PhD, MPhil, MRes Civil & environmental engineering

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Research opportunities

Located in the heart of Glasgow’s City Centre, we offer a unique combination of expertise including civil, environmental, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as geosciences, material science, physics, chemistry and microbiology. 

We have a vibrant postgraduate research community, with over 90 research students from a wide variety of backgrounds. We offer training in a diverse and international setting and working closely with industry and government ensures our research is sector-leading and meets the needs of our stakeholders. Our world-class research portfolio includes international and multi-institutional research collaborations.

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

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.

A worker on an oil rig

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

MPhil & PhD

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

Get in touch with us at to discuss your own project ideas.

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


Our MRes degree is specific to the following programmes:

Industrial Doctorate

For applicants looking to do a work-based PhD, the Faculty of Engineering’s Industrial Doctorate Programme allows you to remain in full-time employment while working on a PhD relevant to your area of work. You can find more information on the Industrial Doctorate web page.

The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

Our research facilities & expertise


You'll have access to our £6 million state-of-the-art research laboratories. 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 offices 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

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent. The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

Aerial view of students sitting around coffee tables

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Some projects will have research costs in addition to the tuition fees. Assessment is made on a case by case basis. This only applies to projects which will use particularly expensive equipment in one particular research lab.

Students are provided with lab coats, gloves etc. Students have no specific costs to make. If their dissertation involves lab work, all costs are met by the Department.


Have a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

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

We hold an Athena Swan Silver Award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality.

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When you apply, you'll be asked to choose a potential supervisor. Don't worry if you can't see your desired area below – we'll do our best to match you to a supervisor when you apply.

NameArea of expertise
Tara Beattie
  • Public health in low income countries
  • Waste management in low income settings
  • Legionella species in compost environments
  • Free living protozoa and ocular infection
Doug Bertram 
  • water engineering
  • hydraulics and hydrology
  • flooding and flood risk assessment
  • urban drainage systems
  • SUDs
  • hydropower and water-related energy technologies

Iain Beverland

  • air pollution and human health
  • environmental epidemiology
  • exposure assessment/characterisation
  • risk-based assessment of environmental influences on health
Kate Dobson
  • Characterisation, development and evolution of microstructures of materials
  • Multi-phase flow in porous materials (rocks, soils, concrete, other natural and engineered materials)
  • Evolution of porosity and permeability
  • X-ray tomography for engineering, materials and geoscience applications, especially in situ observation of processes and behaviours
  • The effect of freeze-thaw and wetting-drying cycles on microstructure
  • design and performance of barriers for Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste;
  • the hydro-mechanical behaviour of fractured rocks
  • geological processes
  • sustainability of critical resources (energy, soil, food, water, minerals)
  • fractures, fluids and fluid rock interactions
John Douglas 
  • seismic hazard assessment, particularly ground-motion prediction
  • seismic risk assessment, particularly fragility/vulnerability functions
  • (engineering) seismology, including induced seismicity
  • multi-hazard risk assessment
  • epistemic uncertainties

Gráinne El Mountassir

  • bio-physico-chemical processes which may influence the hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of soils and rocks including biomineralisation processes in porous media & fractured rock
  • development of novel biogeochemical grouting technologies for alteration of subsurface permeability/ground improvement
  • erosion of bentonite buffer and backfill material in engineered barrier systems
  • influence of soil microstructure on macroscopic behaviour (e.g. collapsible soils) and hydro-mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils

 Neil Ferguson

  • travel behaviour, the role of land use regulation on travel and location choice and the link between accessibility and health/quality of life
  • quantitative and qualitative choice analysis and GIS applications for transportation

 Andrea Hamilton


  • chemo-mechanics of porous materials which includes cement mineralogy and chemistry
  • design of cements for radioactive waste
  • novel nano-particle cements including 'synthetic' green cements and sustainability
  • stability, fading and cracking in contemporary artworks
Elsa João
  • strategic environmental assessment (SEA)
  • environmental impact assessment (EIA)
  • circular economy
  • enhancement of positive impacts of development
Robert Kalin 
  • environment science and engineering
  • hydrogeology and water resources management for international development
  • biogeochemistry of contaminated land and groundwater (including engineering design of sustainable remediation methods)
  • development of new enhanced in-situ remediation methods
  • palaeohydrology of local to regional scale groundwater systems
  • study of global biogeochemical cycles and climate change
Charles Knapp 
  • water quality determinations
  • wastewater treatment
  • biological indicators of environmental pollution
  • eco-toxicology, bioremediation
  • microcosm/mesocosm experimental toxicology systems
  • microbiological community stability and resilience
  • PPCP (pharmaceutical & personal care products) in the environment
  • antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance in the environment
  • antimicrobial susceptibility assays
  • algal/phytoplankton ecology
Richard Lord 
  • the utilisation of brownfield, derelict, underutilised or neglected urban land and marginal agricultural land for renewable energy, organic waste management, carbon sequestration and the enhanced provision of ecosystem services
  • geology and geochemistry of resources, environmental pollution and waste management
Rebecca Lunn 
  • development of low viscosity grouts for ground improvement and ground sealing. Grouting technologies currently under development include micro-biologically induced mineral precipitation, colloidal silica-based grouts and detectable cement-based grouts that can be imaged post ground injection
  • development of new injection based grouting systems for hydraulic barrier formation in nuclear decommissioning and waste disposal
  • design and performance of bentonite barriers for Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste;
  • the hydro-mechanical behaviour of fractured rocks
  • the influence of faults on groundwater flow systems, with applications in nuclear waste disposal, carbon capture and storage, shale-gas production and conventional hydrocarbon production
  • modelling structural geological uncertainty and its influence on fluid flow in the subsurface
Tracy Morse
  • environmental health in low and middle income countries
  • social determinants of health
  • behaviour change communication
  • water, sanitation and hygiene 
Mike Murray 
  • an examination of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Construction Industry with a particular focus on the behaviour of UK constructors abroad
  • the agenda to improve the Scottish construction industry
  • engineering history and its promulgation amongst undergraduates, resulting in the establishment of a civil engineering book club encouraging students to undertake general reading in this area
  • further teaching & learning innovations include the use of 'storytelling' sessions by students who have undertaken summer placement work
Edoardo Patelli
  • risk assessment, reliability and resilience of critical infrastructure and systems 
  • nuclear safety and probabilistic risk assessment
  • uncertainty quantification and reliable simulation methods including digital twin
  • machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches
  • human reliability analysis and interaction with autonomous systems
  • decision making under deep uncertainty
  • Bayesian approaches (including Bayesian Networks, Bayesian Probabilistic Approach to Structural Health, Model identification)
  • validation and verification
Marcus Perry 
  • on-site and off-site robotic deployment of technology
  • sensor and smart materials development
  • signal processing and damage detection algorithms
Vern Pheonix 
  • environmental chemistry and microbiology
  • bioremediation (capture and remediation of pollutants with bacteria)
  • biofilms and capture/degradation of pollutants in natural and engineered systems
  • imaging of pollutant transport in rocks, soils and biofilms
  • wastewater treatment
  • sustainable urban drainage systems
  • innovations in cleaning urban run-off for domestic and commercial use
  • generation of novel cements by bacteria for civil engineering applications
  • environmental nanotechnology 
Stella Pytharouli 
  • Development of monitoring strategies for Civil Engineering Infrastructure
  • Microseismic and geodetic monitoring of unstable slopes
  • Imaging the subsurface – fault re-activation, fluid pathways
  • Brownfield site investigation
  • Development of methodologies for the analysis of large and noisy data sets
Jo Renshaw 
  • environmental radiochemist who works in decommissioning nuclear sites and clean-up of contaminated soils and waters
Jen Roberts 
  • carbon capture and storage (and other low carbon geoenergy technologies)
  • assessing, perceiving and conceptualising risks - particularly around the subsurface
  • life cycle impact assessment and life cycle design
  • decision-making progresses, including the role of experts and evidence in decision making, and citizen representation in decision making
  • Jen is also co-director of Strathclyde's Global Environmental Monitoring and Policy Centre for Doctoral Training (GeMAP CDT)
 Philippe Sentenac
  • fine fissuring detection in flood defence embankments using geophysics (miniature resistivity arrays and Electromagnetic sensors) and geotechnical sensors (tensiometers, pore pressure transducers)
  • chemical attack of alcohol mixtures on consolidated clay using centrifuge experiments. Optical fiber sensor for distributed pore pressure measurements for slope stability
  • industry-academia partnership in Geophysical site investigation of wind turbines footings and foundations
 Zoe Shipton
  • the 3D structural and permability architecture of faults
  • understanding and communicating geological uncertainty
  • fluid migration through hetrogenous rocks in radioactive waste, shale gas, CCS
  • faults structural controls on seismic events
Stephen Suryasentana
  • offshore wind foundations (monopiles, suction caissons, floating etc.)
  • ground modelling using Bayesian machine learning
  • numerical modelling of soil-structure interaction
  • thermodynamically-consistent soil constitutive modelling
 Christine Switzer
  • contaminant fate, transport and remediation
  • contaminated land and water
  • organic contaminants
  • non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs)
  • source zone characterisation
  • emerging contaminants
Alessandro Tarantino
  • hydro-mechanical behaviour of soil in partially saturated states and the response of geostructures interacting with climate.  This includes fundamental aspects of partially saturated soil behaviour, development of suitable equipment for laboratory and in-situ testing, and application of partially saturated soil mechanics to engineering practice (stability of natural and artificial slopes, foundation subsidence, tunnel face stability, nuclear waste engineered barrier)
Enrico Tubaldi 
  • structural analysis
  • seismic control of structures by means of isolation/energy dissipation devices
  • seismic vulnerability and risk assessment of structures and infrastructures
  • flood risk assessment of bridges
Andrew Ward
  • biosensors to detect the bacteria and associated small molecules
  • design and development of electrochemical instruments for low-cost use and application in low/middle-income countries
  • remote and distributed sensing  to detect harmful compounds/organisms in the environment
  • application of biosensors and low-cost instrumentation for the detection of pathogens in farming and agriculture
  • pother sensing applications where remote electrochemical instrumentation is needed
Christopher White
  • flood risk, hydrology and climate resilience
  • nature-based flood risk management
  • natural hazards risk management, uncertainty and decision-making
  • multi-hazards and compound extremes


Prateek Dhir, PhD student
For effective completion of PhD, it's necessary to have a healthy interaction with your supervisor, a good research facility and academic support. I am lucky enough to have all of these at Strathclyde.
Prateek Kumar Dhir
PhD student
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Support & development

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert 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:

  • knowledge and intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • personal qualities to succeed in your research and chosen career
  • 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 PgCert RPD programme.


The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

Our research

We're the only engineering department in Scotland, and one of only three civil engineering departments in the UK, to hold an Athena SWAN silver award. The award recognises our 'commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.'

We have strong links with industry, including input from high-profile visiting professors. We have an active industrial advisory board and we offer a varied seminar series, which includes speakers from industry. We work closely with academics and industry to produce world-leading publications.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow

Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree at Strathclyde?

Read our step-by-step guide on how to submit your application.

How to apply
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Entry requirements

We look for a first-class or upper second-class 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 (this is mandatory for PhD, MPhil and MRes applicants)

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

Note for MRes Applicants:

Research Statement (Mandatory): The content and structure of this statement is largely up to you, but it should communicate why you want to do an MRes, why you want to do this MRes programme, and why you are a suitable candidate. It can also be helpful to outline how you meet the application criteria, your career aspirations, and an indication of the research topic or topic area you are interested to pursue (and any potential supervisor(s) that you have identified). We cannot process your application without your research statement.

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. Let us know in your application who you'd like to work with, 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 are unable to supervise, it's passed along to another for consideration. If they can supervise you, they’ll 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.

When you accept our offer of study, you'll receive 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 students

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

International students

An ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for some postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology.

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.

Please note that applications to the Student Excellence Award scheme are now closed for the Engineering Faculty. The scheme is expected to open again in October 2021, for entry in academic year 2022/23

Apply now

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Contact us

Morag McIntosh

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2827


James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3277