Postgraduate research

We have a thriving PhD community of around 100 full time and part time UK, EU and international research students. You will be supervised by staff who are internationally recognised as experts in their field and you will have access to the world class facilities you need to complete your studies. If you would rather do an MPhil, then we also offer these full-time or part-time.

About our PhDs

A PhD is a globally recognised postgraduate academic degree which is based on extensive and original research in your chosen field. It is usually assessed by a thesis at the end of the study period. They are normally undertaken over 3 years full-time or 5 years part-time.

A large number of PhDs are sponsored by the university, businesses, research bodies and other organisations. It is possible to self-fund your PhD as well.

MPhil degrees usually take two years full-time or three years part-time. Students critically investigate and evaluate an area which contributes to and demonstrates a critical appreciation of existing knowledge in the subject. They must also demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to that area.

Following satisfactory completion of their first year of supervised research, students' registration is confirmed for PhD or MPhil. All PhD and MPhil candidates must present and defend a substantial thesis to the satisfaction of examiners.

We welcome PhD or MPhil applications to study topics related to any of the research undertaken within the School. An overview of our expertise can be found on this page under the ' Areas of Research Expertise' tab, for more information about what these research areas are and the people involved, please see our research pages.

At Loughborough Design School we welcome applications from students who are interested in any aspect of design or ergonomics.

A student who wishes to study for a PhD or MPhil usually has a strong interest and skill in a particular area of design or ergonomics 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. We welcome applications from all suitably qualified UK, EU and International students.

You can do a PhD or MPhil either full-time or part-time.

We are very flexible with part-time students, and you can study whilst also working. Part-time study options are also available for those students based abroad, so long as you are able to spend several weeks per year based at the Design School.

As a full time student you would normally be based within the School. This provides you with the opportunity to study within the School, access your tutors and get support from other students in a similar situation.

As standard each PhD student will receive -

  • Financial support to attend conferences
  • Your own desk and office storage within our purpose built building
  • A computer which meets your requirements
  • Access to a wide range of state-of-the-art design and ergonomics facilities and tools
  • Ability to use meeting rooms and study spaces as and when required
  • Support through student led initiatives
  • The opportunity to become an integral part of an innovative and exciting community of students, academic staff and researchers
  • Regular School research seminars
  • Access to training courses to support your research
  • The possibility to help support undergraduate teaching
  • Participation in the annual Design School research conference

100% of our PhD graduates from 2011 – 2014 are in employment or further study.

Doing a PhD or MPhil does not necessarily lead to a career in academia. Some of our students use their PhD to advance their career in industry, bringing a higher level of knowledge and varied skillset to their job. It is recognised worldwide as demonstrating expertise in a particular area.

Example jobs

  • Area Manager - Business Development
  • Design Researcher
  • Experience Design Consultant
  • Footwear Designer
  • Human Factors Researcher
  • Industrial Designer
  • Lecturer
  • Physiologist
  • Product / Service Consultant
  • Project Manager
  • Research Associate
  • Research Fellow
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Specialised Education Staff

Example employers

  • Amorim Cork Composites
  • DCA Design International
  • Deloitte
  • Hisense Communication Co
  • Loughborough University
  • NHS
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Optimal Performance Ltd
  • Oxford University
  • Polytechnic Malaysia – Malaysia
  • Royal College of Art
  • University de los Andes, Mechanical Engineering Department
  • University of Cyprus – Cyprus
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Worcester

Our academic staff are internationally renowned experts in their fields. These staff bring a diverse mix of specialisms and backgrounds to the School which our PhD students benefit from immensely. The Design School is all about using design to change the world for the better.

We have a wide range of expertise, including the following: 

  • Sustainable Design
  • Service Design
  • Social Innovation
  • 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
  • Medical applications of 3D printing
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Archaeological applications of 3D scanning
  • Additively Manufactured textiles
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Design for happiness
  • Sustainable societies and lifestyles
  • Systematic thinking
  • Vehicle seating design
  • Driving ergonomics and health
  • Ageing at work
  • Inclusive Design
  • Universal Design
  • Participative design methods, including Co-Design
  • Construction health and safety
  • Environmental ergonomics
  • Crash investigation and analysis
  • Transport safety / road safety
  • Vehicle design
  • Industrial / Product Design
  • New Product Development
  • Design ethics
  • Digital human modelling
  • Workplace design
  • 3D laser scanning and reverse engineering
  • Product personalisation and customisation
  • Designing for emotion
  • UX design
  • Interfaces and usability
  • Eye tracking techniques
  • Design education
  • Sports Clothing 

Find out more