Study mode:Blended Study type:Full-time Languages: English
11 place StudyQA ranking:7002 Duration:42 months

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Our international reputation for research makes this an ideal place to pursue a research degree, whether as preparation for a research career in industry or as the start of an academic career.

The Department offers a wide range PhD opportunities which cover the full range of aerospace-related fields as well as those relevant to the environment, energy and health care.

Graduates of our PhD programmes are active with industrial firms, universities and research establishments, not only within the aerospace sector, but in fields as diverse as deep-sea oil rigs, atomic reactors, submarine and ship design, bridge research, racing car and engine research, atmospheric pollution, and in many other aspects of industrial aerodynamics, structural analysis and materials.

Research areas in the Department

Research in the Aeronautics Department is managed through two Sections: Aerodynamics and Aerostructures: Current research interests are organised in the following topic areas:   

Aerodynamics Division

  • Fundamentals of flow
  • Aerospace vehicle design, aerodynamics and performance
  • Environmental and industrial flows
  • Biomedical flows
  • Control, dynamics and optimization
  • Flow Control
  • Turbulence, mixing and flow control

Aerostructures Division

  • Computational mechanics
  • Impact of composites
  • Damage tolerance
  • Structures research is supported by the Composites Centre

The programme is aligned with the three key phases in your doctoral studies –
UNDERPINNING: the early stage (0-9 months)
CONSOLIDATION: the mid stage (9-20 months)
COMPLETION: the late stage (20+ months)
Within each of the key phases, workshops have been grouped into a number of different themes, or “domains”, each addressing the personal and professional qualities, knowledge and
skills most relevant to you as you progress through your doctoral research.

Graduates with (or who expect to gain) a good upper-second or first-class honours degree in an Engineering, Mathematics or Physics discipline may be accepted for a PhD. 

You will need to have passed a College-approved English Language test, relevant work experience and references are also important.

Postgraduate English requirement for 1st Year Postgraduate Research Students Who Are Not Native Speakers of English
All postgraduate research students who are not native speakers of English must take an English assessment test at Imperial College when they start their research studies. This is an internal Imperial College assessment test, chiefly of writing skills, and is completely separate from the entrance requirements for English (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.).

The Department has a limited number of three-year studentships, covering both bursaries and fees, which are available every year for UK citizens and EU citizens who have ordinarily been resident in the UK throughout the three-year period preceding the date of application. 

The Department has limited funding for overseas students. However, we recommend that you consult the College scholarships page for details of any funding that may be available for you to apply to. 

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

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. 


  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 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.

DSc registration fee - 1000 £

Timeline for Research Students

Week 1:

College Registration: All Research Students and First Year Research Assistants must register on-line via the Student e‐Service 
Induction: Attend the Departmental Induction including the Safety Lecture.
Collect ID card from PhD Administrator (for October start students only).
Complete and return plagiarism and emergency contact details form to PhD Administrator.
Month 1
Initial English assessment: If you are a non-native speaker of English, you will need to fulfil the English Language Requirement and take an initial English test as soon as possible and begin courses (if required) or submit exemption form to the PhD Administrator. Students who score less than 60% in the test will have to take a subsequent test as part of their Early Stage Assessment.
Month 2 - 3
Research Proposal Confirmation – draw up and agree with your supervisor(s) a formal three year research plan. The plan must be signed by the student, supervisor(s) and independent assessor, and submitted to the PhD Administrator for the Director of Postgraduate Research’s approval.
Month 6
6 monthly progress report – Submit a Mid First Year Assessment Form to the PhD Administrator.
Month 8 - 9
Early Stage Assessment via report and presentation/closed-session viva with the supervisor(s) and an independent assessor. Prior to review viva, submit the Early Stage Assessment report to assessor (via supervisor).
Complete required Graduate School courses – students must complete a minimum of 4 courses, each from a different domain in the ‘Underpinning Skills Phase’ OR the Research Skills Development course plus one other course which can be from any domain un the Underpinning Skills Phase - before the Early Stage Assessment.
Students who require a 2nd English test (“English test at transfer”) should arrange to take this BEFORE the Early Stage Assessment.
Month 12
6 Monthly Progress Report – Submit an End of First Year Assessment Form to the PhD Administrator
Aeronautics PhD Programme Handbook 2014/15

Month 13
College Registration: continuing research students must register on-line via the Student e‐Service 
Month 18                                                                                                                                  6 Monthly Progress Report – Submit Mid Second Year Assessment Report to the PhD Administrator.
Month 18 – 24
Late Stage Review via report and an oral presentation.
Month 25
College Registration: continuing research students must register on-line via the Student e‐Service 
Month 30
6 Monthly Progress Report – Submit a Mid Third Year Assessment Report to the PhD Administrator
Month 35
Extend Registration or move to Writing-up - after year 3, students must extend registration (and pay tuition fees), or move to writing-up status which allows 6 to 12 months further access to College facilities. Students must inform the PhD Administrator whether they wish to extend registration or move to writing up before the end of year 3.
Month 36
Extend Registration or transfer to Writing Up
6 Monthly Progress Report – Submit an End of Third Year Assessment Report to the PhD Administrator
Month 37
Exam Entry Forms – exam entry forms must be submitted electronically at least four months before the submission of the thesis to PhD Administrator.

Month 42
Thesis Submission

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