About the course
The DPhil in Engineering Science will offer you the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge, understanding and expertise in your chosen field of engineering research. To support your research, you will develop broad skills in relevant areas of mathematical and computational modelling, in the design and build of apparatus, in the development of software, and in data analytics and visualisation.
A key aspect of your research experience in the department will be exposure to the broad sweep of today’s engineering research. The department’s research groups cluster into the following general areas:
- thermofluids and turbomachinery
- solid mechanics and materials,
- civil and offshore
- information, control and vision
- electrical and optoelectronic
- chemical and process
- biomedical engineering
However, the department is committed to considering engineering as a unified subject, allowing interdisciplinary research to flourish, both across these areas and to other departments in the University.
In the first year, you will develop research skills in two ways. Firstly, you will read the current literature, often in reading groups, and attend research seminars, relevant lectures and training courses. Secondly, you will design and build apparatus, develop software, or both to address your own research topic. Often there is external involvement and you will develop your work in collaboration with researchers from industry and other research organisations.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Engineering Science and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Engineering Science.
You will join your supervisor’s research group which normally has post- doctoral researchers and other research students working on broadly similar research themes. Typically you would interact daily with member of the group and have weekly contact with your supervisor. Many groups have weekly meetings where members discuss their research or perhaps present other published work.
As well as ongoing assessment by your supervisors, you will be required to write a report and give a presentation on your research at the end of the first year and to present a detailed and coherent plan for the research-intensive phase in the second and third years of your doctoral studies (Transfer of Status from Probationary Research Student to DPhil Student). Progress towards completion is again formally assessed at the beginning of the third year of study (Confirmation of DPhil Status).
At the end of your research you will be required to submit a substantial thesis which is read and examined by experts in the field, one from the department and one from elsewhere. You will then defend this thesis at a Viva Voce examination with the two examiners. It is anticipated that the thesis will result in the publication of two or three journal papers.
Doctoral graduates from Engineering Science are ideally equipped for careers in a wide range of engineering, which is often in their specialisms but in many cases is not. Most enjoy engineering-related careers ranging including: engineering companies, consulting companies, start-up companies (sometimes based on the students research) research and development companies and academia. Others enter the broad range of professions where their high degree of ability in mathematical and systems modelling is required, such as finance and patent law. The location of jobs varies from Oxford to New Zealand.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.