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Engineering and the Built Environment MPhil, PhD

Research ( full-time, part-time)


January, April, September

Apply online

For application deadlines visit our how to apply page.


Our research cuts across the expertise of our School and Faculty, to identify and seek solutions to the wide range of complex sustainability-related problems associated with current and future cities, both in the UK and globally. We encourage PhD candidates to take an active role in our School's research community, in areas currently ranging from climate change and resilience to smart cities, integrated urban infrastructure, mechanical engineering and tribology, technology, health sciences and medical engineering, society and culture, planning and architecture.

Full description

Supervision and support

We'll provide high-quality supervision so you can get the most from your programme. Our supervisory staff are recognised experts in their field with research expertise that includes:

  • Dr Javaid Butt - Javaid is an active researcher in the field of Additive Manufacturing and has a wealth of experience in characterising and analysing varied materials for product development.
  • Dr Alan Coday - Alan is a materials scientist and building surveyor specialising in heritage buildings.
  • Dr Yingang Du - Yingang's research interests and consultancy activities focus on the area of assessment and design of engineering structures under severe environments, including marine environments, fire and high temperature, and seismic zones.
  • Dr Christian Henjewele - Christian's research interests include public-private partnerships and private finance initiatives (PFIs), risk and uncertainty management, sustainable construction, value management and value for money in infrastructure projects (modeling, testing and sustainable economics), ethics in the built environment, and teaching and learning in the built environment.
  • Dr Maryam Imani - Maryam's specialisms include resilience-based/risk-based/reliability-based asset management, integrated modelling, interdependencies, failure analysis, water quality, flood (risk) management, artificial neural network, sustainable drainage system UK and Global South.
  • Prof Keith Jones - Keith's research specialises in community resilience and the application of sustainability principles to the built environment.
  • Dr Jennifer Martay - Jennifer's background is in Biomechanics and Orthopaedics. She is interested in how the healthy person moves, and the potential mechanical factors which might causes diseases such as osteoarthritis.
  • Dr Habtom Mebrahtu - Habtom’s research interests include additive manufacturing, Industry 4.0, manufacturing simulation and optimisation.
  • Dr Esther Norton - Esther's research interests are hydraulic conductivity of soils, detritus flow, soil liquefaction, landfill in arid zones and finite element analysis.
  • Dr Nezhapi-Dellé Odeleye - Nezhapi’s research interests range from sustainable design and wellbeing in places, to the urban design implications of time and space concepts from the cultural design and planning of indigenous settlements.
  • Dr Federica Pascale - Federica's main focus is on the requirements needed in the planning, design, and construction of sustainable and resilient health and social care environments.
  • Dr Ahad Ramezanpour - Ahad’s main research interests are sustainability and future cities through smart product development, water and energy saving, and thermal and fluid dynamics analysis and simulation.
  • Prof Hassan Shirvani - Hassan works with industry partners to deliver engineering solutions to business problems.
  • Dr Nadeeshani Wanigarathna - Nadeeshani's research interests cover a broad range of topics related to construction cost management, whole-life costing, construction economics, construction procurement and health economics.
  • Dr Sufian Yousef - Sufian's research themes include wireless networks, RF Systems, noise cancellation, mobile communications (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G ), cyber security, RF MEMs, mobile ad hoc networks (MANET), cloud computing, artificial intelligence, software defined networks (SDN) and social networks security.
  • Dr Ana Cocho-Bermejo - Ana’s research focuses on Machine Learning and AI Hybridized techniques for architectural and urban design.

Where you'll research

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at ARU. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students, 2024/25 (per year)


UK students, 2024/25 (part-time, per year)


International students, 2024/25 (per year)


International students, 2024/25 (part-time, per year)


Bench fees

In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.

Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.

We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.

If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.

For 2024/25 the bench fee bands are:

  1. £500
  2. £1,200
  3. £2,200
  4. £4,500
  5. £8,900

PhD by Published Work

Initial registration: £1,500
Full registration: £4,500

Writing up fees 2024/25


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.


For advice on the Doctoral Loan and other sources of funding, including ARU scholarships, visit our finance guide for postgraduate researchers.

You might also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.

ARU research

Sustainable Building Services and Sustainable Architecture:

  • building energy end-use modelling
  • control strategies for energy efficient air conditioning and HVAC systems using simulation software and field measurements
  • modelling and simulation of building performance in the areas of energy consumptions, carbon emissions, orientation and form of buildings
  • daylight and artificial lighting to achieve low carbon designs using simulation software
  • BRE Environmental Assessment Method to assess the environmental impacts of buildings
  • renewable energies
  • sustainability of construction materials
  • building design and environmental performance

Sustainable Construction Materials:

  • low carbon cements: use of replacements for cement in concrete
  • low carbon concrete strategies and solutions
  • lime-based building materials
  • re-use and re-cycling of building materials
  • use of alternative de-icers
  • evaluation of durability and microstructure of construction materials

Sustainable Communities (typically issues affecting the sustainable communities agenda):

  • community analysis, stakeholder engagement and community led consultation processes
  • climate change adaptation strategies
  • renewable energy technology developments
  • sustainable energy production from domestic wastes
  • environmental assessment and policy
  • facilitating sustainable life styles
  • sustainable urban design strategies
  • skills for sustainable communities
  • use of new technologies for teaching and training

Infrastructure Design and Professional Practice:

  • improvement of professional practice
  • vibration analysis and control
  • non-destructive performance testing

effective management of the construction process


We offer comprehensive research training which will equip you for your programme and prove valuable in your wider career. 

Contact details

If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities, please email [email protected]

Entry requirements

MPhil or PhD with progression from MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelors degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.

PhD: You’ll need a Masters degree or equivalent in a related subject area.

Please note we consider candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil in the first instance. If you want to be considered for direct entry to the PhD route then this can be discussed at interview if you are shortlisted. Please note you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this request. 

If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry. 

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the programme as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Contact our postgraduate research degree team for more information about studying a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate at ARU.

You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your research programme.

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Get more information

UK applicants

01245 686868

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 683680

Enquire online