Study at City
  1. Courses
  2. Applying
  3. Fees and funding
  4. Living in London
  5. Visit us & online events
  6. Student support
  7. International students
  8. Order a prospectus
  9. Ask a student
  1. Research degrees
Study at City

PhD / MPhil Civil Engineering

Research degrees are available in MPhil/PhD in Civil Engineering, MPhil/PhD in Geotechnical Engineering, MPhil/PhD in Hydraulic Engineering and MPhil/PhD in Structural Engineering.

Key information

Start date

Research students may commence their studies on 1st October, 
1st February, 1st April or 1st July.


Full-time: 2 - 4 years

Part-time: 3 - 7 years



Full-time: £6,000 per year

Part-time: £3,000 per year

External Candidate study of this course costs £800 per year either as a part-time or full-time option.


Full-time: £18,000 per year

Part-time: £9,000 per year


There are four research routes available within the Department of Civil Engineering:

  • MPhil/PhD in Civil Engineering
  • MPhil/PhD in Geotechnical Engineering
  • MPhil/PhD in Hydraulic Engineering
  • MPhil/PhD in Structural Engineering

Research takes place under two Research Centres; Structural and Geotechnical Engineering and Fluid Engineering. The latter is the home of research in numerical modelling of fully non-linear hydrodynamics, which focuses on the development of numerical analysis methods for the analysis of the interaction between breaking waves and floating or fixed structures. The remainder of the research takes place within the Structural and Geotechnical Engineering Centre. In Structural Engineering extensive structural laboratory facilities are combined with the development of advanced finite element-based techniques, supporting both the design of structurally efficient buildings and the dynamic analysis of structures subjected to seismic excitation, impact damage or blast loading. In geotechnical engineering, experimental work focusing on the response of complex underground geotechnical structures using our recently refurbished geotechnical centrifuge facility is combined with an investigation of the links between the mesoscopic and macroscopic properties of particulate materials and the influence of these on construction processes.


Entry requirements

A good honours degree (normally no less than a second class honours degree from a UK University or an equivalent qualification) in an appropriate subject. Some subjects also require an appropriate Masters qualification.

English requirements

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants whose first language is not English. We require a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four components; or, a minimum TOEFL overall score of 92 with a minimum of 22 in Writing and 20 in Listening, Speaking and Reading.

Please note that the UKVI currently requires us to confirm that you are at level B2 or above in all components of English before issuing visa documents.

Find out more about English language proficiency requirements at City.

Visa requirements

International Students (EEA and Non EEA) coming to study in the UK, may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study. The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • EEA nationals joining the programme in 2020 and EEA nationals joining from January 2021
  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.


Doctoral research students are initially registered for an MPhil. They transfer to PhD at the end of the first year following satisfactory submission and examination of a report and transfer presentation. Further information on the regulations and structure of MPhil/PhD studies.

The groups use experimental and numerical techniques to investigate the following:

  • Performance-based design and assessment
  • High performance structures
  • Complex/special (and/or irregular) structures
  • Adaptable/adapting structures
  • Structural health monitoring /smart monitoring
  • New and/or adapting materials (for enhanced performance)
  • Multi-hazard analysis/design/ (risk) management of structures
  • Optimization of civil engineering structures
  • Soil-structure interaction and the interaction between buried structures
  • Multi-scale soil mechanics
  • Novel  sustainable pile systems
  • The behaviour of soils subjected to remoulding during geotechnical construction
  • Fluid-structure interaction (including extreme waves, floods, tsunamis, scour)
  • Sediment transport mechanisms (from Geotechnics and Hydrodynamics point of view)

Doctoral studentships

Find out about our fourteen full-time, three-year doctoral studentships for 2019/20 entry.

Funding options

  • Full-time EU: £6,000 per year
  • Part-time EU: £3,000 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £18,000 per year
  • Part-time Non EU: £9,000 per year

External Candidate study of this course costs £800 per year either as a part-time or full-time option.

Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.

Find out more about Postgraduate Doctoral Loans



Students will all be allocated a primary and secondary supervisor to provide guidance and support during their studies.


The Graduate School organises courses and research events to assist students to develop their research skills and to promote the exchange of research ideas across City. Students are also encouraged to attend relevant Masters level courses where appropriate.

Research Environment

The Civil Engineering Department is a focus for seminars and research activities directly relevant to students' research topics. Most research students study within groups engaged in similar research and students often share experimental and numerical techniques in order to maximise the progress that can be made during the students' studies.

How to apply

We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry on 1st October, February, April and July. Please see the requirements section above for eligibility criteria.

It is essential that you contact a member of academic staff in the department you are interested in, to discuss your ideas for research (research proposal) and gain their consent to supervise your research. Unfortunately, we will not be able to consider your application without this pre-requisite.

Details of relevant academic staff can be found on our department pages.

You are advised to submit your application at least 12 weeks before your proposed start date in order for us to consider and process your application. Once you have contacted a supervisor who has confirmed that they will accept to guide you through your research, please submit an application online using the applicable link below:

MPhil/PhD in Civil Engineering



If you are applying to study externally (not based at City University of London, supported by a supervisory team in your approved educational institution or workplace) please email with your application number once you have submitted your application to ensure that you are considered for your intended mode of study.

Supporting documents

To apply online, an applicant will need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • Research proposal with Gantt Chart. The Research Proposal should be a maximum of 3 sides A4. See guidance on writing your research proposal
  • Copies of degree certificates and transcripts in English;
  • Official work e-mail addresses (not private ones) for two referees (one of which must be an academic);
  • Proof of English language proficiency (if applicable).
  • Evidence of sponsorship (if applicable).