Laboratory Researcher Looking At Flask of Green Liquid 1600x600

Chemical & Process EngineeringYour Postgraduate Research (PhD)

The Department of Chemical & Process Engineering at Strathclyde is one of the biggest Chemical Engineering departments in the UK. Strathclyde has been teaching Chemical Engineering since 1924 and is recognised for its leading and internationally excellent research.

Why Strathclyde?

  • the Department has an excellent reputation for its research output and its close links with industry
  • access to state-of-the-art facilities including the new Technology and Innovation Centre (formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2015)
  • access to ARCHIE-West, the £1.6million high-performance computing cluster (3500 core, 38 Tflops peak performance)
  • access to the Engineering Faculty’s new £3 million Advanced Materials Lab
  • support from renowned academics specialised in the fields of nanomaterials, continuous crystallisation, non-invasive process monitoring and electrochemistry
  • an opportunity to take part in the Department’s public outreach and tutoring activities
  • a thriving international community of PhD students in the heart of Scotland’s most vibrant city

PhD overview

We offer experimental and computational Postgraduate Research programmes which normally consist of 36 months’ research.  All our PhD students work on specialist projects where they can critically evaluate current problems faced by scientists and industry, proposing novel and innovative solutions.

Our research themes include:

These themes are interdisciplinary, often involving collaboration across several Engineering and Science departments, and are supported by underpinning strengths in multi-scale modelling, complex fluid rheology, and optical and adsorption measurement. Our research is recognised as being of key strategic importance at both national and international level in the quest to meet the challenges of energy provision, healthcare and nutrition.

85% of our students agreed that they were satisfied with the overall experience of the research degree programme (Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) 2021)



During your PhD, you will work closely alongside a supervisor who is an expert in your chosen research field. Research supervisors are assigned to you by the Department of Chemical & Process Engineering. You can let us know with whom you would like to work at the time when you apply for your PhD, but we can also match you with the best supervisor for your project based on your research interests.

94% of our students agreed that their supervisor/s have the skills and subject knowledge to support their research (PRES 2021)


PhD student progression review

The duration of the PhD programme is normally 36 months. During this period, you will meet regularly with your supervisor, and undergo formal progress reviews each year, which are evaluated by independent assessors. The programme culminates the submission of a PhD thesis which must represent a significant contribution to knowledge.

PhD viva voce process 

Once you have submitted your thesis you will be invited to defend your doctorate at a ‘viva voce' oral examination. You will have a chance to discuss your PhD research with genuinely interested experts, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your completed work. You will receive guidance how to strengthen different sections of our thesis. If you defend your thesis to the satisfaction of the examiners, implementing any corrections that they request, then you will be awarded the PhD degree.

Your transferable skills

Studying for a Strathclyde PhD is about more than just training in research: we also aim to help our PhD students to reach their full potential and gain highly valued transferable skills.

Transferable skills are skills that you can take with you from one situation to another, and include:

  • research and analytical skills
  • problem solving
  • team work
  • numeracy and literacy skills
  • communication and presentation skills
  • time management and working to deadlines
  • entrepreneurship
  • public engagement activities, including the ReallySmallScience group

88% of our students agreed that their ability to communicate information effectively to diverse audiences has developed during the research programme (PRES 2021)


Strathclyde is committed to planning, promoting and supporting the personal, professional and career development of researchers. The University asks PhD students to work towards a formal Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development that articulates the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes required of researchers, with students being encouraged to aspire to excel through achieving higher levels of development.

91% of our students agreed their skills in applying appropriate research methodologies, tools and techniques have developed during the research programme (PRES 2021)


By attending skills training courses aimed at postgraduates and post-doctoral researchers, you will earn credits towards a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) that can be awarded in addition to your PhD degree. Credits will be awarded for undertaking a wide range of activities that will enhance the skills required by researchers to perform effectively in any particular research and development setting.

Once sufficient credits for researcher training courses have been accumulated and approved, the postgraduate certificate in researcher professional development will be awarded. 

Studying here

Find out what it's like to study at Strathclyde as an international student:



Meet our students