Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Qualification(s) available: PhD

Entry requirements
3 years (PhD)
6 years
Start date
1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October
UK fee
To be confirmed
International fee


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, and develop knowledge and understanding to build the societies of the future.

We are a world-leading integrated centre for built environment research and education spanning civil infrastructure engineering, transport, digital transformation in construction and water and waste management. 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 highly sought after by industry and commerce worldwide.

Our PhD students play a vital role in our world-leading research activities. Drawing on 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.

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Why you should choose us

Where you'll study

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.

Research Hub

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.

UKCRIC Laboratory of Modern Methods of Infrastructure Delivery and Maintenance (LM3D)

We are delighted to announce that Loughborough University is taking the lead on £1.3 million of investment by the UK government in infrastructure delivery and maintenance. LM3D adds entirely new capabilities to UKCRIC around modern methods of delivery and maintenance of infrastructure. This will enable numerous research opportunities around the themes of infrastructure resilience to environmental and usage change and emissions reductions.

LM3D will position Loughborough and the UK at the forefront of the discipline internationally. New equipment will permit flexible mould bed, free-form pressing and injection, as well as upgrading the existing large-scale 3D printing robotics capability. In addition, LM3D will consist of new equipment to support modern methods of inspection, maintenance and repair, including robotic manipulation. Both areas will be underpinned by a metrology and visualisation suite.

Our research


Lu-Arc welcomes research proposals on a wide breadth of architectural topics, especially around our strengths of building structures and materials, digital fabrication, adaptable architecture, history and theory, and urbanism and heritage. We also invite practising architects with exciting research agendas to join our new practice-based PhD programme.

Theme leader: Dr Robert Schmidt III

Building Energy

This research group focuses on measurement and modelling to produce healthy, high-quality indoor environments with lower energy demand and CO2 emissions. The group’s work falls into three main sub themes: building components, high performance building engineering and policy development.

Theme leader: Dr Steven Firth

Construction Management

One of the UK’s longest established research groups specialising in delivering innovative solutions that enhance the construction, operation and maintenance of complex buildings and infrastructure. Its sub-themes are digitisation, whole life value and asset management, and procurement and project delivery. This research includes the performance and well-being of people, building sustainability and building information modelling.

Theme leader: Dr Peter Demian

Geotechnics and Geomatics

Research in this area develops novel engineering solutions for sustainable and resilient infrastructure including geotechnical infrastructure asset management and geohazards for the built environment. This includes topics such as slope stability and the effects of climate change.

Theme leader: Dr Paul Fleming

Structures and Materials

Research in this area covers practical and theoretical approaches in the areas of resilient infrastructure and cities, sustainability and advancement of digital technologies. This includes greener concretes, more efficient structural design solutions, digital manufacture, intelligent automation and methods for determining the performance of engineering structures against blast, earthquake, fire and wind.


This group conducts fundamental, innovative and policy-relevant research in the areas of autonomous vehicles, sustainable transport solutions and smart cities and data analytics.

Theme leader: Professor Mohammed Quddus

Water Engineering

Research in this area covers hydrodynamics, hydrology, disaster and risk management, water treatment and the development of sustainable and resilient water infrastructure, including management and policy.

Theme leader: Professor Graham Sander

Centres for Doctoral Training

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) integrate PhD research and an enhanced research training package into a four-year integrated programme. The School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering currently participates in two centres:

  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Resilience (WaterWISER), in partnership with Leeds and Cranfield universities.
  • EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and Built Environment, in partnership with University College London and MaREI Research Centre (Ireland).

Your development

Support from your supervisor

All doctoral researchers are provided with two supervisors with expertise in the selected research area and a Director of Doctoral Programmes to provide additional guidance and pastoral support. You will also be provided with a laptop, access to our laboratory facilities, technician support, and access to funds for travel and conference attendance. You will attend training courses to support your research and professional and personal development, with opportunities to support undergraduate teaching through employment as tutorial/ laboratory assistants.

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 will also enhance your interpersonal skills, such as networking and relationship building, which will be invaluable in your future career.

Our extensive training provision, supported by the Doctoral College, will also enhance your skills and experience as a researcher. These include training courses to support your research and professional/personal development, opportunities to support undergraduate teaching through employment as tutorial/lab assistants, and the Doctoral College’s Café Academiques, research conference and Summer Showcase.

Your future career

Recent graduate destinations include:

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

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the dropdown below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

A 2:1 honours degree or master's degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a related discipline.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and funding

UK fee

Full-time degree per annum
To be confirmed

International fee

Full-time degree per annum

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. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

Find out more about research degree funding

How to apply

If you can't find an advertised project that fits your interests and experiences, you can submit a research proposal to the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering to find a supervisor who will work with you on your project. You can view our list of academic staff on our School website or you can email us for guidance.

You will need to 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 your research interests, initial thoughts on a topic, references to previous work, and the methodology and general approach you wish to take. Further information on preparing your proposal can be found here.

You 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.You are strongly recommended to contact us before applying to discuss your topic, availability and funding.

Apply now