Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering MPhil, PhD

Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
Entry requirements:
2:1 + or a master's
3 years (PhD), 2 years (MPhil)
6 years (PhD), 4 years (MPhil)
Start date:
January, April, July, October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



in the UK for Building Engineering

The Times Good University Guide 2017


in the UK for Building

The Complete University Guide 2018


in the UK for Civil Engineering

The Times Good University Guide 2017


One of four Royal Academy of Engineering designated Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering is home to a thriving community of over 60 academic staff, 40 technical and clerical support staff and over 240 active researchers that include Fellows, Associates, Assistants, Engineers and Doctoral Students.

Research is one of the founding blocks of our mission to advance knowledge and transform lives.

Committed to excellence and impact, we provide an environment where our academics and postgraduate researchers can excel, develop knowledge and understanding to build the societies of the future.

We are a world leading centre for transdisciplinary research in civil infrastructure engineering, transport and water and waste management and an internationally recognised centre of excellence in building energy demand. Many of our research outputs are created for, and in partnership with, industrial collaborators to ensure demonstrable impacts on policy and practice worldwide.

Our world-class teaching and research are integrated to support the technical and commercial needs of both industry and society. A key part of our ethos is our extensive links with industry resulting in our graduates being extremely sought after by industry and commerce worldwide.

Our PhD students play a vital role in our world-leading research activities. Drawing from our excellent record in attracting research funds (currently standing at over £19 million), the focal point of the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering is innovative, industry-relevant research. This continues to nurture and refresh our long history of working closely with industrial partners on novel collaborative research and informs our ongoing innovative teaching and extensive enterprise activities. This is further complemented by our outstanding record of doctoral supervision which has provided, on average, a PhD graduate from the School every two weeks.

Entry requirements

A good undergraduate degree (2:1 minimum) or a master’s degree.

IELTS: overall 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component.


You will benefit from access to our excellent facilities, including our 3,000m2 laboratory facilities, and High Performance computing facility – one of the UK’s fastest clusters. We have recently invested £6 million in building expansion and development, which includes new dedicated study areas and computer resources.

These large-scale facilities are complimented by a suite of workshops and supported by a team of technicians trained in woodwork, plastics, metal-work, mechanical systems and electronics.

Our PhD students are based in the Research Hub, a vibrant hot-desking facility that encourages collaborative research. An active ‘Hub Committee’ organises training and social events for all research students.

Research areas


Our part-time (6 year) PhD programme is tailor-made for practitioner architects wishing to explore an original research topic while remaining in practice. Unlike some practice-related PhD models, our programme does not involve the submission of an extended piece of self-reflective commentary by an architect on his or her previous built work and designs. Instead of this passive approach we take an active one, which involves:

  1. an architect creating new, research-led work while in practice;
  2. critical reflection and analysis of this in written and practical form;
  3. presentation and defence of this work via the ‘design critiques’ typical of architectural pedagogy and practice

You can find further details here - Practice-based Architecture PhD.

Building Energy Demand

We focus on measurement and modelling to produce healthy, high quality indoor environments, with lower energy demand and CO2 emissions. It is organised in two sub-themes: Performance Measurement and Building Physics; and Modelling and Optimisation.

Construction Technology and Organisation

We have the UK’s longest established research group specialising in the efficiency and performance of construction processes, products and organisations.

The sub-themes are: Products and Processes; and Projects and Organisation. This research includes the performance and wellbeing of people, building sustainability, and building information modelling. The opportunities in this area are set to increase following new academic appointments in architecture.

Civil Infrastructure Engineering

Our research develops improved methods for modelling, analysing, designing, constructing and monitoring structural and geotechnical infrastructure systems using computational and experimental approaches.


We conduct fundamental, innovative and policy-relevant research in the areas of air transport safety, technology and environmental sustainability.

Civil Engineering – Water and Waste Management

Our research covers water supply, waste management, sanitation and flooding.

Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

WEDC is involved in many aspects of sustainable and resilient infrastructure and essential service delivery, focusing on sanitation and water in an international context. Some research is primarily concerned with technology while other projects deal with sociological, economic and management factors.

The London-Loughborough (LoLo) EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand

The LoLo Centre is a collaboration between the UK’s leading energy research universities: Loughborough University and University College London. The Centre offers both fees and stipends to top graduates from engineering, science and related disciplines for a four-year MRes and PhD programme. Full details, including how to apply, can be found on the LoLo website:

Your personal and professional development

Support from your supervisor

All research students are provided with two supervisors with expertise in the selected research area and a Director of Research Programmes to provide additional guidance and pastoral support, as well as opportunities to consult any other members of academic staff if appropriate. You will also be provided with a laptop, access to our laboratory facilities, technician support and access to funds for travel and conference attendance.

Skills and experience

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.

In addition to the University’s extensive training provision, you’ll also attend training courses to support your research and professional/personal development, with opportunities to support undergraduate teaching through employment as tutorial/lab assistants.

Future career prospects

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • AECOM, Associate Director
  • MWH Global, Water Engineer
  • Kuwait Airport, Mechanical Engineer, Directorate General of Civil Aviation
  • Roads and Highways Department, Government of Bangladesh, Executive Engineer.

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 School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering in the hope of finding a supervisor who will work with you on your dream project.

Prospective students should provide an up-to-date CV and a research proposal, which is a summary of their proposed area of research (approximately 500 words). The research proposal should include their research interests, initial thoughts on a topic, references to previous work, and the methodology and general approach they wish to take.

Students should also indicate how the research would make an original contribution to knowledge. If you do not have a firm research proposal it is still important to provide as much information as possible including possible topic areas and intended sources of funding.