Mechanical Engineering

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD, MSc by research
Programme length MScR: 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
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 should contact a potential academic adviser to discuss available projects before submitting an application.

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

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. Applicants without a master's 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.

MSc by Research applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant discipline and demonstrate readiness to pursue a research degree.

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

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 undertakes 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, an innovative collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, Bristol is at the forefront of the robotics revolution. 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.

Professor Mahdi Azarpeyvand BSc, PhD(Soton), (Professor of Aerodynamics and Acoustics), Aeroacoustics; biomedical ultrasound; linear acoustic and vibration; turbulence

Professor Julian Booker BEng, PhD(Hull), CEng, FIMechE, (Professor of Mechanical Design Engineering), 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 Andrew Conn PhD, (Senior Lecturer), Bio-inspired design; design and simulation of electro-active polymers; dynamics of electro-active polymers; healthcare technologies; novel mechanisms; robotics, especially ' soft' robotics.

Dr Harry Coules Harry Coules MEng (Oxon.), PhD (Cranfield), CEng, Eur. Ing., (Lecturer in Structural Integrity), engineering applications of neutron scattering; fracture mechanics; modelling of material and structural failure; nuclear engineering; residual stress; structural integrity; welding and metal additive manufacturing

Professor Anthony Croxford MEng, PhD(Bristol), (Professor of Ultrasonics and Dynamics), Defect classification and quantification using ultrasound; dynamics and control of fluidised beds; guided wave structural health monitoring

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), cardiovascular system; cerebral ventricular system; computational fluid dynamics; computational haemodynamics; digestive system; fluid mechanics; mathematical modelling; Numerical methods; physiological flows.; respiratory airways

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.

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 Tom Hill BEng, PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Nonlinear Structural Dynamics), Nonlinear dynamics; reducted-order modelling; system identification; vibration suppression.

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

Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi BSc, MSc, PhD (Bristol), (Reader in 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.

Dr Aydin Nassehi BSc (Sharif), MSc (Lboro), MSc (Oxon), PhD (Bath), (Reader in Manufacturing Systems), Artificial intelligence in production; Cyber-physical production systems; Digital manufacturing; Industry 4.0; Manufacturing informatics; Multi-agent simulation of value adding systems.

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.

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), (Senior Lecturer), 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; ice pigging; process engineering ; sustainability (ground source heat management)

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.

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

Dr Chris Snider PhD, MEng, (Lecturer in Engineering Design and Manufacture), Advanced CAD systems; design interaction, virtual and augmented realities in CAD; design management; design process modelling, simulation, and analytics; engineering design processes; engineering prototyping.

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

Professor Valeska Ting BSciTech (Victoria University of Wellington), PhD (Australian National University), CEng, MIChemE, (Professor of Smart Nanomaterials), Materials synthesis; nanomaterials for sustainable energy applications; properties testing.

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 Antonia Tzemanaki MEng, MSc, PhD,, (Lecturer in Robotics), hand exoskeletons; haptics; robot hands; surgical/medical/rehabilitation robotics; tele-operation; wearables

Dr Alexander Velichko MSc(Kuban), PhD(Rostov), (Senior 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 Yon Meng, PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Design and Manufacture - Electro-mechanical Systems), Electric machine design; multi-functional materials for electric machines; novel machine characterisation techniques.

Dr Jason Zheng Jiang BSc & MSc (SJTU), PhD (Cantab), (Senior Lecturer in Dynamics and Control), Circuit theory; development of big data and AI techniques for structural dynamics applications.; experimental testing and modelling; motion control theory and applications; passive and (semi)-active mechanical vibration suppression

How to apply
Application deadline:

Not fixed. 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

Graduate Administration Manager Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 0582 Email:

School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
University of Bristol
Queen's Building
University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TR
School website: School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Department website: Department of Mechanical Engineering

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

  • General Engineering:
  • 38% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 55% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 6% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% 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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