Mechanical Engineering

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Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD , MSc by research
Programme length MSc: One year full-time; two years part-time
PhD: Three years full-time; six years part-time
Both programmes (part-time and full-time) then have one further year to write up.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

Engineering research at Bristol is organised into a number of faculty-level research groups. The majority of staff in the Department of Mechanical Engineering are members of one of the following research groups:

  • Dynamics and Control
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Engineering Systems and Design
  • Ultrasonics and Non-destructive Testing
  • Robotics
  • Fluid and Aerodynamics.

Applicants are advised to contact a potential academic adviser to discuss available projects before submitting an application.

Fees for 2017/18

Full time fees

Overseas (non-EU)

Part time fees


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

Funding for 2017/18

A number of funded studentships are available each year, supported by research council, industrial, University or other funds. Check the faculty website for a list of currently available funded projects or check Self-funded or sponsored students are also very welcome to apply. 

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

Dynamics and Control

The Dynamics and Control Group’s research activities span fundamental engineering science, where new insights are developed and experimentally tested, and applied research. These activities are split into four overlapping themes: nonlinear dynamics, vibration suppression, experimental testing and control.

Solid Mechanics

Solid mechanics is about understanding the way engineering materials respond to loading to improve the efficiency and safety of structures. The Solid Mechanics group at Bristol has a long tradition of undertaking industrially-motivated research, studying how materials behave when they are subjected to thermal and mechanical loads. The main interests of the group are residual stresses, fracture, fatigue and the behaviour of materials at high temperatures.

Engineering Systems and Design

The Engineering Systems and Design group is concerned with researching and creating tools, methods, models and strategies to improve the engineering and operation of our future infrastructure and industrial systems. Fundamental to our research approach is the need to understand how the process of modelling relates to the process of practical intervention, with a particular focus on the methodological challenges of modelling and designing complex technical and socio-technical systems. The group’s research interests and current projects reflect the industrial and societal challenges of energy, sustainability, resilience, demand responsiveness and flexibility, cost and frugality, users (stakeholders), risk and uncertainty, informatics and emerging technologies.

Ultrasonics and Non-destructive Testing

The Ultrasonics and Non-destructive Testing Group undertake research into the fundamentals and applications of ultrasonics. We are particularly active in the following areas: array imaging; materials characterisation (eg nonlinear ultrasonics); NDT of composites; structural health monitoring; ultrasonic particle manipulation (ie acoustic radiation force devices). Our philosophy is to undertake a balance of fundamental engineering science ultrasonics research alongside more applied research. We see this mix of fundamental and applied as incredibly valuable and our aim is to see selected topics through from conception to industrial uptake. This means that most of our projects are collaborative, sometimes with industry and sometimes with other university groups.


Robots are set to impact on all aspects of our lives, from robotic exoskeletons that enhance our strength and mobility to robots that search for life in the solar system and beyond. Through the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the largest robotics laboratory of its kind in the UK, Bristol is at the forefront of the robotics revolution. This innovative collaboration is a partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. Our research in robotics spans many key areas from soft actuators and flying robots to safe systems and vision for robotics.

Fluid and Aerodynamics

The Fluid and Aerodynamics Group undertakes computational research (using numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyse problems that involve fluid flows) and experimental research. Areas of key current research include: aerodynamic optimisation, computational aero-servo-elastics, hypersonic vehicle technologies, high speed intakes, mesh deformation and generation, parallel processing, rotorcraft aerodynamics, incompressible flows, interface capturing and cavitation, nonlinear aeroelastic prediction, adaptive aeroelastic structures, aeroelastic design, and reduced order modelling.


Mechanical Engineering PhD graduates are found in a variety of careers all over the globe, including world-leading research. Many 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 Alberto Gambaruto MEng(Lond), PhD(Lond), (Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering)

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.

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.

Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi BSc, MSc, PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Nuclear Structural Integrity), advanced image based solid mechanics (digital image and volume correlation); finite element simulation; Structural Integrity (fracture, fatigue, creep) of metallic and quasi-brittle materials; X-ray diffraction and tomography.

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 Robert Smith MA(Cantab), MSc(Kings College London), PhD(Nott), CEng, CPhys, FInstP, FInstNDT, (Professor of NDT and High Value Manufacturing), NDT for High Value Manufacturing of Composites

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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