Aerosol science, the study of airborne particles from the nanometre to the millimetre scale, has been increasingly in the public consciousness in recent years, particularly due to the role played by aerosols in the transmission of COVID-19. Vaccines and medications for treating lung and systemic diseases can be delivered by aerosol inhalation, and aerosols are widely used in agricultural and consumer products. Aerosols are a key mediator of poor air quality and respiratory and cardiac health outcomes. Improving human health depends on insights from aerosol science on emission sources and transport, supported by standardised metrology. Similar challenges exist for understanding climate, with aerosol radiative forcing remaining uncertain. Furthermore, aerosol routes to the engineering and manufacture of new materials can provide greener, more sustainable alternatives to conventional approaches and offer routes to new high-performance materials that can sequester carbon dioxide.

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 EPSRC 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 short research project for three months that could be in one of the partnering universities (Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Manchester or Surrey), 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 disciplines where aerosols play a role.

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 credit points)
  • Computational and data tools (20 credit points)
  • Impact and translation (20 credit points)
  • Environment and communication (20 credit points)
  • Transdisciplinary and Context-Based Learning (60 credit points).

Training will be provided by academic supervisors from the eight participating universities (Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Manchester or Surrey) and by partners from the approximately 90 industrial and government sector organisations supporting the centre.

The taught programme will be followed by a short research project for three months, hosted at any one of the eight institutions, intended to foster transdisciplinary competencies. This project will be in an academic lab in an area of aerosol science complementary to your eventual PhD research.

A progression interview will be held in month 11, after which you will begin your PhD 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 in a relevant discipline spanning physical, biological and environmental sciences and engineering, or a postgraduate MSc or international equivalent. We may consider applicants with a lower second-class MSci honours degree or an upper second-class BSc honours degree who can demonstrate good potential for research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

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

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level F.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£26,000 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

This programme is funded through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science. Successful candidates will receive a studentship covering Research Training and Support Grant, tuition fees, and a stipend paid at the standard UKRI rate. Further information is available on the UKRI website.

Eligibility/funding guidance for International applicants is available on the CDT website.

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

Career prospects

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.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

Jonathan Reid (Chemistry)
Andrew Orr-Ewing (Chemistry)
Bryan Bzdek (Chemistry)
Dudley Shallcross (Chemistry)

Matthew Watson (Earth Sciences)

Alberto Gambaruto (Mechanical Engineering)

Karen Aplin (Aerospace Engineering)

Darryl Hill (Cellular and Molecular Medicine)
Andrew Davidson (Cellular and Molecular Medicine)

Peter Martin (Physics)
Hannah Wakeford (Physics)

Contact us

Paul Lacey-Drake and Ka Man Kam, CDT Administrators
+44 (0) 117 455 8429
Dr. Rachael Miles, CDT Course Director

Faculty of Science


School of Chemistry