Chemical Engineering MPhil, PhD

Chemical Engineering MPhil, PhD

MPhil - full time: minimum 12 months, part time minimum 24 months
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months, part time: for staff minimum 72 months
PhD combined - full time: minimum 48 months with 12 months of full time study at the University in periods of a three month duration


The MPhil and PhD programmes in Chemical Engineering attract students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds such as statistics, maths, electrical engineering, chemistry and physics. You may work on multidisciplinary research projects in collaboration with colleagues across the University or from external organisations.

Video: Find out what our current PhD students think about conducting research in

Research in the School of Engineering is cross-disciplinary and our strategy is to ensure that our research groups grow and provide a balanced portfolio of activities for the future. This is achieved in part through MPhil and PhD supervision.

Advanced materials

Every article, instrument, machine or device we use depends for its success upon materials, design and effective production.  We work on a wide range of materials topics including:

  • new material development
  • optimising of materials processing
  • testing and evaluation at component scale and at high spatial resolution
  • modelling
  • failure analysis

Much of our work relates to materials and processes for renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage. We also use biological and bio-inspired processes to develop new functional materials.

The Group Head is Professor Steve Bull, Cookson Group Chair of Materials Engineering – high spatial resolution mechanics. His research focuses on development and testing of compliant and porous materials, and the use of sustainable materials. Professor Bull is the 2013 recipient of the Tribology Silver Medal presented by the Tribology Trust, the top national award in this area.


Since 2008 we have:

  • won over £3m in research funding from EPSRC, EU and industry
  • published more than 90 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings
  • seen more than 20 PhD students graduate
  • delivered more than 40 invited, keynote and plenary talks at International Conferences including a plenary at Nanoscale Multilayers, Madrid 2013 (Bull)

Electrochemical engineering science

Electrochemical Engineering Science (EES) arose out of the pioneering fuel cell research at Newcastle in the 1960s.  We are continuing this research on new catalyst and membrane materials, optimising electrode structures and developing meaningful fuel cell test procedures. 

We are investigating electrochemical methods for surface structuring, probing and testing at the micron and nanoscale.  More recently, we have been using electrochemical analysis to understand cellular and microbial catalysis and processes. 

Applications of our research are in:

  • energy production and storage
  • micro and nanoscale device fabrication
  • medical and health care applications
  • corrosion protection

The Group Head is Professor Sudipta Roy. Professor Roy's research focuses on materials processing, micro/nano structuring and corrosion.


We have:

  • won grant income for biological fuel cells (SUPERGEN), energy storage and the Marie Curie Network (SUSHGEN)
  • received a Knowledge Transfer Account grant for medical and healthcare technologies. 
  • spun out a business called MESMOPROC EACI from Professor Roy's research
  • seen 23 PhD students graduating from our research group during the period 2008-2013
  • won the runner-up prize in The Blue Print Business Plan Competition (2010)
  • been honoured by appointments to visiting Professorships at Waseda University (2008)

In addition we have contributed towards Leadership in Electrochemical Engineering Futures in UK and Europe by serving on European Energy Research Agency (EERA), Joint Programme on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technologies, The European Working Party on Electrochemical Engineering (WPEE-EFCE) and Society of Chemical Industry Electrochemical Technology Group (SCI-ECTG)

Process intensification

Process intensification is the philosophy that processes can often be made smaller, more efficient and safer using new process technologies and techniques, resulting in order of magnitude reductions in the size of process equipment. This leads to substantial capital cost savings and often a reduction in running costs.

The Group Head is Professor Adam Harvey. Professor Harvey's research focuses on Oscillatory Baffled Reactors (OBRs), biofuel processing and heterogeneous catalysis.


The group's research income since 2008 is approximately £9 million, from a diverse range of funders including the:

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • European Union
  • Technology Strategy Board (TSB)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Carbon Trust

Notable grants include an EPSRC Platform grant, involvement in two SUPERGEN projects and an ERC Advanced Grant. The group is also active in a number of areas of EPSRC's recently established Catalysis Research Hub.

We have:

  • seen 20 PhD students graduating from the group
  • 130 Publications
  • 2,500 citations
  • given over 50 invited talks
  • 20 visiting researchers
  • received the IChemE Brennan Medal 2008 (Reay and Harvey)

Process modelling and optimisation

Our goal is to attain better insight into process behaviour to achieve improved process and product design and operational performance. The complexity of the challenge arises from the presence of physiochemical interactions, multiple unit operations and multi-scale effects.

Underpinning our activity is the need for improved process and product characterisation through the development and application of process analytical techniques, hybrid statistical and empirical modeling and high throughput technologies for chemical synthesis.

The Group Head is Professor Elaine Martin. Professor Martin's research focuses on Process Analytical Technologies, Statistical and Empirical Process Data Modelling, and Process Performance Monitoring.


We have:

  • achieved the IchemE Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering award 2012
  • achieved the IchemE Chemical Engineering Project of the Year Award 2012
  • established the Engineering Doctoral (EngD) Centre in Biopharmaceutical Process Development costing £6.2m
  • been awarded over £6m in EPSRC,TSB, EU grants and industrial sponsorship
  • seen 27 PhD graduates since 2008
  • published over 60 refereed journal papers (over 80% are co-authored within the group)
  • seen Professor Martin awarded an OBE for Services to Science and made a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Working with industry

Industrial involvement is a part of some PhDs and covers a wide range of activities such as:

  • food processing
  • water treatment systems
  • process intensification technology
  • solvent extraction
  • polymer reactors
  • process modelling and control
  • design of electrochemical reactors and fuel cells
  • clean technology

Related Degrees

  • Sustainable Chemical Engineering MSc, PGDip

    Our Sustainable Chemical Engineering MSc, PGDip gives scientists and engineers with an understanding of sustainable engineering practices the opportunity to work with researchers in the field of new energy technologies. This includes areas such as fuel cells and gasification, process intensification and new advanced materials.

  • Applied Process Control MSc, PGDip

    The Applied Process Control MSc/PGDip will qualify you to manage the challenges of modern process control and process automation technology. It will provide you with advanced understanding of the principles of chemical engineering, and process control and automation methodologies.

All related programmes

Training & Skills

As a research student you will receive a tailored package of academic and support elements to ensure you maximise your research and future career. The academic information is in the programme profile and you will be supported by our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme, doctoral training centres and Research Student Support Team.

Researcher development programme

Our Science, Agriculture and Engineering Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme aims to help you develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during your research degree.

Our programme will help you to:

  • complete a training needs analysis, so that you know what your current skills are and where you need help and development
  • use your training needs analysis to create your personal development plan
  • identify appropriate workshops or other events that will help you most and best address your development needs
  • gain the personal and professional key skills development for the successful completion of your research degree

Postgraduate research student support

Our award winning Research Student Support Team is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. The team can help and advise you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.

IAPETUS Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training

IAPETUS is a partnership that joins the leading research universities of Newcastle, Durham, Glasgow, St Andrews and Stirling together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, in a united approach to doctoral research and training the next generation of leaders in the science of the natural environment.

IAPETUS is a multidisciplinary Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), funded and accredited by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), offering PhD students a world-class environment in which to study. This includes:

  • fully-funded PhD studentships
  • supervision and support from academics and researchers who are world-leaders in their field
  • tailored training and development programmes
  • placements and internship opportunities
  • high-quality laboratories, facilities and resources

IAPETUS doctoral research projects available to study at Newcastle.

Fees & Funding

2019-2020 fees

Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.

EU students starting at Newcastle in 2019 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.

Funding opportunities

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 honours degree and preferably a good master's degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.

Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: for further information.

English Language Requirements

Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.

Please email us at for further information.

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.

How to Apply

You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.

Before you apply you should find and contact a research supervisor from the Science, Agriculture and Engineering Graduate School.

Start dates

There are usually three possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:

  • January
  • April
  • September

There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.

International students should apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.


If you live outside the UK/EU you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.


Jie Zhang
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor
School of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7266