research degrees

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phd or professional doctorate?

We offer the choice of two doctoral routes- the traditional PhD route or the professional doctorate.

We host doctoral and research students from a range of subject areas representing staff expertise including: civil Engineering and Building Services Engineering; Planning, Housing and Human Geography; and Construction, Surveying and Project Management.

Alongside our existing DEng program, we have six doctoral programmes aimed at practising professionals in the built environment. Our professional doctorates will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate and develop advanced knowledge and skills necessary to undertake and complete a practical research and development project.

Explore our doctoral programmes

The Doctorate of Engineering (DEng) is a programme of research based on the advanced study of engineering or applied sciences and professional practice in engineering. It is intended for candidates with relevant professional experience and supported by structured learning. The aim of the course is to blend the practical experience within the working environment with a part-time research degree. The key themes of the DEng are Energy, Sustainability and Building Performance.

The built environment covers a broad area of professional practice including subject areas as construction management, building surveying, quantity surveying, architectural design and technology, real estate and facilities management. The built environment is witnessing a transformation to become a smart and technologically innovative one. This has provided opportunities to investigate and develop solutions for a construction industry that relate to these changes and other challenges. This doctorate will be of interest to built environment professionals who would like to develop knowledge and influence professional practice in various areas including, for example, innovation, Building Information Modelling, financial and commercial management, organisation and management issues, building surveying, building technology and facilities management.

Civil engineering research in the school focuses on pure and applied research and development work, encompassing both empirical and numerical testing/design programmes. Recent research in civil engineering includes: work on the development of novel water purification systems for developing countries; rainwater harvesting techniques, operational reliability of water quality infrastructure, the use of limited-life sustainable geotextiles for reinforcing applications; 2D/3D finite difference/element modelling of slope stability and tunnelling problems; improving the performance of unpaved roads in Africa; the reuse of waste material in concrete and mortars.

This doctorate focuses on research in construction law and dispute resolution. The construction industry increasingly recognises the importance of resolving disputes efficiently and quickly to maintain commercial relationships and keep cash flowing within the industry. This doctorate will be of interest to professionals working in construction, law or a related field.

The professional doctorate in planning and housing studies builds on the reputation of Leeds Planning School, first established in 1938, and on the research expertise of our teaching staff in heritage, urban green space, sustainable design, community resilience, community planning, social and community-led housing, and women and the built environment. Doctoral research projects will be complemented by staff research expertise in urban governance and regeneration, culture and heritage-based regeneration, housing policy and international disaster planning perspectives.

Project management has traditionally been a vital part of contracting industries such as engineering and construction. Organisations are increasingly relying on project management as a way of carrying out important work, to improve processes and help them implement change. Project managers are now engaged in a range of organisations and sectors, including manufacturing, the public sector, charities, asset management and utility companies, finance and health management. The doctorate in project management will provide an opportunity for candidates to investigate and develop solutions to practice-based project management issues and inform their practice and profession.

Sustainability is a hugely important part in all areas of the built environment, in policy, in building regulations, in real world implementation, and for building occupants. It is essential that professionals in the built environment had the right skills and knowledge to be able to fully implement sustainable strategies into construction projects.  The principles of sustainability cannot be bolted onto existing practices but will fundamentally reshape the approach of all disciplines involved in building projects. The doctorate in sustainable buildings will provide an opportunity for candidates to investigate how sustainability can create changes to practices and can be best embedded in projects.

The Doctorate of Engineering (DEng) is a programme of research based on the advanced study of engineering or applied sciences and professional practice in engineering. It is intended for candidates with relevant professional experience and supported by structured learning. The aim of the course is to blend the practical experience within the working environment with a part-time research degree. The key themes of the DEng are Energy, Sustainability and Building Performance.

The built environment covers a broad area of professional practice including subject areas as construction management, building surveying, quantity surveying, architectural design and technology, real estate and facilities management. The built environment is witnessing a transformation to become a smart and technologically innovative one. This has provided opportunities to investigate and develop solutions for a construction industry that relate to these changes and other challenges. This doctorate will be of interest to built environment professionals who would like to develop knowledge and influence professional practice in various areas including, for example, innovation, Building Information Modelling, financial and commercial management, organisation and management issues, building surveying, building technology and facilities management.

Civil engineering research in the school focuses on pure and applied research and development work, encompassing both empirical and numerical testing/design programmes. Recent research in civil engineering includes: work on the development of novel water purification systems for developing countries; rainwater harvesting techniques, operational reliability of water quality infrastructure, the use of limited-life sustainable geotextiles for reinforcing applications; 2D/3D finite difference/element modelling of slope stability and tunnelling problems; improving the performance of unpaved roads in Africa; the reuse of waste material in concrete and mortars.

This doctorate focuses on research in construction law and dispute resolution. The construction industry increasingly recognises the importance of resolving disputes efficiently and quickly to maintain commercial relationships and keep cash flowing within the industry. This doctorate will be of interest to professionals working in construction, law or a related field.

The professional doctorate in planning and housing studies builds on the reputation of Leeds Planning School, first established in 1938, and on the research expertise of our teaching staff in heritage, urban green space, sustainable design, community resilience, community planning, social and community-led housing, and women and the built environment. Doctoral research projects will be complemented by staff research expertise in urban governance and regeneration, culture and heritage-based regeneration, housing policy and international disaster planning perspectives.

Project management has traditionally been a vital part of contracting industries such as engineering and construction. Organisations are increasingly relying on project management as a way of carrying out important work, to improve processes and help them implement change. Project managers are now engaged in a range of organisations and sectors, including manufacturing, the public sector, charities, asset management and utility companies, finance and health management. The doctorate in project management will provide an opportunity for candidates to investigate and develop solutions to practice-based project management issues and inform their practice and profession.

Sustainability is a hugely important part in all areas of the built environment, in policy, in building regulations, in real world implementation, and for building occupants. It is essential that professionals in the built environment had the right skills and knowledge to be able to fully implement sustainable strategies into construction projects.  The principles of sustainability cannot be bolted onto existing practices but will fundamentally reshape the approach of all disciplines involved in building projects. The doctorate in sustainable buildings will provide an opportunity for candidates to investigate how sustainability can create changes to practices and can be best embedded in projects.

How do I apply?

1 Entrance date

Our programme starts each year in October.

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2 Mode of study

The professional doctorates will run as a part-time program allowing students the opportunity to continue with their full-time employment, whilst conducting research on matters affecting their professional practice. Students will be assigned a supervisory team comprising a Director of Studies and Supervisor who will provide guidance and support throughout the study period. The programme will be supported by four compulsory learning units delivered in year 1 and 2. The learning units will be delivered through tutor-led workshop-based sessions that will address topical issues to help candidates develop their research project.

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3 Research proposal

Candidates will need to submit a 1,000 word research proposal alongside the standard doctoral application form. This will detail the area they will be investigating and should include a title, purpose of the project, references to relevant existing literature, methodology and proposed outcomes.

Please contact us to discuss your applications prior to your submission and we will assist you in developing it.

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4 Entry Requirements

For successful entry candidates will normally be required to provide evidence of the following:

  • Qualifications – Undergraduate Degree with a minimum 2:1 classification
  • Work Experience – A minimum of 3 years applied experience working within the built environment & engineering field
  • Non-English speaking countries - IELTs (7) for applicants from non-English speaking countries
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5 Need more information?

For more information about the program please contact our Postgraduate Research Coordinator, Dr Sam Zulu.

For all enquiries regarding the application process, please contact The Graduate School using the link below.

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