Engineering Mathematics

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD
Programme length Three years full-time, six years part-time; then one further year to write up.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

Members of the Department of Engineering Mathematics carry out cutting-edge research in areas where mathematics is being applied to future challenges in engineering, industry and the life sciences. The department also makes fundamental theoretical and computational advances. There is a strong tradition of interdisciplinary work, international collaboration and publication in leading research journals.

Research is supported by grants from public bodies, such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the European Union, as well as from local government, national government and industry.

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): 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 2021/22

A number of funded studentships are available each year, supported by research council, industry, University or other funds. View the faculty website for a list of currently available funded projects or visit

View Information on funding postgraduate study for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

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

PhD applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a master’s degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline in an engineering discipline, computer science, mathematics or a closely related field. Applicants without a masters qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

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 E
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

The Applied Nonlinear Mathematics group is firmly rooted in a culture of solving real-world problems. Applications include traffic flow, optical devices, novel materials, aircraft dynamics, rotating machinery, epilepsy biomechanics and electrical networks. The group also undertakes fundamental research in areas such as local and global bifurcation theory, manifold computation, mathematical biology, non-smooth systems, delay differential equations, partial differential equations and control theory.

The University has a long tradition of excellence in artificial intelligence, with research groups in engineering dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. Now all these traditions have converged to form the Intelligent Systems Laboratory, a research unit with 16 members of staff (five professors) and about 40 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Research activities include foundational work in machine learning (many of the unit's members work in this central area of research), and applications to web intelligence, machine translation, bioinformatics, semantic image analysis and robotics, uncertainty modelling and fuzzy systems, as well as natural intelligent systems.

Many systems in nature and industry consist of a myriad of parts that act together following complex and often self-organised patterns of interactions. Swarms of animals, human societies or companies in complex supply networks are just a few examples of this type of complex system. The Collective Dynamics group addresses the question how system-level function and phenomena arise from the interplay of parts in these systems.

Computational neuroscientists apply computational and mathematical approaches to the study of the brain and, in the other direction, seek to uncover insights into computation and mathematics by working with experimental neuroscientists in trying to understand how the brain works. We are interested in the algorithmic structure of the central nervous system and the neurobiological systems and mechanisms that support them.

The Robotics research group works on a wide range of challenges covering both hardware and software aspects of robotics: sensing, perception, reasoning, cooperation, control and actuation. We work in partnership with the University of the West of England through the Bristol Robotics Lab, a joint community based in a dedicated 4,500sqm facility on UWE’s Frenchay Campus.

The Bristol SoftLab focuses on the research and development of novel compliant systems and soft robotic technologies. Softness and compliance are exploited by nature in almost all organisms and these properties are crucial for future robotic, wearable and human-interaction technologies. We aim to enhance our understanding of why compliance is needed, how to control and exploit it, and where to apply and exploit it to maximise societal and scientific impact. Our research encompasses the full spectrum of soft robotics research and development from smart materials, through soft-smart mechanisms to complete soft machines and devices.

A list of available projects can be found on the department website.


Students who graduate from the Department of Engineering Mathematics follow a wide range of careers, such as mathematical modelling and simulation in engineering consultancies, government scientific civil service, the Met Office and the intelligence services.

Many graduates go on to work in quantitative finance and financial services more broadly and several have recently become entrepreneurs in the data analytics industry. Others follow traditional academic career paths in university or in public and private sector research institutes.

Staff profiles

Dr David Barton, (Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics), Dynamics of nonlinear systems; industrial mathematics; mathematical modelling; numerical methods.

Dr Colin Campbell, (Reader in Mathematics for Information Technology), Bioinformatics; cancer informatics; graphical models; kernel methods; machine learning; medical informatics.

Professor Alan Champneys, (Professor of Applied Non-linear Mathematics), Global bifurcation; nonlinear dynamics; nonlinear optics; pattern formation; piecewise smooth systems; systems biology; systems engineering.

Professor Nello Cristianini, (Professor of Artificial Intelligence), Artificial intelligence; computational genomics and linguistics; pattern analysis; web analysis.

Professor Mario di Bernardo, (Professor of Nonlinear Systems and Control), Complex networks; control theory; industrial applications of mathematics; piecewise smooth systems; synthetic biology.

Dr Luca Giuggioli, (Senior Lecturer in Complexity Sciences), Animal foraging; animal territoriality; complex systems; movement ecology; spatial ecology of infectious diseases; stochastic delayed systems; stochastic dynamics.

Dr Sabine Hauert, (Lecturer in Robotics), Cancer; micro-nano swarm systems; nanomedicine; robotics; self-organised systems.

Dr Helmut Hauser, (Senior Lecturer in Robotics)

Professor John Hogan, (Professor in Mathematics in the Faculty of Engineering), Applied non-linear mathematics; complexity; fluid dynamics; piecewise smooth systems.

Dr Martin Homer, (Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics), Biomechanics; complexity; mathematical biology; mathematical modelling; nonlinear dynamics; nonsmooth systems.

Dr Mike Jeffrey, (Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics), Bifurcations and nonsmooth dynamics; geometry in physics and nature; singularities and singular limits.

Professor Jonathan Lawry, (Professor in Engineering Mathematics), Consensus modelling; imprecise probabilities in artificial intelligence; language games; representing vague concepts in intelligent systems.

Dr Nathan Lepora, (Reader in Robotics), Computational neuroscience; decision theory; robot perception inspired by animal perception; tactile robotics.

Professor Weiru Liu, (Professor of Artificial Intelligence)

Professor Trevor Martin, (Professor of Artificial Intelligence), Applications in cyber- and physical security; flexible software specification; uncertain knowledge representation; x-mu fuzzy computing.

Dr Lucia Marucci, (Senior Lecturer in Systems and Synthetic Biology), Analysis of complex systems; bifurcation theory; non-linear dynamics; synthetic biology; systems biology.

Dr Naoki Masuda, (Senior Lecturer in Engineering Mathematics), Complex systems; computational neuroscience; evolutionary game theory; mathematical biology; network science.

Professor Jonathan Rossiter, (Professor of Robotics), Human-machine interaction; medical data analysis; smart materials; soft robotics.

Dr Raul Santos-Rodriguez, (Senior Lecturer in Data Science and Intelligent Systems), Data sciences; machine learning; signal processing.

Dr Filippo Simini, (Lecturer in Transport and Mobility Modelling), Complex systems and complex networks; ecological modelling; human mobility; statistical physics.

Dr Robert Szalai, (Lecturer), Delay differential equations; invariant manifolds in piecewise-smooth systems; machine tool vibrations; mechanics of mammalian hearing; nonlinear dynamics.

Professor Eddie Wilson, (Chair in Intelligent Transport Systems), Complex systems; intelligent transport systems; mathematical modelling and simulation; traffic flow theory and characteristics.

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Research Admissions Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 4753 or +44 (0)117 331 5232 Email:

School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Maths (SCEEM)
Merchant Venturers Building
Woodland Road
School website: School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Maths
Department website: Department of Engineering Mathematics

International students

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

Bristol Doctoral College

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

REF 2014 results

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol; in particular, the scores for subject areas 10, 11 and 15.

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


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

Edit this page