Mechanical and Design Engineering postgraduate research degrees

engineering student testing wing in wind tunnel

Postgraduate research in mechanical & Design Engineering

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in Mechanical & Design Engineering

If you're ready to take your existing expertise and knowledge in Mechanical and Design Engineering into a postgraduate research degree, Portsmouth is the perfect place to do it.

From the phone in your pocket, to the train you take on your morning commute, much of everyday life relies on the work of engineers.

Our current research in Mechanical and Design Engineering searches for creative and practical engineering solutions to some of society's most-pressing issues – and when you join us to study for a postgraduate research degree, you'll have the opportunity to make your own contribution to the pioneering work we're doing, and play a part in transforming our research into impact.

Our students are already making a positive difference through their research – recent projects include using artificial intelligence to improve powered wheelchairs, creating more efficient solar panels, supporting clinicians at the local hospital, enhancing medical devices, and developing new lightweight manufacturing materials.

And in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), we were ranked as the 3rd best new university in this area, with 61% of our research outputs rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil, and PhD by Publication opportunities in Mechanical and Design Engineering below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

Mechanical & Design Engineering PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Mechanical and Design Engineering, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD and MPhil projects

Submit your own idea

If you already have a research idea, find a supervisor whose research interests match yours by searching our Find a PhD Supervisor page. Once you've identified someone suitable, contact them to discuss your idea.

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6-12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover?

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 78% of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in REF 2014
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my research degree cost?

2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start)

 PhD and MPhil

  • Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*
  • Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a*
  • International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*
  • International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*

PhD by Publication

  • External candidates: £4,407 p/a*
  • Members of University of Portsmouth staff: £1,720 p/a

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.  

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan.

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan.

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

We have facilities to carry out mechanical testing including tensile testing, fatigue, impact in a temperature controlled environment, and we're equipped with a large suite of 3D printers including a multi material 3D printer and a laser sintering machine. We also have a water jet cutter, a 5 axis CNC machine and can perform 3D X-ray investigation, su-micron resolution (voxel size 70nm), via the Zeiss Xradia 510 Versa and the 520 Versa.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in Mechanical and Design Engineering by completing our online form. 

October (2021 start)

February (2022 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our two areas of research expertise in Mechanical Engineering.

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