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Research Degrees

Completing a PhD or a Master of Science by Research (MSc-R) with us is an exciting and fulfilling experience, and will become a defining period of your life.

We integrate our postgraduate programmes into the broad research mission of the Department of Engineering. You will extend the sphere of human knowledge through development of novel methods, equipment, ideas, and solutions to some of the most important problems in your chosen research area, supported by a fantastic range of research facilities, collaborations and services.

Research degree students receive a combination of University-level courses and subject-specific research training, and are assigned a supervisory team of academics, internationally recognised experts in their fields, to guide their training and research direction throughout their programme.

To develop a breadth of understanding, you will contribute to Departmental research activities, such as seminar programmes and discussions. All students present their work at events such as our annual Research Day event, providing excellent experience of presenting to an audience of peers and academics. You will also receive opportunities to contribute to teaching in the Department and develop skills of use beyond your research focus.

A PhD generally requires at least three years of study; the MSc-R requires at least one year.

A formal application to the University for postgraduate study should be submitted online via this link. This requires, among other things, copies of certificates of academic qualifications, an outline research proposal, and two letters of reference.

Note that for international students, it is particularly important to:

  • Complete your application as early as possible.
  • Provide a full curriculum vitae (in English) and an English language transcript of the degree/diploma documentation.
  • Offer evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English, usually by IELTS or TOEFL certificate to meet the University minimum requirements.
  • Give the names and addresses of two referees, and ask that these referees send letters on your behalf directly to
  • Provide a letter, normally from a bank, confirming that your course fees will be paid by you or your sponsor.

Durham is a collegiate University and we require you to specify your preferred College or Society as part of the online application.