Imperial College London logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: n/a
  • Foreign: n/a
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 538pts.
  • Duration:
  • 3 years

    Photos of university

    The Mechanical Engineering Department is a world-leading place to do a wide range of research, with approximately 50 academic staff, 100 research associates and 200 research students. We aim our work at being useful and applicable, so we have many close relationships with a range of industries, from developing aircraft engines to human knee joints, and that focus keeps us motivated to produce new inventions. Imperial is also a great place to work, being in the heart of London, surrounded by museums, concert halls, places to eat and drink: an exciting meeting place for people from around the world.

    research divisions

    Applied mechanics

    • The division delivers research across a wide range of topics, with application to multiple academic disciplines and industrial sectors. It is structured to manage these activities within its research focus area groups.

    Mechanics of materials

    • The division focuses on understanding and predicting the deformation and failure behaviour of a range of materials from metals, ceramics, polymers and composites to adhesives and soft solids.


    • The division has well equipped, recently refurbished laboratories, and hosts an extensive range of laser sources and detectors and extensive facilities for computational flow modelling methods (CFD).

    YEAR 1
    Week 1: College Registration. All Research Students and First Year Research Assistants
    must register on-line with the College.
    Week 2: If you are not a native speaker of English, you should either attend the ELSP for
    the initial assessment or apply for exemption through the Departmental/Divisional
    Administrator and receive, in writing, exemption from the Requirement by the
    Director of Research.
    Month 1: You should attend the Departmental Safety Lecture.
    Month 1: You should receive a copy of the “College Safety Policy Statement and
    Departmental Safety Policy” from your Technician Head of Division or from your
    Month 1: If your project involves experimental work, the Registration of Lab Active
    Workers form and the COSHH/Safety form must be completed and agreed with
    your supervisor(s), the relevant laboratory managers and the Technician Head of
    Month 1: English Assessment for Non-Native Speakers of English. Postgraduate
    students are required to take an English Language test or seek exemption
    according to the procedure laid out by registry (form available from Kate Lewis).
    Students who score less than 60% in the test will have to take a subsequent test
    as part of their Early Stage Review.
    Week 9: Draw-up and agree with your supervisor(s) a formal three year research plan. This
    should be independently assessed and a copy should be emailed to Kate Lewis.
    Month 9: PhD Early Stage Review via oral interview/examination with the supervisor(s) and
    an independent assessor.
    Prior to the interview/examination, the following document should be submitted to
    the supervisor.
    A report should be produced by the student in advance of the meeting which
    (i) The scope of the project
    (ii) A summary of the relevant literature
    (iii) Work which has already been carried out
    (iv) A clear programme for the pursuance and completion of the thesis.
    There is a 20 page limit on the length of this report which should be adhered to
    strictly. After the interview/examination, the following should be submitted to the
    PG Office:
    (1) Early Stage Review Form: . Successful review of PhD progress. This form
    should be signed by ALL the supervisor(s) and the independent assessor.
    (2) Early Stage Review Report: as prepared above, with any
    corrections/amendments requested by the independent assessor.
    If a repeat of the English language assessment test was deemed necessary at
    the initial assessment in month 1, then the second test should be taken as part of
    the PhD Early Stage Review procedure. Progression will not take place until the
    second test is passed and you may be placed on an MPhil.
    Month 12: Write a short progress report for your supervisor(s) to read and discuss with you.
    Send Kate Lewis a copy of the title page only. 

    YEAR 2
    Month 1: College Registration. All Research Students must register on-line with the
    Month 6: Write a short progress report for your supervisor(s) to read and discuss with you.
    Send Kate Lewis a copy of the title page only.
    Month 6-12 Students will have a PhD Late Stage Review between 18-24 months after initial
    registration. This will consist of two elements: (i) Written evidence of progress and
    (ii) an oral presentation. (see section 3.3 for full details).
    The results of the Late Stage Review will be recorded on a Late Stage Review
    Form and submitted to the PG Office.

    YEAR 3
    Month 1: College Registration. All Research Students must register on-line with the
    Month 4-6: Appointment of Examiners Form / Exam Entry Form. This form, together with a
    description of the thesis and the reproduction of thesis form, must be submitted
    electronically at least four months before the submission of the thesis to Kate
    Lewis. The form should be downloaded from Students should complete
    section A of this form and then send it on to your supervisor for completion and
    onward forwarding to Kate Lewis.
    The thesis title must be approved by the College, and the examiners will be
    appointed. Note that the abstract entered on this form need not be identical to that
    in the PhD thesis (but the thesis title must be). This form and the latest College 
    regulations concerning the submission of theses are available on the registry
    website as above.
    Month 6: Write a short progress report for your supervisor(s) to read and discuss with you.
    Send Kate Lewis e a copy of the title page only.
    Month 9-12: Writing-up Research students may apply to register as writing up (continuation)
    students for a maximum period of 6 months upon payment of a writing up
    (continuation) registration fee of £100.
    The writing up (continuation) registration status cannot exceed six months and
    should usually follow immediately after the end of the student’s normal registration
    Students will have the same privileges as all full-time students during the writing up
    (continuation) registration period and particularly will be eligible to be issued with
    Council Tax exemption certificates.
    Month 9-12: Thesis Submission. The student is personally responsible for the submission of
    the thesis to the College. (See section 3.8 of this document for more details).
    For the requirements of a thesis including procedure, any length limitations and
    forms to be completed the current regulations should be consulted. 

    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.


    We welcome applications from suitably qualified applicants at any time to any member of academic staff. 

    All postgraduate research students who are not native speakers of English must undergo an
    English assessment at Imperial College when they start their research studies (the Requirement).
    This is an internal College assessment test, chiefly of writing skills, and is completely separate
    from the English requirements for entrance (IELTS, TOEFL, etc). A second assessment at your
    PhD Early Stage Review may be required depending on the result of the earlier internal
    The purpose of the procedure is to ensure that students who need language support receive this
    as early as possible and that they can complete their PhD on time.

     Exemption from the Requirement
    Students who are not native English speakers, but whose level of English is near that of a nativespeaker,
    can be exempt from the requirement with the agreement of their supervisor(s) and the
    Director of Research. The exemption categories are:

    •  Native-speakers
    •  Students who are bi-lingual (by birth or domicile)
    •  Students with a first degree in the medium of English (3 years minimum) or students with

    extensive education or work experience (4 years minimum) in the medium of English
    If you wish to apply for Exemption, you must contact Kate Lewis within two weeks of initial
    registration and request an exemption form. You must state on the form which exemption
    category from above you believe applies and it must be signed by your supervisor. The
    signed form should then be returned to Kate Lewis.



    Imperial College PhD Scholarship 
    2015-16 academic year

    If you are a high performing undergraduate or Master’s student, and have a strong desire to undertake a PhD programme at a world class research institution, you could be selected to receive full tuition fees and a generous stipend for a PhD place at Imperial College London.

    The scheme aims to provide up to 50 research students with great potential the opportunity to work within their chosen research field with the support of an excellent supervisor.

    The earliest start date for funded places is 1 August 2015.

    Scholars will have access to a programme of career development and cohort activities delivered by a combination of their host department and the Graduate School. Graduate School have also developed a bespoke programme of opportunities for scholars.

    Support will be available to allow a high degree of interaction with other researchers (at other HEIs in the UK and abroad) and research users. This will provide valuable opportunities for networking and collaboration. 

    Download a self nomination form here (word)


    Successful candidates will receive the following financial support for up to 3.5 years: 

    • Full funding for tuition fees 

    • A stipend of £20,400 per annum to assist with living costs 

    • A consumables fund of £2,000 per annum for the first 3 years of study


    1. Applications are accepted from talented candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide. There are no restrictions on nationality. 

    2. Candidates must be among the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort, and in receipt of, or due to receive a first class UK degree or equivalent. 

    3. Candidates with Master’s qualifications should have achieved a distinction or, where this has yet to have been achieved, be able to provide evidence of high performance that will lead to a distinction. They should also hold a first class UK undergraduate degree or equivalent. 

    4. Candidates with degrees from overseas institutions are strongly urged to determine if their scores/grades are equivalent to the relevant eligibility criteria. 

    5. Prior to applying candidates must have made contact with a supervisor in an academic department at Imperial College London who has agreed to supervise their research project. Please note that supervisors are only permitted to supervise one scholar at any time. Please review this list of existing supervisors [xls] who are not available to supervise a student on this scholarship scheme. Please note: current registered Imperial PhD students are not eligible to be considered for an Imperial College PhD Scholarship. The scheme is only open to new PhD applications.

    How to apply

    The scheme is now open for applications.

    There is not a specific scholarship application form.  You should submit your application for admission to study at Imperial through our online admissions system and your department will put you forward for the scholarship based on academic merit and potential.

    1. When prompted for a personal statement you must ensure that it consists of approx. 1000 words and outlines your academic and research achievements to date, explaining in brief your planned research project. 

    2. You must also attach a completed Self-nomination form [Word] which tells your department that you want to be considered for this specific scholarship scheme. 

    Eligible candidates will be advanced to the next review and selection process; please see the deadlines below.

    Review and selection

    Applications will be reviewed by a two-stage process:

    1. Candidates meeting or predicted to meet the eligibility requirements will be reviewed by the Department to which they have applied. Departments will select a shortlist of the very best candidates to present to the Imperial College Selection Panel for consideration. 

    2. The final decision will be made by the Imperial College Selection Panel. The members of the panel are the Vice-Provost (Research) and the Faculty Vice-Deans for Research. The Panel will consider shortlisted candidates from all Faculties. Scholarships will be awarded to the candidates who show the most potential. 

    Successful candidates will receive written confirmation of their scholarship. Any offer of a PhD place will be conditional on final interview by the Department and (if applicable) on the candidate receiving the predicted qualifications.

    Applicants not selected for the scholarship will automatically be considered for the PhD.

    When should I expect a decision on my scholarship application?

    Applications put forward for this scholarship scheme will be considered throughout the academic year.

    • Applicants who apply before 31 October 2014 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by 30 January 2015. 

    • Applicants who apply before 31 January 2015 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by 1 April 2015. 

    • Applicants who apply before 7 April 2015 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by 5 June 2015. 

    Research Council studentships (PhD)

    UK Research Council awards for Home/EU students

    UK Research Councils have allocated awards or provide the College with funding for specific activity, and full awards (for UK nationals and EU nationals who have taken their first degree in the UK and are normally ordinarily resident within the EEA) cover maintenance and 'home' rate fees. Otherwise, EU nationals are normally eligible for fee support only.

    Individuals should visit their prospective department’s website, for the latest funding opportunities available.

    Please note that departments will contact you if they wish to nominate you. You must have been offered admission as a postgraduate student in order for your nomination to be forwarded.


    There are residence requirements which are mainly in line with Home/EU fee status classification. In addition, candidates must have applied for admission at Imperial College London, and be holding an offer, at the time of nomination.

    Academic qualifications

    Candidates must have a good Honours degree from a British academic institution. For a research studentship this must be a first or upper second class Honours degree; for an advanced course studentship, it should be a first or second class Honours degree. Research Councils may also accept qualifications or a combination of qualifications and experience that shows equivalent ability and attainment.


    Candidates must be recommended by the institution that nominates them and, in some instances, by the head of the department where they graduated.

    Previous postgraduate training

    1. Research studentships for PhD students
    These are normally awarded for not more than three years. The duration of such a studentship will be reduced by a period equal to any previous period of postgraduate training, or of activity equivalent to postgraduate training, undertaken by the student. Exceptions are:

    • Up to one year of any full-time study not supported by UK public funds may be disregarded. 

    • Previous postgraduate training may be disregarded when it took the form of a taught course necessary to enable the student to carry out research in a field substantially different from that studied for his/her first degree.

    2. Advanced course studentships for Master's students
    Please note that advanced course studentships are not normally awarded to candidates who have recently spent a full-time period in postgraduate training or in an activity equivalent to postgraduate training.

    Application procedure

    The majority of Research Councils award studentships through the heads of departments of universities and colleges where the awards are to be held. The AHRC and ESRC allocate some of their awards through an open competition; however, students cannot apply unless they have departmental support. Research Councils do not accept applications direct from individual students. Those wishing to be considered for an award should contact the department in which they intend to study. Application forms will then be made available to those students whom the department wishes to nominate.

    As a result of increasing competition for awards in recent years, it does not follow that a student who satisfies the eligibility criteria will necessarily be nominated for a studentship by the College nor, if nominated by the College, awarded a studentship by the Research Councils.

    Those students who wish to be considered for Research Council support are advised to make an application for admission to the College as soon as possible, paying due regard to the relevant closing date and bearing in mind that they will need to have been accepted by the department well in advance of that time.

    Candidates nominated for a studentship (particularly under the CASE award scheme) are advised not to relinquish any post they may be holding until they have received confirmation from the Research Council that the award has been granted. Notification of the results of Research Council Studentships nominations is sometimes delayed until near the start of session.

    • Enter 'Mechanical Engineering Research' in the programme title field on the application form
    • Start as early as possible!
    • Many studentships (especially overseas) have application deadlines well ahead of your planned start date
    • Sponsors will be more impressed if you can show you already meet our requirements.

    Before applying for exemption, please note the following:
     Completion of a one year MSc course in the medium of English (even from Imperial) does
    not qualify you for exemption.
     The written language skills needed to produce a PhD thesis are significantly more
    demanding than those needed to produce an UG or MSc project report.
     The English language requirement is a benchmark assessment designed to advise the
    student and the supervisor(s) whether additional language training is needed for the
    completion of a PhD.
     If in doubt, students are strongly advised not to apply for exemption, but to take the test.
     If exemption from the requirement is applied for and granted, the ELSP will not provide
    English tuition at a later date, i.e. if the exemption was shown to be unwise. 

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