About your course
Fascinating postgraduate research opportunities await in the Department of Civil Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University. Work alongside leading experts to find solutions to real world problems.
- Study full or part time over one to six years
- Complete your research degree (MPhil/PhD) in a Department known for its internationally-acclaimed research
- Explore scholarship opportunities
- Benefit from expert supervision and researcher training
- Enjoy excellent facilities and great employment connections
Join a thriving and supportive environment where students are viewed as a valued and integral part of the Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute.
Introduction to the School
The Department of Civil Engineering’s Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute works collaboratively with leading international universities and research centres across the EU, the Middle East, the Far East, US, Norway and New Zealand. It is also supported internationally by the EU, UK and USA Ministry of Defence, Carbon Trust, Technology Strategy Board and has secured funding to develop a range of innovative projects from industrial partners such as United Utilities, Ministry of Defence, NHS, Tarmac and Taylor Woodrow.
The institute is involved with various high-profile conferences and events, including the Annual International Conference on Asphalt, Pavement Engineering and Infrastructure, the International Conference on Sensing Technology and the Annual BEAN (Built Environment and Natural Environment) Research Student Conference.
Why study this course at LJMU?
We offer postgraduate researchers access to world-class facilities plus support and guidance from our expert academics and dedicated team of outstanding technicians.
Our Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute focuses heavily on applied research, closely linked to industry requirements but also includes significant areas of theoretical ‘blue-skies’ work aimed at addressing longer-term global needs. We are securing increasing research income and have a long-standing history of national and international collaborations with other academic institutions and industry partners.
In recent years BEST has secured more than £7 million of research funding, published close to 600 research papers, books and industry reports and enabled 40 research
students to complete their PhDs.
Our academic team consists of industry professionals working alongside nationally and internationally acclaimed research active academics, who collectively deliver a broad-based and professionally relevant learning experience.
Programme outline and structure
Expert supervision is offered in the following areas:
- Sustainable technologies
- Water and wastewater treatment technologies
- Catastrophic failure of tanks
- The use of sensors in the water industry
- Renewable energies and recycling
- The use of innovative techniques and materials for pavement design
The programme route you undertake will depend on your qualifications and experience. Most of our students initially register for MPhil/PhD and go on to complete their PhD via successful progression from MPhil.
You can study for an MPhil full time over one or two years or part time over two to four years. Progressing from an MPhil (and including MPhil registration), you can study for a PhD full time over 33 to 48 months or part time over 45 to 84 months. If you are taking a direct route PhD, you can study full time over two to three years or part time over three to six years.
On joining LJMU you will be allocated up to three supervisors (including a Director of Studies) who will work with you during your studies. Progression monitoring is undertaken formally and informally by this team on an ongoing basis.
Throughout your studies, you will also have the support of LJMU’s Graduate School which offers expert advice and guidance to those enrolled on MPhil and PhD programmes.
What you will study on this degree
Specific research-related training needs are identified on an individual basis.
You can study topics such as:
- Advanced Presentation Skills
- Applying for Ethical Approval
- How to be an Effective Researcher
- Poster Presentation/Design
- Postgraduate Employability Skills
- Project Management
- Writing Skills including Creative Planning for Writing your Thesis
- Surviving the Viva
- Speed Reading
How will I be assessed?
Final examination for both the MPhil and the PhD is by thesis and oral examination.
The MPhil differs from the PhD in terms of the depth of study required and the extent of your personal contribution to knowledge. It requires competence in conducting an independent enquiry as well as in the use of appropriate research methods and techniques. Examiners will expect you to display satisfactory background knowledge of the subject.
To gain a PhD you are expected to show mastery of a special field and to have made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge, or the generation of new ideas. Examiners will expect you to be at the forefront of understanding in your chosen topic.
If you are studying for an MPhil you may be able to progress to a PhD, via written and oral assessments in Year 2 (for full time students) or Year 3 (for part time students).
Staff research interests
The Department of Civil Engineering is recognised as one of the UK’s leading research departments for built environment and sustainability research and we are ranked in the top 15 higher education institutions working in this field.
Our researchers produce internationally-important research within key specialist areas, including:
- Civil engineering
- Building services engineering
- Architectural technology
- Architectural engineering
- Construction management
Recent research projects have focused on:
- Producing energy from waste using advanced technologies
- Efficient recycling systems
- Low/zero carbon buildings
- Sustainable construction management, procurement and facilities management
- Sustainable communities and real estate
- Facilities and building performance
- Unique wireless sensors for real time monitoring
- Water, wastewater, oil and gas
- Material characterisation
- Food quality
- Building health monitoring
- Healthcare and patient wellbeing
Entry requirements (Home)
To study for an MPhil or MPhil/PhD you should have, or expect to obtain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. If you are applying for a PhD direct you must:
- have a Masters degree with a research dissertation in a relevant subject
- have undertaken research training directly related to the PhD project
If you have alternative qualifications, your application will be considered on merit. Appropriate research and previous experience will be taken into account.
Application and Selection
All research degree registrations are subject to approval by the Faculty and University’s Research Degrees Committee. The Applications process is as follows:
- Complete and submit your application using this online form
- You will receive an acknowledgement
- Your application will be considered by the Admissions Tutor
- We will take up your academic references
- You may need to provide further information or attend an interview
- You will be informed if your application has been successful and will find out about any conditions of acceptance
Entry requirements (International)
Besides standard qualifications, international students must also have an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent).
Due to Visa restrictions, international students may only study in the UK on a full time basis. However, you may be able to undertake a part time research degree in your home country and travel to LJMU for campus-based research for a short period each year. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details.
To obtain a Tier 4 Visa for full time study in the UK, you will need to show evidence that the money to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your Visa application. For more details, see our international website.
Certain areas of study require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance. Find out how to apply for ATAS clearance here, see more information about ATAS on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website or contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance.
6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)
58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.
Securing funding can be one of the main hurdles you face when considering postgraduate research. However, help is available. LJMU has a team of fees and funding experts who can offer advice based on your personal circumstances. You can contact them on 0151 904 6056/6057 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also wish to contact the Department of Civil Engineering direct about locally available funding opportunities.
Studying for a postgraduate research degree enhances your employability in a number of ways.
As well as enabling you to focus on your specific areas of interest and expand your subject knowledge ready for employment in your chosen sector, a postgraduate research qualification enables you to take charge of your career path by demonstrating your contribution to an area of knowledge. It enhances your self-confidence and showcases your ability to work independently and ‘go it alone’.
According to a report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), more than a quarter of graduates felt that their employment prospects were increased by their PG qualification. And when it comes to earnings, those with a postgrad qualification have been shown to earn an average of 24% more than those who leave education with an undergraduate degree.
Some postgraduate research students are already in full time employment when they begin their studies, whilst others are recent graduates looking to extend their research capabilities and subject expertise.
A good proportion of our students return to their existing roles with enhanced career prospects, others move on to further study or take up teaching roles in educational establishments.
International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.
Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.
Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.
Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.
LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.
These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.
You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international
Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:
- new international applicants
- current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
- LJMU international alumni
English for Postgraduate courses bursary
A bursary will be available for students who must complete the six week English for Postgraduate Studies course to improve their IELTS score by 0.5 prior to enrolling on their postgraduate taught or research degree at LJMU.
This bursary take the form of a tuition fee waiver, which will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol on your degree programme. You do not need to complete the online scholarship form in order to receive this bursary. Please note: If you are awarded this bursary you are not eligible to apply for an international scholarship.
The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes