2014); Geological Society of London Aberconway Medal (2011) for distinction in the practice of geology with special reference to work in industry
  • Professor Kalin (et al.): Brownfield Briefing Award (2012) for research in Environmental forensic methods for the characterisation of coal tar contamination
  • Professor Shipton: Geological Society of London William Smith Fund (2010) for excellence in contributions to applied and economic aspects of geoscience
  • Dr Lord: Best of Life Project (2010) winner for the EU Life Programme BioReGen Project

PhD student success

Our PhD students regularly win prizes for excellent research as well as travel funding.
  • Manpreet Puri: best presentation International Astronautical Congress, Beijing (2013); 
  • Chiara Mazzoni: Institute of Civil Engineers ICE QUEST Travel Award (2013) for the American Geophysical Union meeting, San Francisco; 
  • Stewart Beattie: $1000  American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grant-in-aid (2013) to develop aerial photography using a remote controlled aircraft;
  • Gareth Jones: Geometrics Scholarship Award (2012) for the best research project in the field of applied geophysics.


Fees & funding


All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Here are our fees for 2015/2016:


£4,052 (full-time)

Rest of UK

£4,052 (full-time)

International students

£16,700 (full-time)


We're currently looking for high-quality applicants for our fully-funded PhD projects. Find out more on our PhD scholarships page.

Have a look at our scholarship search to find any funded opportunities available.

Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship Scheme for International Students (Sept 2015 entry)

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde is offering a substantial number of scholarships for international students with outstanding academic qualifications who are commencing their studies from September 2015. Students may be eligible for a scholarship towards their tuition fees of up £3,340 for the first year of their programme of study. Find out full details of our scholarships.

Research Council studentships (AHRC, BBSRC, ESPRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC)

  • Full Research Council studentships can only be awarded to UK and EU students.
  • If you're an EU student, you're eligible for Research Council studentships if you've been living in the UK for three years, including for studying, immediately before starting your PhD.
  • If you're an EU student and you haven't been living in the UK for three years, you may be eligible for a 'fees only' studentship.
  • If you're an international student, you can only be funded by a Research Council if you have the Right to Abode (ie if your passport describes you as a British citizen), if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law.
  • If you have full Refugee status, you're eligible for fees and stipend.

Travel awards

Postgraduate Research Travel Award

This award contributes to the costs of conference and international travel for research purposes. The fund is open all year round but you can only make one application during your PhD.

Mac Robertson Travel Award

This is a joint fund between the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow.

It provides funding for students studying a PhD or an MRes, to undertake a course that lasts from two months to a year at a centre of advanced study either in or outside Scotland. It doesn't cover conference travel and applications close in May each year.

Finn Randall Travel Award

This award was created in memory of Finn Randall, an alumnus of the University of Strathclyde and an adventurous traveller.

It was established to help a registered student with the cost of a particular travel scheme that's considered to be the most enterprising and relevant to their course of study. It doesn't cover conference attendance or travel for research purposes. Applications close in March each year.

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Entry requirements

We look for a first or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant  discipline, from a recognised educational institution.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • copies of transcripts and certificates of all degrees (in English)
  • two references, one of which must be academic and completed using the reference form
  • an updated CV, detailing research and/or industry experience along with details of your publications
  • a research statement, outlining your research interests and future career aspirations

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

International applicants

If you're applying internationally, you'll also need to provide us with the following:

  • proof of IELTS English language proficiency if English isn't your first language (taken within two years)
  • a scanned copy of your passport
  • a scanned copy of your sponsorship letter (if available)


Research supervisors are assigned to you by the department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

We ask you to highlight a potential supervisor in your application but the department will team you up with the best supervisor for your project.

Once we've received your application, your research proposal is passed to potential supervisors for consideration.

If it's not compatible with the researcher's current projects and they cannot supervise then it's passed along to another for consideration.

If they can supervise you then the supervisor will confirm and nominate a potential second supervisor.

As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

If you accept, you'll be sent a full offer in writing via the email address you'll have provided.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

International students

An ATAS clearance certificate will be a mandatory requirement for some postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology.

You do not need an ATAS certificate if:

  • you are a UK/EU/EEA national
  • you require a Tier 4 student Visa, Entry Clearance or Extension to Stay to study in the UK
  • you wish to study within certain subject areas at the University where the exit award will be a doctorate or postgraduate masters degree

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point in the year.

All you have to do is complete an online application.

Support & development

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and help you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.


We have a great careers service here at Strathclyde that can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have lots of different support for all students here at the University.

Find out more about our civil & environmental engineering research