Chemical Engineering MPhil, PhD

Chemical 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


in the UK for Chemical Engineering

The Times Good University Guide 2017


£17m STEMLab facility


Our Department of Chemical Engineering is a highly active, research intensive community of more than 20 full-time academic staff plus research students, post-doctoral research fellows and visitors from all over the world.

Chemical Engineers are fantastically well-placed to tackle some of the global challenges facing us over the next 50 years. We have a strong and growing research programme with world-class research activities and facilities, focusing on industry’s and society’s needs; for instance the commercial production of stem cells, disinfection of hospital wards, novel drug delivery methods, advanced water treatment and continuous manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

We work closely with other University departments in multidisciplinary research as well as with industry and with researchers in universities worldwide. Our research is split into several key themes, and in recognition of our cutting edge research expertise, we have recently been selected as a lead partner in the EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Regenerative Medicine.

We have an enterprising culture within the Department through our successful industrial collaborations, spin-out companies and knowledge transfer partnerships. We have close working relationships with major companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and process industries, including AstraZeneca, BP, British Sugar, Carlsberg, E.ON, Exxon, GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo and Unilever to name but a few.

We attract over £3 million annually of research income, and have almost 50 PhD studentsworking on projects of global importance.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent.

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.

We have excellent quality laboratories and services for both bench and pilot scale work, complemented by first-rate computational and IT resources, and supported by mechanical and electronic workshops.

Research areas

Biological Engineering and Healthcare

Our focus is on biological engineering, lying at the interface between engineering and life sciences and covering aspects of regenerative medicine such as how to scale up production of stem cells. We also have expertise in environmental decontamination processes that are used in hospitals and we are developing novel drug delivery and healthcare diagnostic systems.

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering

Our focus is on modern catalysis for the production of industrial chemicals, application of photocatalytic reaction engineering for water treatment, as well as environmental treatment technology.

Energy and Environmental Engineering

Topics include the development of technology to produce clean fuels including biofuel, hydrogen storage and transportation, water and air pollution control technologies, CO2 capture, storage and utilisation, and computational modelling of contaminant dispersion in both liquid and gas phases.

Nano- and Micro-materials Engineering

Our expertise in particle technology has evolved into nano- and micro-engineering of particles and materials, with regard to their manufacture, formulation and dispersion. We are also using microfluidics for these applications.

Pharmaceutical Engineering

Research addresses the emerging problems of continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals with special emphasis on the crystallisation, formulation and administration of active pharmaceutical products as well as the development of novel healthcare engineering approaches.

Separation and Purification Technology

We conduct research in adsorption, filtration, ion exchange and membrane separations.

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 and/or clinical links as appropriate.

The Department participates in the following centre:

  • Regenerative Medicine, in partnership with Keele University and the University of Nottingham

Your personal and professional development

Support from your supervisor

As a research student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, you will be supported by a supervisory team – usually comprising a lead academic member of staff with support from a second colleague (both with complementary expertise in your selected area of research). You will also receive support from the technical team in the laboratory.

Skills and experience

As a research student in the Department of Chemical Engineering you will have the opportunity to not only become an independent researcher but create a lasting network of peers. Attendance at relevant conferences is encouraged with bursaries for travel made available on a competitive basis. The Department also runs a seminar programme throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to practice presenting your own work as well as hearing from other experts in your field, as well as workshops to focus on engineering-specific skills.

Future career prospects

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Lecturer
  • Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Lecturer
  • University of Leeds, Lecturer
  • University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Pakistan, Assistant Professor
  • Advanced Medical Solutions Ltd, Process Engineer
  • Retroscreen, Research Scientist
  • Principal Scientist, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

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.

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 Chemical Engineering in the hope of finding a supervisor who will work with you on your dream project.

You must provide a one page research proposal of up to 500 words describing the type of work you wish to undertake for your PhD research. The proposal should explain your motivation for the research, as well as the general methods that could be employed, for example using numerical, theoretical or experimental methods.

Ideally, the proposal should be aligned with the research interests of an academic member of staff in the Department.