Our mechanical engineering research is varied and world-leading, covering topics from clean energy and advanced materials to manufacturing systems, robotics and healthcare. Advancements in this area are pursued by six research groups specialising in:

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

Our students collaborate worldwide with industrial partners, other universities, public-sector organisations, research institutes and NGOs, producing novel and multidisciplinary research which addresses technical, societal and environmental challenges. They also make use of extensive and modern laboratory facilities at Queens Building in central Bristol, and at collaborating centres. With a large, diverse and active cohort of PhD, EngD and MScR students, Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol is a close-knit and supportive community. Its success is evidenced by consistently high performance in national rankings for research and teaching quality.

Entry requirements

PhD applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a merit at master's degree level (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 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.

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 E.

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

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 jobs.ac.uk.

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 and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Graduates from mechanical engineering research programmes pursue a wide range of careers throughout the UK and worldwide. Common destinations of recent graduates include research and academia, large engineering companies, engineering consultancies and startups (including successful spin-out companies).

Meet our supervisors

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


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, Design and Innovation

The Engineering Systems, Design and Innovation 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 (for example, nonlinear ultrasonics); NDT of composites; structural health monitoring; ultrasonic particle manipulation (that is, 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 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.

Contact us


Faculty of Engineering Postgraduate Research Admissions Team