Mechanical Engineering

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Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD , MSc by research
Programme length Three years full-time, one year for writing up.
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has a highly rated research profile which ranges across a wide spectrum of engineering subjects. We also have strong links with most of the UK's top engineering companies as well as others worldwide.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Part time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

UK/EU students may apply for research council funding. Research contracts may provide funding for a pre-defined project. Check the Faculty's website for a list of currently available projects or check

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

The department has three research groups representing the research interests of staff.

Design and Process Engineering

The research is focused on bioengineering, design methods and industrial applications. The group collaborates with the Bristol Dental Hospital, the United Bristol Hospital Trust (UBHT) and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. The group is developing and testing several proof-of-concept technologies for industrial applications such as patented duct cleaning technology (known as 'ice-pigging'). The Group is pioneering new mechanical drive technology for a wide range of industrial applications including micro air vehicles, spacecraft, dentistry, electro-mechanical valves and roller chains.

Dynamics and Control

Dynamics and control research is currently focused on the key themes of:

  • Dynamic Substructuring
  • Adaptive Control
  • Nonlinear Vibration
  • Control of Fluidised Beds

As a result we are interested in aspects of nonlinear dynamics, adaptive control, intelligent structures and fluid dynamics.

Solid Mechanics

Solid mechanics is about understanding the way engineering materials respond to loading to improve the efficiency and safety of structures. Within the broad area of solid mechanics, the main interests of the group are residual stress, non-destructive testing, structural health monitoring, composite materials, fracture, fatigue and tribology.


Mechanical Engineering PhD graduates are found in a variety of careers including world leading research all over the world. Many also work as consultants or as part of large-scale engineering industries.

Staff profiles

Dr Kazem Alemzadeh BSc(CNAA), PhD(Brad), CEng, MIMechE, (Senior Lecturer), Adaptive machining and predictive maintenance; dental CAD/CAM in restorative dentistry; reverse engineering; vision system.

Dr Mahdi Azarpeyvand BSc, PhD(Soton), (Lecturer), Aeroacoustics; biomedical ultrasound; linear acoustic and vibration; turbulence.

Dr Julian Booker BEng, PhD(Hull), CEng, FIMechE, (Reader in Design Manufacture), Concept design for fatigue resistance; design for quality; design for reliability using probabilistic methods; integration and implementation of design tools and methods in new product development; selection and costing methods for manufacturing.

Professor Stuart Burgess BSc, PhD(Brun), CEng, FIMechE, (Professor of Engineering Design), Car transport efficiency; efficiency modelling of structures and mechanisms; insect flight mechanisms; roller-chain wear and efficiency modelling.

Dr J Burn, animal locomotion.; Biomedical engineering

Dr Andrew Conn PhD, (Lecturer), Bio-inspired design; dynamics of electro-active polymers; novel mechanisms; robotics, especially ' soft' robotics.

Dr Anthony Croxford MEng, PhD(Bristol), (Senior Lecturer), Defect classification and quantification using ultrasound; dynamics and control of fluidised beds; guided wave structural health monitoring.

Dr Dario di Maio BSc(Ancona), (Lecturer), High cycle fatigue of composites; experimental model validation of nonlinear structures; experimental vibrations of rotating mechanical systems; health monitoring; measurement technologies using non-contact sensors under stationary and rotating conditions.

Professor Bruce Drinkwater BEng, PhD(Lond), ACGI, DIC, CEng, FIMechE, FInstNDT, MInstP, (Professor of Ultrasonics), Dynamics; non-destructive testing; ultrasonic measurement of contact and lubrication; ultrasonic sensors.

Dr Mark Gilbertson BEng(Liv), DPhil(Oxon), (Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering), Fluid mechanics; fluidisation; geophysical granular flows; particle fluid interactions; segregation and mixing; validation of numerical models of multiphase flow.

Dr Andrew Harrison BEng, PhD(Bristol), (Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering), Active engine mounts; centreless grinding; dynamical systems and control; orthopaedic fixator design.

Dr Guido Herrmann BSc/MSc (TU Berlin), PhD(Leic), CEng, SenMIEEE, MIET, (Reader in Control and Dynamics), Constrained control (anti-windup compensation, nonlinear optimal control with constraints); high-precision servo-control; nonlinear/neural network adaptive control; robust control; sliding mode control.

Professor Ben Hicks Eng(Bath), PhD(Bath), (Professor in Mechanical Engineering), Approaches for managing design information/knowledge; methods for computer-based design and optimisation; processes/methods for design management; techniques for modelling machine-material interaction.

Professor Daniel Inman BSc (GVSC, MI, USA), MSc, PhD(Mich), (Professor of Mechanical Engineering), Energy harvesting.

Dr Andrew Lawrie MEng(Glas), PhD(Cantab), (Lecturer), Flow stability and instability; fluid mechanics; massively parallel numerical simulation of complex flow; turbulence.

Professor Chris McMahon BSc(Bristol), CEng, FIMechE, (Professor of Mechanical Engineering), Data structures for CAD and CAM; design optimisation; design theory and methodology; engineering design; knowledge management; probabilistic design analysis; risk and uncertainty.

Professor Christopher Melhuish BSc(Dunelm), MSc(Bristol), PhD(WEngland), CEng, FBCS, (Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems), Biologically-inspired robots; human-robot interaction; novel application of robots; soft and nonlinear robotics.

Professor Simon Neild MEng, PhD(Oxon), (Professor in Non-linear Structural Dynamics), Adaptive control; control of hydraulic systems; damage detection; dynamic substructure testing; non-linear dynamics.

Dr Michael Patterson BSc, MSc, MSc, PhD, (Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering), Use of experimental techniques to examine rotating, stratified and thermally forced fluids.

Professor Martyn Pavier MA, PhD(Cantab), MIMechE, CEng, (Professor of Mechanics of Materials), Composite materials; finite element analysis; fracture and fatigue; residual stress.

Dr Matthew Peel MEng, PhD(Manc), (Lecturer in Solid Mechanics and Materials), Metallurgy; residual stress; synchroton x-ray and neutron diffraction; thermo-mechanical processing.

Professor Joe Quarini BSc, PhD(Lond), MINuE, (Professor of Process Engineering), Advanced process equipment; computational fluid dynamics; food processing; process engineering.

Dr Hind Saidani-Scott MSc,EnsmaPoitiers FR, PhD- Bristol- UK, Doct 3e cycle-Ensma-, DES (4yr course), (Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering), Absorption of moisture by building materials and artefacts; thermodynamics.

Dr Anton Shterenlikht MEng (Moscow), PhD (Sheffield), (Lecturer in Solid Mechanics), Computational and experimental fracture mechanics; high-performance computing; mechanical behaviour of materials; multi-scale modelling; reconfigurable, parallel and distributed computing; residual stress prediction and measurement.

Professor David Stoten BSc(Salf), PhD(Cantab), DEng(Bristol), CEng, FIMechE, (Professor of Dynamics and Control), Adaptive control; control of dynamically substructured systems; filtering methods and data fusion; multivariable control; nonlinear and chaotic system control; servohydraulic system control; system identification.

Dr Mike Tierney BSc(UMIST), PhD(Birm), CEng, MIChemE, (Senior Lecturere in Mechanical Engineering), Computational fluid dynamics using proprietary codes; energy efficiency; heat and mass transfer; pollution abatement.

Professor Christopher Truman BSc(Manc), CertAStud(Cantab), PhD(NottTrent), CPhys, CEng, CMath, FInstP, (Professor in Solid Mechanics), Contact problems; fracture mechanics; residual stresses and the interaction of the three, through complex loading scenarios.

Dr Alexander Velichko MSc(Kuban), PhD(Rostov), (Lecturer), Dynamics; non-destructive testing; signal processing; ultrasonic testing; wave mechanics and propagation.

Professor Paul Wilcox MEng(Oxon), PhD(Lond), DIC, (Professor of Dynamics), Dynamics; non-destructive testing; smart structures; structural integrity; wave propagation.

Dr Jason Zheng Jiang BSc, MSc, PhD, (Lecturer), Circuit theory and applications of control theory; passive and active mechanical control: electrical and mechanical networks.

How to apply
Application deadline:

Not fixed

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 38% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 55% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 6% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Graduate Education Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 5130 Email:

PhD in Mechanical Engineering
Graduate Education Team
University of Bristol
Queen's Building
University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TR


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