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University of Cambridge Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :30 Jun 
International :30 Jun 
EU :30 Jun 

PhD Future Infrastructure and Built Environment

 Course Level
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

25104 GBP
7626 GBP
7626 GBP

Application fee

International 50 GBP
National 50 GBP
Department of Engineering
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
GMAT (avg)600

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About this course

The aim of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment is to develop world-class, technically excellent, multi-disciplinary Engineers equipped to face current and future infrastructure and built environment challenges

he objectives of the course are to:

deliver a coherent approach to postgraduate research training in Civil Engineering, balancing the conflicting objectives of specialisation and generalism, consistent with the Department of Engineering’s general engineering undergraduate education approach;
equip the graduates of the MRes course with the research skills and training to enable them to make a seamless transfer and an accelerated start to the PhD  programme;
develop and equip the MRes postgraduate students with core civil engineering research skills rooted in a contextual framework that includes wider engineering, social, scientific and business-related disciplines linked to professional practice by producing graduates who combine breadth of knowledge with the depth of specialist knowledge;
expose the students to the wide range of industry relevant research contexts, opportunities and challenges;
develop students’ personal, professional practice and commercial skills, including entrepreneurship;
expose the students to a range of complex, multi-sector, multi-disciplinary problems that face future infrastructure and built environment via the mini-projects;
train the students in transferable communications, business and research skills.
The key research themes of the CDT are: construction design and technology; building physics; future energy infrastructure; asset management; sustainability and urbanisation; construction materials and waste minimisation; water and waste; computing technologies in engineering; infrastructure resilience against natural hazards. Students will decide upon their PhD topic during the MRes year.

Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the MRes course will have developed skills and understanding in the following broad areas:

  • the fundamentals of civil engineering research methods, experimental methods and theory within the context of future infrastructure and built environment;
  • challenges and trends in future infrastructure and built environment;
  • multi-disciplinary aspects of civil engineering problems, including knowledge of research and methods in related disciplines (eg, architecture, land economy, management, business, social science);
  • a specialist theme chosen by the student (eg, future energy infrastructure, future design and technology, construction materials, resilience against natural hazards, asset management, sustainability and urbanisation, building physics, water and waste, big data);
  • team-work, through cohort-based projects;
  • academic research skills, gained through practical experience engaging in mini-projects;
  • external exposure via strong links with industry, including secondments as well as potential secondments to international academic centres;
  • business practice and tools;
  • technology transfer and exploitation.

By the end of the PhD, successful students will have produced original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in the area of future infrastructure and built environment.

All students who pass the MRes year will automatically proceed to study for the PhD. Note that, as for all Cambridge PhDs, the first year of the PhD (the year after the MRes) is still probationary and students will be required to pass a first-year assessment.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Expected Academic Standard

  • Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree.
  • If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.
  • Successful applicants require high level technical engineering skills. Candidates are likely to have a Civil Engineering background although students from cognate engineering or scientific fields will be considered. Industrial experience is helpful but not necessary.

IELTS: 7.5 (7 in each element.)

TOEFL: 110 (25 in each element.)

Score: Grade A or B (with at least 193 in each individual element) plus a language centre assessment.

Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 in each individual element)

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

This four-year course comprises an initial MRes year, followed by a three-year PhD programme. This multi-disciplinary programme aims to integrate some of Cambridge's internationally recognised strengths – in structures, geotechnics, materials, construction, sustainable development, building physics and water and waste – within the wider context of related engineering disciplines, architecture, the sciences, land economy, manufacturing, business, economics, policy and social science.

The MRes course is a mix of core and elective modules (some offered by other Departments), group activity, presentations, project reports and a MRes dissertation.  The taught and research training elements are aimed at providing research practice training at 1st year PhD level, and occur in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Written examinations will take place at the start of the Easter Term, after which work on the MRes dissertation starts.

Students will also be given extensive transferable skills and professional development training, including professional panel sessions, multi-disciplinary masterclasses, and will participate in an Introduction to Entrepreneurship course.

Successful MRes students will then proceed to a three-year programme of supervised doctoral research, during which time they will continue to be supported by the CDT. They will maintain participation in CDT seminars, conferences and outreach activities, to attend the expert panel events, and to participate in the CDT industry forum.

The numbers given below reflect the MRes year only, unless otherwise specified.

There may be an opportunity in the third year of the course (second year of the programme) for students to be seconded to an industrial or academic placement.

Students can expect to receive reports at least termly on the Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System. They will receive comments on items of coursework, and will have access to a University supervisor for their dissertation. All students will also have personal access to the Course Director and the other staff delivering the course.

A major part of the MRes assessment is a dissertation of up to 12,000 words. Students will be required to give a presentation on their research after submission.

At the end of the second year of the degree (the first year of the PhD programme), students will be required to submit a report of 10,000 to 15,000.

The doctoral dissertation must be submitted by the end of the fourth year (the third year of the PhD programme) and must not exceed 65,000 words. A compulsory viva voce examination will follow thesis submission.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

You should thoroughly research your prospective course, its requirements, deadlines and course costs before you think about completing and submitting the online application form.

Having fully researched the course you are interested in, make sure you now have the relevant information you need to apply:

  • Course name
  • Application and funding deadlines
  • The relevant required supporting documents (e.g. transcripts, CV, etc.) in pdf format to upload.
  • Email addresses for your academic referees. You should ensure you have theirconsent before you apply.
  • A choice of up to two colleges to consider your application.
  • Apply Online using the GRADSAF

When you have completed the necessary preparation, and you are ready to begin your online application, you should take note of the following important information.

  • There is an application charge of (GBP Sterling) £50 per application. You can make the payment by providing your credit card details to our secure server when you submit the online application.
  • Your application is not complete without the required supporting documentationwhich can be uploaded via your self service account after you submit the online application form.
  • You will need to submit a separate application, with separate supporting documents, for each course you wish you to apply for.

Upload Supporting Documentation

Once you have submitted your application, you will be given access to your Self-Service Account. You will have 14 days from submission of your application to upload all mandatory documents.

Please check your course's entry to see what supporting documents you will be required to submit. These will also be listed on your self-service account once you have submitted your application. For more information on what the specific requirements of each document are, and how to submit them, please see the section on Supporting Documentation.

Check further details on University website

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