Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering MPhil, PhD

Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering
Entry requirements:
2:1 +
3 years (PhD), 2 years (MPhil)
6 years (PhD), 4 years (MPhil)
Start date:
January, April, July, October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



nationally for research quality

REF 2014


£17m STEMLab facility


in the UK for Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

The Complete University Guide 2018


Our reputation for pioneering and topical research is built on a long and successful history with aeronautical and automotive engineering. With programmes dating back to 1919, our reputation for research has been built on nearly 100 years of excellence.

In our Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering department we have 37 academic staff and nearly 150 postgraduate students on taught and research programmes. We aim to deliver world-class research across a range of engineering, technology and science activity essential to the fast paced Aeronautical and Automotive industry.

In our Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering Department, we have four major research groups working across the technologies of automotive and aeronautical engineering. Each group works on a variety of research topics. These range from the development of new low emissions combustion systems for gas turbine engines through to fundamental investigations into the operation of hydrogen powered fuel cells.

We have an impressive number of strategic partnerships within the sector, which aim to bridge the gap between between academia and industry. We host the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Combustion System Aerothermal Processes and the Caterpillar Innovation and Research Centre (IRC) in engine systems.

Entry requirements

Good degree in engineering, mathematics or science, equivalent of a 2:1 or 1st classification.

IELTS: overall 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component.

Our facilities

Our extensive range of first-class facilities are designed to help students throughout their studies and fully-equip them for their future endeavours. Our £14M state-of-the-art facilities include laboratories, workshops, wind-tunnels, a flight simulator and a technical display area with a recently retired military aircraft.

Loughborough University's outstanding new STEMLab is adjacent to the Department, and offers first-class engineering, science and materials laboratories, forming a truly cutting-edge learning environment for our postgraduate students.

Research areas

Aerodynamics and Flight Research

This includes the Rolls-Royce UTC working on experimental and computational studies of gas turbine combustion systems to reduce emissions, the Ground Vehicle Aerodynamics Research Group working with Jaguar Land Rover on drag reduction for future road vehicles, and the Centre for Autonomous Systems working with BAE Systems and DSTL on the challenges of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Low Carbon Vehicles

Research focuses primarily on low carbon vehicles, propulsion systems and autonomous transport.

Experimental and computational studies and research that leads to enhanced understanding relevant to the industry is supported by Caterpillar, Ford Motor Company, AVL and Jaguar Land Rover.

The main aim is to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce emissions (including CO2). This is supported by advanced research on mapping and calibration of hybrid powertrains as well as on fluid flow and combustion modelling. We have had successes in combustion of sustainable fuels, exhaust after-treatment systems, ultra-low emission combustion systems, fuel cells, battery technology and super-capacitor research for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Centres for Doctoral Training

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) integrate three years of PhD study with one year of research training and have strong industrial links. The Department participates in three centres:

  • Gas Turbine Aerodynamics, in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.
  • Embedded Intelligence, in partnership with Heriot Watt University.
  • Fuel Cells and Their Fuels, in partnership with the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham, Imperial College London and University College London.

Your personal and professional development

Support from your supervisor

You will be assigned a supervisory team who, together with the Director of Doctoral Programmes, provides academic and pastoral support. Training and departmental seminars will help you to develop your skills, and you will be expected to present your own research papers. You will be provided with your own desk and computer in a shared departmental office, with access to library and IT facilities.

Skills and experience

Each of our programmes provides students with the skills and knowledge required to face the challenges of today's built environment and develop a better quality of life for people in the future.

A PhD programme will give you the opportunity to develop new and highly sought after skills which can set you up for a range of careers. It’s a chance to make a novel contribution to knowledge, to become a world expert in a particular field, and it can open a range of doors with different employers. You'll also enhance your interpersonal skills, such as networking and relationship building, which will be invaluable in your future career.

Future career prospects

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace
  • Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Lotus Engineering
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Singapore Institute of Technology
  • Imperial College London
  • Loughborough University.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Who you'll be working with

How to apply

If you can't find a suitable PhD opportunity that fits your interests and experience from our funded (studentships) and unfunded opportunities, you can submit a research proposal to the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering in the hope of finding a supervisor who will work with you on your dream project.

A student who wishes to study for a PhD or MPhil with us usually has a strong interest and skill in a particular area of aeronautical and automotive engineering that they feel they could expand their knowledge in.

Some PhDs are used to explore or discover new things, others are used to disprove/ confirm theories or to expand a discovery or idea.

You should indicate the research group you would like to study with, and preferably the member(s) of staff whose research area is of most interest.

A detailed research proposal explaining what you would like to research and the question you intend to answer can be included with your application, but is not necessary.