By pursuing research in the School of Engineering, you'll join a successful research group. Our focus is on energy. Our mission is to foster, promote and conduct research of international quality. We attract high-quality graduates and researchers and train them to international standards.
This research degree and our other energy programmes focus on topics. including:
- novel geo-energy
- power electronics
- drives and machines
- the sustainable development and use of key resources
We can supervise MPhil and PhD projects in topics that relate to our main areas of research, which are:
Our research spans the whole supply chain:
- growing novel feedstocks (various biomass crops, algae etc)
- processing feedstocks in novel ways
- converting feedstocks into fuels and chemical feedstocks
- developing new engines to use the products
Cockle Park Farm has an innovative anaerobic digestion facility. Work at the farm will develop, integrate and exploit technologies. These will link with the generation and efficient use of renewable energy from land-based resources. This includes biomass, biofuel and agricultural residues.
We also develop novel technologies for gasification and pyrolysis. This large multidisciplinary project brings together expertise in:
- land use
- social science with process technologists and engineers
It is complemented by molecular studies on the biology of non-edible oilseeds as sources for production of biodiesel.
New ways of obtaining clean energy from the geosphere is a vital area of research. Particularly given current concerns over the limited remaining resources of fossil fuels.
Newcastle University won a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education award. This was for its world-renowned Hydrogeochemical Engineering Research and Outreach (HERO) programme. The Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research seeks to build on its record of excellence and place the North East at the forefront of research in:
- ground-source heat pump systems
- other larger-scale sources of carbon-free geothermal energy
- developing more responsible modes of fossil fuel use
Our fossil fuel research encompasses both the use of a:
- novel microbial process (recently patented by Newcastle University). This is to convert heavy oil (and, by extension, coal) to methane
- coupling of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to underground coal gasification (UCG) using drilled boreholes
This hybrid technology (UCG-CCS) is well suited to early development in the North East. It still has 75% of its total coal resources in place.
We undertake fundamental and applied research. This is in various aspects of power generation and energy systems, including:
- the application of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen and biofuels to engines and dual-fuel engines
- domestic combined heat and power (CHP), and combined cooling, heating and power (trigeneration) systems. Both using waste vegetable oil and/or raw inedible oils
- biowaste methanisation
- biomass and biowaste combustion, gasification
- biomass co-combustion with coal in thermal power plants
- CO2 capture and storage for thermal power systems
- trigeneration with novel energy storage systems. This includes the storage of electrical energy, heat and cooling energy
- engine and power plant emissions monitoring and reduction technology
- novel engine configurations such as free-piston engines and the reciprocating Joule cycle engine
We are recognised as world leaders in hydrogen storage research. Our work covers the entire range of fuel cell technologies, from:
- high-temperature hydrogen cells
- low-temperature microbial fuel cells
We address some of the complex challenges which are slowing the uptake and impact of fuel cell technology.
Key areas of research include:
- liquid organic hydrides
- adsorption onto solid phase, nano-porous metallo-carbon complexes
Our research in this area has resulted in the development and commercialisation of novel gasifier technology. This is for hydrogen production and subsequent energy generation.
We have developed ways to produce alternative fuels. In particular, a novel biodiesel pilot plant that has attracted an Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) AspenTech Innovative Business Practice Award.
Major funding has been awarded for the development of fuel cells for commercial application. This has led to both patent activity and highly-cited research. Newcastle University is a key member of the SUPERGEN Fuel Cell Consortium. Significant developments have been made in:
- fuel cell modelling
- membrane technology
- anode development
- catalyst and fuel cell performance improvements
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2022-23.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
Find out about the different qualification options for this course.
An MPhil is available in all subject areas. You receive research training and undertake original research leading to the completion of a 40,000 - 50,000 word thesis.
A PhD is a doctorate or doctoral award. It involves original research that should make a significant contribution to the knowledge of a specific subject. To complete the PhD you will produce a substantial piece of work (80,000 – 100,000 words) in the form of a supervised thesis. A PhD usually takes three years full time.
How you'll learn
Off-campus study may be available in some circumstances, particularly if you have industrial sponsorship.
- Our programme includes intensive subject-specific supervision training in research methodologies and core skills You'll also have an opportunity to: undertake paid laboratory demonstrations
- tutor to gain teaching experience
Depending on your modules, you'll be assessed through a combination of:
We offer a wide range of projects for the thesis. These will be provided by our academics. You can also propose your own topic.
Our mission is to help you:
- stay healthy, positive and feeling well
- overcome any challenges you may face during your degree – academic or personal
- get the most out of your postgraduate research experience
- carry out admin and activities essential to progressing through your degree
- understand postgraduate research processes, standards and rules
We can offer you tailored wellbeing support, courses and activities.
You can also access a broad range of workshops covering:
- research and professional skills
- careers support
- health and safety
- public engagement
- academic development
Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAgE) researcher development programme
Each faculty offers a researcher development programme for its postgraduate research students. We have designed your programme to help you:
- perform better as a researcher
- boost your career prospects
- broaden your impact
Through workshops and activities, it will build your transferable skills and increase your confidence.
- techniques for effective research
- methods for better collaborative working
- essential professional standards and requirements
Your programme is flexible. You can adapt it to meet your changing needs as you progress through your doctorate.
Doctoral training and partnerships
There are opportunities to undertake your PhD at Newcastle within a:
- Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
- Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)
Being part of a CDT or DTP has many benefits:
- they combine research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics.
- you’ll study alongside a cohort of other PhD students
- they’re often interdisciplinary
- your PhD may be funded
If there are currently opportunities available in your subject area you’ll find them when you search for funding in the fees and funding section on this course.
The following centres/partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area in the future:
- EPSRC Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment
- IAPETUS2 Doctoral Training Partnership
- Sustainable Electric Propulsion Centre for Doctoral Training
- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Geospatial Systems
- EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU)
Our Careers Service
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
As a postgraduate student you'll usually be based in the Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research. Depending on your chosen area of study, you may also have the opportunity to work with one or more of our partner schools. This provides you with a unique and personally designed training and supervision programme.
You'll typically have access to:
- a modern open-plan office environment
- a full range of chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and marine engineering laboratories
- dedicated desk and PC facilities for each student within the research centre or partner schools
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for 2022 entry (per year)
We are unable to give an exact fee, this is why the fee is shown as a range. This fee range takes into account your research topic and resource requirements.
Your research topic is unique so it will have unique resource requirements. Resources could include specialist equipment, such as laboratory/workshop access, or technical staff.
If your research involves accessing specialist resources then you're likely to pay a higher fee. You'll discuss the exact nature of your research project with your supervisor(s). You'll find out the fee in your offer letter.
Home fees for research degree students
For 2022-23 entry, we have aligned our standard Home research fees with those set by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
For 2023-24 entry, we will again be aligning our standard Home research fees with those set by UKRI. The standard fee will be confirmed in Spring 2023 by UKRI.
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
Depending on your residency history, if you’re a student from the EU, other EEA or a Swiss national, with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll normally pay the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate and may be eligible for Student Finance England support.
EU students without settled or pre-settled status will normally be charged fees at the ‘International’ rate and will not be eligible for Student Finance England support.
If you are unsure of your fee status, check out the latest guidance here.
We support our EU and international students by providing a generous range of Vice-Chancellor's automatic and merit-based scholarships. See our searchable postgraduate funding page for more information.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.
You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.
If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Open days and events
You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year including:
- campus tours
- on-campus open days
- virtual open days
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
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You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
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