The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has an international reputation in research and in the most recent (2014) Research Excellence Framework, 88 per cent of its research was rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' and ranked 11th in the UK for research output.
The School is globally recognised for its innovative world-leading research, with recognised successes through societal-changing impacts. The major strength of the research within the School is the applied nature and industrial relevance of the work. The School has long standing collaborations with major multinational companies in the aerospace, automotive, polymer processing, medical device and packaging sectors.
In choosing Queen’s for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance to help you succeed in your research and future career and will be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment of over 90 full-time and part-time research students.
The School’s research is split across 6 interconnected research themes: Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Future Aircraft, Composite Materials and Structures, Simulation Technologies, Clean Energy and Biomaterials and Biomechanics. PhD opportunities are available in a wide range of subjects aligned to the specific expertise of our PhD supervisors.
Aerospace Engineering highlights
The School has strong links with both local and international engineering employers, and has longstanding relationships with companies such as Bombardier, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren F1 and Rolls Royce.
World Class Facilities
- The School has a wide range of experimental facilities and software to support aerodynamics, structures, materials and manufacturing
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School. Students attend conferences and participate in relevant external academic networks.
- The School has strong links with both local and international engineering employers, and has longstanding relationships with companies such as Bombardier, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren F1 and Rolls Royce.
- The mix of our PhD programme is diverse: current students are from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Northern Ireland, England, the Republic of Ireland, France, Portugal, Italy and Mexico.
- Researchers in the School play important roles in the major interdisciplinary centres within the University and have been the focus of major investments in the last few years.
- The School has well-equipped laboratories and research facilities. PhD students are based in shared offices alongside postdoctoral staff and the School has a vibrant PhD student mentoring programme and Research Culture Committee.
We welcome postgraduate interest in the areas of:-
> Advanced Manufacturing and Processing - cost modelling, ergonomics, intelligent control, laser processing, life cycle analysis, material characterisation, mechatronics, parallel kinematic machines, polymer processing, robotics and ultra precision manufacturing.
> Future Aircraft - aero engines, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, aircraft operations, design and analysis, optimisation and structural testing
> Composite Materials and Structures -damage mechanics and crashworthiness, material characterisation, multifunctional composites and nano-enhanced composites
> Simulation Technologies - FEA/CFD/EFG/DES/MD, kinematic modelling, meshing, multiscale/Multiphysics, optimisation, simulation intent, systems modelling, uncertainty quantification, virtual testing and design visual analytics and big data
> Clean Energy - biofuels, catalysis, life cycle assessment, power systems, turbomachinery and waste management
> Biomaterials and Biomechanics - biomemetics, material characterisation, mechanobiology and medical devices.
The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has an international reputation in research and in the most recent (2014) Research Excellence Framework, 88 per cent of its research was rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' and ranked 11th in the UK for research output. It has maintained its international research reputation since 1996 and 2001 Research Assessment Exercises, when it was awarded the highest possible 5* ratings.
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in industry, industry or become entrepreneurs.
Employment after the Course
For further information on career development opportunities at PhD level please contact the Careers Office at QUB.
People teaching you
Dr Trevor Robinson
Doctoral Programme Director
Mech & Aerospace Engineering
A research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field. Undertaking a research degree gives you a thorough grounding in your research area and can enhance a student’s transferrable skills, including an ability to solve problems using logic and creative approaches, work to deadlines and good written and oral communication skills. A PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic or research post.
There is no specific course content as such. You are expected to take research training modules that are supported by the School which focus on quantitative and qualitative research methods. You are also expected to carry out your research under the guidance of your supervisor.
Over the course of study you can attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School.
You will normally register, in the first instance, as an ‘undifferentiated PhD student’ which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree. The decision as to whether you should undertake an MPhil or a PhD is delayed until you have completed ‘differentiation’.
Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a doctoral qualification.
To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of approx 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.
A PhD programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required.
The PhD is open to both full and part time candidates and is often a useful preparation for a career within academia, industry or consultancy.
If you meet the Entry Requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. Every year the School advertises a number of studentships for specific funded PhD topics, with funding for fees and maintenance tax free grant. In addition we usually have studentships that become available on an ad hoc basis throughout the year. Available scholarships and closing dates are detailed on the School's website: www.qub.ac.uk/mechaero
Assessment processes for the Research Degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback; a formal assessment process takes place annually.
This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.
The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.
Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.
Full time PhD students will have access to shared office space and access to a desk with personal computer and internet access and excellent research facilities.
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component (*taken within the last 2 years) is required.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407 Other (non-UK) EU £4,407 International £21,300
Tuition fees for students from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the EU have not been set for 2020-21. The tuition fees for 2019-20 was £4,327. This normally increases by inflation annually and will be set in January 2020. The international fee quoted above is for the academic year 2020-21.
Aerospace Engineering costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
How do I fund my study?PhD Funded Opportunities
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's
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Queen's has seven outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and more importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.New UK PhD loans
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The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2019. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.International Scholarships
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Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.
Fees and Funding