Civil Engineering PhD

Civil Engineering PhD Qualification name
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Fact file

PhD Civil Engineering
Usually completed over a period of 3 years
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) and / or a masters at merit level or above in a relevant subject
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in each element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
October, December, February, April, or July
Faculty of Engineering
Other requirements



Civil engineering covers a wide range of subjects and The University of Nottingham is recognised for its supportive learning environment and excellent facilities.

Research topics within civil engineering can be based around structures, Geotechnics,fluid mechanics, transportation, GPS surveying, road materials and many other aspects.

This course requires a 2:1 or international equivalent and/or a masters at merit level or above in a relevant subject, and an IELTS level 6.0 (5.5 in each element). It is usually completed over a period of around three years, but there is also a 42 month option available.

Diana Sanchez talks about her PhD and experiences at Nottingham



There are extensive facilities available to postgraduate research students across variuos research groups including those in the Pavement Research Building, the Nottingham Geospatial Institute and the Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics.

The Pavement Research Building is a purpose-built £2.4m state-of-the-art centre for research and development in all areas of pavement engineering; design, performance, maintenance and materials. It incorporates laboratories for testing asphalt, concrete, bitumen, aggregates, recycled and other paving materials as well as pilot-scale pavements.

The Nottingham Geospatial Institute is a major multidisciplinary research centre with facilities that cover geoinformatics and data modelling, geospatial intelligence, interoperability and standards, location based services and semantics, reasoning and cognition.

The Nottingham Centre for Geomechanics (NCG) is a multi-disciplinary research centre that brings together expertise from civil, materials, and mining engineering, and also mathematics to solve all forms of soil and rock-related problems in engineering design and construction.

There are two laboratories that form the key elements to NCG. These are the Soil mechanics laboratory - for testing ‘soft’ earth particulate materials, mainly soils and granular materials and the Rock mechanics laboratory - for testing rocks together with materials used in the support of rock excavations.

Equipped with a series of modern experimental facilities, the laboratories are responsible for supporting research activities, providing training for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, and as a base for undertaking commercial testing and consultancy for industry.


Research support

Each PhD student will have a main academic supervisor and at least one additional supervisor. Regular formal supervision meetings, usually once a month, will take place with one or both of your supervisors. We also provide academic postgraduate advisors and student PGR reps who are available if you have a query about procedures relating to research study, are concerned about your progress or the facilities available.

All PhD students are enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering Training Programme, this is a structured programme of training drawing on formal external frameworks such as Joint Skills Statement, the Research Development Framework (RDF) and the Research Council guidance. The Engineering and Science Research Council (EPSRC) has recognised our Faculty programme as a sector leading standard of postgraduate research development and training.

Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Engineering supervisors, including their research interests and contact details, can be found on our find a PhD supervisor page.

Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

  • Please visit our tuition fees section and select 'postgraduate research tuition fees' under 'New postgraduate students' for full tuition fees information.

General funding information and advice

Country specific information

Government loans for doctoral study

  • The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,700 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Applying for a studentship

  • A studentship is a fully funded research place in a specific area. The process is similar to applying for a job, and the advert will give specific details of how to do this. Studentships in engineering are shown on our funded PhD projects page.

Doctoral Training Programme funding opportunities

Research scholarships

  • Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.






The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research) and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career. We are one of the top ten universities targeted by the largest number of top graduate employers in 2018-19 (The Graduate Market in 2019).

The Faculty of Engineering has excellent links with industry. You will have access to the Graduate School's Researcher Development Programme offering training and development. You will receive support from supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, as well as dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service. Careers and Employability offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

Completing a research degree with us will ensure that you develop transferable skills that will be beneficial in a number of different careers. Graduates within the faculty have gone on to have successful careers as:

  • Researchers
  • Production managers and directors
  • IT and telecommunication professionals
  • Business, research and administrative professionals
  • Science, engineering and production technicians
  • Natural and social science professionals
  • Teachers, lecturers and educators 
  • Various other roles in engineering and architecture

Careers image

Our graduates have gone on to work for:

  • BAE Systems
  • Bentley
  • GE Aviation
  • Goldmann Sachs
  • E.ON
  • Malvern Instruments
  • Shell Nigeria Exploration Company
  • Unilever Ghana
  • ARC Energy
  • Escola Superior Gallaecia
  • Sokoto Energy Research Centre
  • Thermacore Europ
  • URS

As well as many other employers.

Average starting salary and employment rate

In 2017, 94.2% of postgraduates in the faculty who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,000 with the highest being £100,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Civil Engineering PhD

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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