Research course


Brunel University, London · Design

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Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline.

Our Design research vision is to be a leading provider of design research that responds to major societal issues and is at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and design practice. Design at Brunel is an interdisciplinary activity and our research approach seeks to integrate human, environmental and technological elements – combining human centred design investigation with technological or systems factors, enabled by design thinking and processes.

Brunel Design has a well-established record of research excellence, with multidisciplinary, product related design research grounded on strong engineering design traditions. Research in Design is organised according to following three thematic priorities:

  • Human Centred Research (through Inclusive Design, Design for Aging Demographics, Perception Enhancement and (HCDI), the Human Centred Design Institute)
  • Design for Sustainability (through Sustainability and Social Responsibility, Cleaner Electronics, and Advanced Materials and Manufacture)
  • Design for Innovation and the Creative Industries’ (including Design Innovation Management, Open Design, Design Entrepreneurship, Creativity and the Digital Economy, Digital design - digital production, and Information Architecture)

Areas of expertise include:

  • Human Centred Design
  • Trust in autonomous vehicles
  • Inclusive Design and Design of Healthcare Systems
  • Perception Enhancement
  • Design and Sustainability – theory, methods and tools
  • Design for 3D printing and printed electronics
  • 4D printing / shape memory materials for additive manufacturing
  • Social impact of distributed manufacturing systems
  • Design Innovation Management
  • Digital design and Digital production
  • Open design and Co –design
  • Social Innovation
  • Pedagogy and curriculum

Find out more

MPhil degree option

An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.

Information for international students

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 59 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 63% (min 58% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 90 (min 20 in all)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1895 265599