Engineers on a yellow oil rig 1600x600

PhD, MPhil, MResCivil & environmental engineering

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 we work closely with industry and government, ensuring 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.

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, or get in touch with us at to discuss your own project ideas.

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:

Industrial Doctorate

For applicants looking to do a work-based PhD, the Faculty of Engineering’s Industrial Doctorate Programme allows you 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.


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.

2019/20 entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Scotland/ EU

  • £4,327

Rest of UK

  • £4,327

International students

  • £20,050


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

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.

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. Take a look at some of our potential supervisors.

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 (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.


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.

Find out more about the PG Cert RPD programme.


We have a great careers service 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 loads of different support for all students here at our University. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

Find out more about our civil & environmental engineering research