Postgraduate Research/Doctorate PhD/MPhil

Civil Engineering Postgraduate Research






Two year

Three year

Five year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

Salford is a prominent UK centre for civil engineering research. With internationally-recognised output in engineering, built environment, and environmental studies,our Civil Engineering Research Group combines a wealth of experience, supported by high-calibre academics and first-class facilities.

If you are looking to take your academic interest in civil engineering further, a research degree offers you the flexibility to conduct your own research project with academic supervision. At Salford, you have the opportunity to study towards a Masters by Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Our civil engineering research opportunities are focused on four main themes, aligned with core elements of the civil engineering curriculum: structural engineering, transport engineering, geotechnical engineering, and hydraulics.

Current civil engineering research topics include: 

You will:

  • Research a broad range of fields in civil engineering, including structures, geotechnics, transport planning and bridge loads
  • Undertake research around an area from your own profession and develop solutions that can be implemented in the workplace
  • Earn a doctorate-level degree to take you further in your current career or provide a gateway into a research career

students accepted

Course details

All about the course

Civil engineering postgraduate research is available in a range of pathways:

Masters by Research
One year full-time
Two years part-time

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
One year full-time
Two years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Three years (+ 1 year completion phase) full-time
Five years (+2 years completion phase) part-time

Our research students have access to a wide range of supervisory expertise, training and excellent facilities. The research training you receive will be tailored to your particular needs, which your supervisory team will discuss with you once you join the programme.

What will I be doing?

Training and Skills Development

The COMPASS programme is designed to equip you with skills not only needed for your university studies but also for your future career, whether in academia or in public and private sectors. All of our postgraduate research students receive an extensive range of free training activities that develop both research and transferable skills.

All students will be expected to attend research methods seminars during your first year of study. Typical sessions cover topics such as conducting a literature review, methods of data collection, research governance and ethics, analysis, presentation, interpretation, and quantitative/qualitative research. 


As a postgraduate research student, you are required to meet a series of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These 'progression points' are an important guide for you and your supervisor, and must be completed at agreed dates.

Typical progression points for the PhD route include: 

  • Learning Agreement: completed during the first three months
  • Annual Progress Report: completed at the end of each year of study
  • Self-Evaluation Report: completed at the end of each year of study
  • Interim Assessment: completed with a panel interview at the end of year one
  • Internal Evaluation: completed at the end of year two and year three

Research Facilities

Our heavy and light structures laboratories feature a range of equipment used to load test almost any structure. Features include hydraulic actuators, a strong floor, tensile and compression testing machines, and a climactic cabinet.

Our hydraulics laboratory can examine water flow and behaviour at different velocities. The water quality testing laboratory is used to assess the ability of different plants and filters to remove groundwater contaminants. In our geotechnics laboratory, you can research soil type strengths, permeability, and compressibility.

Further Information

Contact our dedicated team to find out more about the latest civil engineering postgraduate research opportunities.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Globally, a postgraduate research qualification is usually a pre-requisite for an academic career. Today, many of our PhD alumni hold postdoctoral positions in academic research in higher education.

Our civil engineering postgraduate research alumni have a strong track record in pursuing diverse and exciting opportunities in the private sector, both in the UK and throughout the world. Graduates are well-placed to lead and manage research and development activities with professional bodies and consultancies connected with the construction sector.

Career Links

The Civil Engineering research group at Salford has extensive academic and industry connections.  The strong links enhance the activities available to our students, improves the quality and application of research, and helps to form long-lasting partnerships between students, academic staff, research communities, and industry practitioners.

Recent collaborative partners include the University of Manchester, the University of Sheffield, the University of Edinburgh, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Environment Agency, the Highways Agency, Yorkshire Water, Network Rail, Balfour Beatty, Lafarge, Costain, Cundall, Murphy Group, TfGM, Marshalls and Salford City Council.


What you need to know


We offer four entry points - January, April, July and October. An application to study can be submitted at any point during the year.


Ideally, you should have a first degree that provides a foundation in the principles of civil engineering and scientific practice. This could be from an engineering degree, but could also be from environmental sciences and other applied science degrees.  Experience of experimental and/or modelling-based research is also preferable. Please refer to the Entry Requirements section for specific details.

All applicants must attend an interview.

International students will require IELTS 6.5 or equivalent English Language Qualification.


We are looking for applicants with a passion for furthering knowledge in a civil engineering-related field. Evidence of your ability to study and critically appraise literature independently is essential.

You will be assigned a supervisory team to help guide and mentor you throughout your postgraduate research and studies. However, you will be expected to take responsibility for managing your learning, and to initiate discussions, ask for support, and be proactive in your approach to study.


International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You might need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website and using your JACS code which will be on your offer letter. For further support, please contact our International team at If you have any queries relating to ATAS, please contact

ATAS Certificate application link

What qualifications do I need?

Standard entry requirements

Applications for the PhD must have a minimum of an upper second class undergraduate degree in engineering, environmental science, or a related applied sciences degree. A Masters degree is preferred but not essential. Applicants without a Masters degree must provide evidence of previous research methods training.

Applicants for the MRes or MPhil degree programmes must have a minimum of a lower second class undergraduate degree, or relevant experience.

On your application form, you should include two referees who can comment on your suitability to study at postgraduate level, and you should also indicate a preferred research area or the title of a specific project, where appropriate. You must also indicate the type of financial support you have (or require).

Alternative entry requirements

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully.

Once we receive your application, we'll assess it and recommend it for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme, if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or by using a formal test.

To be considered for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).

Please contact Admissions for further information.

How much?

As a postgraduate research student, you will need to pay annual tuition fees. These fees will vary according to your chosen programme - please contact for further information.

Salford and other organisations offer a range of scholarships and discounts to postgraduate research students.

More information about fees and funding

Additional costs

You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on residential travel and accommodation visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2024

January 2025

May 2025

September 2025