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School of Mechanical Engineering

Research degrees

Research Degrees - School of Mechanical Engineering - University of Leeds


In the most recent UK Government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the School achieved an impressive 75% of research activity rated internationally excellent or world leading confirming our status as one of the leading international departments for mechanical engineering.

We have a track record of delivering high-quality research to solve real world problems with particular expertise in: engineering systems and design; thermofluids, surfaces and interfaces; medical devices and regenerative medicine.

Our research is well funded, to the level of £7.5 million per annum, with funding
from a variety of sources including UK Research Councils, the European Union, charities, government agencies and industry.

Research activity within the school is organised into three research institutes
Institute of Design, Robotics & Optimisation
Institute of Functional Surfaces
Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
Institute of Thermofluids

We place a strong emphasis on the transfer of knowledge to industry and technology transfer organisations. This takes the form of licences, spin-out activities, IP filings, consultancies, conference organization and training through short courses. We have strong collaborative links with other schools within the University of Leeds, as well as with other academic institutes and industry around the world.

Our research excellence, high levels of funding and strong industrial connections ensures that we can invest in the best staff and research facilities. This means you will be supervised by world-renowned academics at the cutting edge of their discipline who will challenge, encourage and support you.

School research brochure:

Research degrees

Research degree programmes have the objectives of training students in the skills and techniques of conducting research, developing understanding and enthusiasm for a selected research topic, and accelerating the development of a mature, critical and self-motivated approach to the acquisition and application of specialist knowledge.

Our international reputation for research makes this an ideal place to pursue a research degree, whether as preparation for a research career in industry or as the start of an academic career.

We offer two types of research degree:

• Masters by Research (MSc Eng Res) - 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
• Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - 3 years full-time or 5 years part-time

A PhD is the most internationally recognised research qualification, and is the most commonly pursued research degree as Leeds.

In all cases you are expected to carry out a programme of research in a particular area under the supervision of a primary supervisor and one or more co-supervisors. Supervisors are usually staff within the school however co-supervisors may be from another discipline, another institution or even industry depending on the project and funding source.

You are assessed at the end of your first year (second year for part-time students) through a report and oral examination; successful completion enables progression into the remaining years. At the end of the programme you will prepare a thesis which describes your research and your original contribution to knowledge; the thesis is assessed by oral examination

Once registered specific training needs will be identified and suitable courses recommended. You will also have access to a broad programme of skills training and professional development to help you complete your research effectively and to keep you at the leading edge of developments in learning and teaching, innovation, enterprise and knowledge transfer to help you succeed in future employment.

During the later stages of your study you will be expected to give seminars and write papers for scientific journals and conferences.

Postgraduate research brochure: Download

Entry requirements

We would normally expect applicants for postgraduate research to have achieved one of the following in a subject relevant to the proposed research:

- a first or good upper second class honours degree (or equivalent from an overseas University),
- a good performance in a Masters level course.

We also recognise relevant industrial and academic experience and special circumstances in the consideration of applicants.

English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you are required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. You will need to meet our minimum requirements for one of the following recognised English language tests: the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

- IELTS: 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in listening, reading, speaking and writing.
- TOEFL (Internet based test): 87 overall with at least 20 in listening and reading, 22 in speaking and 21 in writing.

More information about English language qualifications is available from Research Student Administration.


Fees for 2014/15
UK/EU – £3,975
International - £16,500

Fees for 2015/16
UK/EU – £4,100
International - £17,500

You are classified as either a ‘UK/EU’ or ‘international’ student for the purpose of assessing tuition fees. International students will pay a higher fee than UK students as the fees for UK and EU students are subsidised by the UK government.

When to pay
Fees must be paid in full before you can register as a postgraduate student, unless you will be paying for yourself. If you are self-supporting you can pay fees in two instalments, the first payable at registration. If you are supported by your government, employer, or other sponsor, you should provide a letter from them addressed to the University, confirming that the fees will be paid directly. Sponsors cannot pay by instalments. For further information visit the University's website.

Scholarships and funding
Postgraduate research study is a major investment in your future, but there is support available to help ease the financial pressure.

The University and external funding bodies, such as Research Councils, offer a range of scholarships to UK, EU and international students that cover full or partial course fees, and/ or maintenance payments. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and are very competitive, so it is important you make enquiries and apply to all relevant sources as early as possible.

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships
- Scholarships for UK/EU students
- Scholarships for International students

Formal applications for research degree study should be made on-line via the 'I want to apply' page on the Research Student Administration website.

Please complete the application form as fully as you can ensuring you complete the following sections:

- your expected source of funding
- grade(s) or degree classification(s) for your degree-level qualifications
- your proposed research area
- a brief one-paragraph summary of your research interests or proposed topic

We cannot normally consider your application without this information.

Please also ensure you upload or provide the following documents:

- copies of your degree certificate(s)
- transcripts of marks achieved in degree-level qualifications
- evidence of English language qualifications
- references if available (alternatively, the Faculty will contact your named academic referees directly)

If these documents are not available, please provide them at the earliest opportunity, as we cannot usually make an offer without them.

If possible, please include a CV (this will provide invaluable information as to work experience and publications) and a research proposal unless you are applying for a specific project studentship.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) and Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
Non EU/EEA nationals planning to undertake postgraduate study in the UK in certain science, engineering or technology disciplines need to acquire an ATAS certificate and a CAS before they can apply for a Visa, Entry Clearance (EC) or Extension of Stay (EoS). More information is available on the 'I want to apply' page on the Research Student Administration website.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office, e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.