School of Engineering

MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is awarded for a research study, normally over a three-year period, which makes a significant contribution to knowledge. Candidates must demonstrate that they have made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem in a specific field, the advancement of knowledge, or the generation of new ideas.

Candidates normally register for Master of Philosophy (MPhil) with the expectation of transfer to the PhD programme upon acceptance of a Transfer document around the one-year point. MPhil (2 years full-time) or Research Masters (ResM/one-year full-time) are also offered for shorter duration research. All research degree can be studied in part-time mode. Remote supervision of overseas students is possible subject to identification of a supervisor local to the candidate.

Key features

Use of unrivalled facilities

  • the nationally important COAST Laboratory
  • the new Marine Station
  • High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster.

Membership of active research groups comprising other research students and staff

Course details

  • Year 1
  • This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.

    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. Even if you already have a masters degree, you will normally be registered as an ‘MPhil/PhD’ candidate and may apply to transfer to ‘PhD’ status around 10–22 months after registration, based on your progress.

    You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of either a written thesis (approximately 80,000 words), and a viva voce (an oral examination).

    For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our postgraduate research degrees pages.

    Core modules
    • GSRCIVI1 Research Civil Engineering

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • GSRCIVI2 Research Civil Engineering

  • Year 3
  • Core modules
    • GSRCIVI3 Research Civil Engineering

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • GSRCIVI4 Research Civil Engineering

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed a masters level qualification to a high standard (e.g. at 'merit' or 'distinction' level) as well as either a good 2:1 or first class honours undergraduate degree in an area of study appropriate to your project proposal. We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications.

If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend you consider applying for our MSc Civil Engineering, MSc Coastal Engineering or MSc Marine Renewable Energy programme.

You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a sample of critical writing, and if relevant, documentation of relevant creative or professional practice.

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

Please complete the online application form.

Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Facilities and resources

From dedicated computer laboratories to a wealth of electronic information, you’ll benefit from a range of facilities and resources that will help your learning and development.

Our facilities include our new £19 million Marine Building and dedicated engineering laboratories equipped with industry standard software.

Find out more about our exceptional civil engineering facilities and resources

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

People

Research degree candidates

Ahmed Alboabidallah (PhD Civil Engineering)
Error Propagation Analysis for Remotely Sensed Aboveground Biomass
Director of studies: Dr John Martin

James Allen (PhD Civil Engineering)
Interaction between a wave farm and the ocean through laboratory tests and numerical modelling
Director of studies: Professor Gregorio Iglesias Rodriguez

Sultan Alsofyani (PhD Civil Engineering)
Developing a practice of contract management on construction fields in Saudi Arabia
Director of studies: Dr Andrew Fox

Davide Banfi (PhD Civil Engineering)
A Field and Laboratory Study on the Dynamic Response of the Eddystone Lighthouse to Wave Loading
Director of studies: Dr Alison Raby

Aissa Bouaissi (PhD Civil Engineering)
Development of a new concrete for marine environment using high volume of industrial by-products
Director of studies: Professor Long-yuan Li

Sahar Elaiwi (PhD Civil Engineering)
Analysis and Design of Castellated Beams
Director of studies: Professor Long-yuan Li

KunjieFan (PhD Civil Engineering)
Fire performance assessment of concrete materials with supplemental cementitious materials
Director of studies: Professor Long-yuan Li

Ganlin Feng (PhD Civil Engineering)
Micro-Scale Study of Multi-Component Ionic Transport in Concrete
Director of studies: Professor Long-yuan Li

Rebecca Francis (PhD Civil Engineering)
Prediction of the impact of bio-fouling on efficiency and survivability of marine renewable devices
Director of studies: Dr Martyn Hann

Jessica Guichard (PhD Civil Engineering)
Combined wind and wave loading of floating offshore wind turbine structures
Director of studies: Dr Martyn Hann

Ben Howey (PhD Civil Engineering)
Development of compact WEC arrays trhough laboratory tests and numerical modelling
Director of studies: Professor Deborah Greaves

Robert Jane (PhD Civil Engineering)
Improving the Representation of the Fragility of Coastal Structures
Director of studies: Dr David Simmonds

Jie Ji (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
Fatigue mechanism of floating concrete support structures for offshore wind/wave turbines
Director of studies: Dr Shanshan Cheng

William Mortimer (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
EXCESS (EXtreme responses in Coastal Engineering using NewWave on Steep Structures)
Director of studies: Dr Alison Raby

Pierre-Henri Musiedlak (PhD Civil Engineering)
Numerical modelling of extreme hydrodynamic loads on offshore renewable energy concepts
Director of studies: Professor Deborah Greaves

Natalia Perez del Postigo Prieto (PhD Civil Engineering)
Tsunami generation by combined fault rupture and landsliding
Director of studies: Dr Alison Raby 

Nirvan Razaghi-Kashani (PhD Civil Engineering)
An analysis of the Iranian post-earthquake management and building assessment system
Director of studies: Dr Andrew Fox

Cristobal Rodriguez-Delgado (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
Coastal defence through wave farms: advanced design tools based on laboratory tests and numerical modelling
Director of studies: Professor Gregorio Iglesias Rodriguez

Teng Tan Loh (PhD Civil Engineering)
Assessments of Wave-Structure Interactions for an Oscillating Wave Surge Converter using CFD
Director of studies: Professor Deborah Greaves

Thomas Vyzikas (PhD Civil Engineering)
Numerical modelling of extreme waves: The role of nonlinear wave-wave inetractions
Director of studies: Professor Deborah Greaves

Daming Wang (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
HR Radar date and laboratory experiments for wave energy converters
Director of studies: Professor Deborah Greaves

Qi Ye (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
Structural and performance optimisation of wave energy device arrays
Director of studies: Dr Shanshan Cheng    

Nanting Yu (MPhil/PhD Civil Engineering)
Buckling behaiour of perforated cold-form steel channel-section beams with circular holes in web
Director of studies: Dr Boksun Kim

Do you need funding for a research degree?

If you cannot fund your own PhD research project then please look at the advertised studentships as they become available throughout the year. Please check the advert carefully to ensure you are eligible and what funding and support are available. 

Current postgraduate research studentships at the University of Plymouth