Aerosol Science

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Run by Faculty of Science Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September 2020

Programme overview

An aerosol consists of solid particles or liquid droplets dispersed in a gas phase, with sizes spanning from clusters of molecules (nanometres) to rain droplets (millimetres). Aerosols are found in a broad range of important contexts, from drug delivery to the lungs to disease transmission, combustion and energy generation, materials processing, environmental and atmospheric science, and the delivery of agricultural and consumer products.

Candidates who aspire to work in a truly multidisciplinary field and who have an undergraduate background in any of the following areas are encouraged to apply: chemistry, physics, biological sciences, life and medical sciences, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmacy and environmental sciences.

You will be based at the University of Bristol for the first seven months of your first year of this Centre for Doctoral Training. During this time, you will receive training in the underlying physical science governing the properties and transformation of aerosols. Training will be provided by academics and industrial partners using a team-based learning approach.

You will then undertake a research project for five months that could be in one of the partnering universities (Bath, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds, Manchester), giving you an opportunity to gain an insight into aerosols in an area complementary to your eventual PhD research. During year two or year three, you will undertake a placement hosted by the industrial partner supporting your project, giving you a perspective on aerosols outside the academic environment.

It is our expectation that our graduates will be agile experts, able to work at the many boundaries between the conventional discipline where aerosols play a role.

Fees for 2020/21

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2020/21

Funding will be through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science.

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

Programme structure

In year one, you will undertake cohort-based training in aerosol science based at the University of Bristol. A taught programme in months one to seven will encompass training in:

  • Core Aerosol Science (two units, each of 30 credits)
  • Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Professionalism and Translation (30 credits)
  • Transdisciplinary and Context-Based Learning (60 credits).

Training will be provided by academic supervisors from the seven participating universities (Bristol, Bath, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds, Manchester) and by partners from the approximately 50 industrial and government sector organisations supporting the centre.

This will be followed by a research project for five months, hosted at any one of the seven institutions, intended to foster transdisciplinary competencies, and you will undertake a project in an academic lab in an area of aerosol science complementary to your eventual PhD research.

A progression interview will be held in month 10, after which you will begin your research project. Throughout the remaining years, training will be provided through summer schools, events hosted by the Aerosol Society of the UK and Ireland, and through online virtual resources and events.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for the first year of this programme.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of an upper second-class MSci honours degree or international equivalent in an area of physical science, engineering or biological science. Applicants with an upper second-class BSc honours degree may be considered if they can demonstrate good potential for research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile F
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Jonathan Reid (Chemistry)
Andrew Orr-Ewing (Chemistry)
Bryan Bzdek (Chemistry)
Matthew Watson (Earth Sciences)
Alberto Gambaruto (Mechanical Engineering)


Aerosol science is core to a broad range of disciplines - from drug delivery to the lungs, to disease transmission, aerosol routes to the manufacture of new materials, combustion, air quality and climate change, and the delivery of consumer and agricultural products. This programme equips students to enter careers in any of these areas in which a knowledge of aerosol science is important, spanning industry, government, the public sector and NGOs.

Staff profiles

Dr Bryan Bzdek, (NERC Research Fellow)

Dr Alberto Gambaruto, (Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering)

Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing, (Professor)

Professor Jonathan Reid, (Professor)

Dr Matt Watson, (Reader in Natural Hazards)

How to apply
Application deadline:

Apply by 3 February 2020 to be invited to attend our February recruitment and assessment day. Applications after this date will be subject to remaining availability of studentships. We welcome applications at any time of year. Early application is advised.

Get in touch

Professor Jonathan Reid Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8681 Email:

Ms Kate Lucas CDT Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8681 Email:

School of Chemistry
University of Bristol
Cantock's Close
Bristol BS8 1TS
School website: School of Chemistry

Open days and visits

Find out how to attend one of our upcoming online events.

Bristol Doctoral College

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

REF 2014 results

  • Chemistry:
  • 39% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 57% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 4% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 0% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

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


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