Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1).

An interview will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

Brunel University London has partnered with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre to provide an opportunity for students to undertake in-depth research in combination with the industrial experience of TWI across the varied disciplines essential to structural integrity.

Considering the expertise and track record of both Brunel and NSIRC-based staff, the following areas have been identified as the main research strengths within the wider field of Structural Integrity:

  • Dynamic response of materials and structures (modelling, experimental characterisation and design/optimisation for composites and metals);
  • Structural health monitoring based on ultrasound wave propagation and acoustic emissions in solids (modelling, experimental validation, signal processing and sensors);
  • Steel, concrete and hybrid structures (material design, manufacturing, modelling and experimental characterisation);
  • Fatigue and fracture (modelling, experimental characterisation);
  • Extreme loading (e.g. fire, earthquake, blast and progressive collapse)
  • Fluid-structure interaction (unboned flexible risers)
  • Manufacturing (e.g. sheet metal forming, bulk-forming, casting, extrusion, 3D printing).

A key aim of the PhD programme is to supply a stream of industry-ready, world-class engineers and scientists in structural integrity disciplines such as fail-safe design, corrosion control, structural health monitoring, ageing asset management and fitness for service.

Industry linked location

The programme is delivered at the NSIRC facilities based in Granta Park, Cambridge. A proportion of the research activities may take place out in the field (external sites) including industrial client sites depending on the details of the particular project. However, students are based at NSIRC at least 90 per cent of the time, where they are able to take advantage of their partner university resources such as the virtual learning environment, library and academic support. You are expected to live in the Cambridge area for the duration of your studies and make use of the shuttle bus to Granta Park.

In structural integrity, we have well-established collaboration with a number of industrial partners who have supported a range of fundamental and applied PhD research projects. Our partners include:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • British Council
  • Caterpillar Inc
  • Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK
  • Constellium France SAS
  • DSTL Commercial Services
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • European Commission
  • European Space Agency
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Intel Corporation USA
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Korea Institute of Industrial Technology
  • mLED Limited
  • National Aerospace Technology Programme
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Power OLEDs Ltd
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council
  • Technology Strategy Board
  • The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers Alias Wire Workers
  • TWI Limited

Equipment and Lab Facilities

Students at NSIRC conduct their research using some of the world's most advanced analysis and testing technologies. NSIRC houses £20 million of state-of-the-art equipment, acquired using investment from BIS and HEFCE.

This equipment ensures that NSIRC has world-leading capabilities, is best placed to meet its research commitments, and is able to address the research topics specified by the industrial partners. It includes:

  • Metallic and polymeric materials analysis and characterisation equipment.
  • Advanced testing equipment to measure fracture, fatigue, creep and corrosion performance.
  • High-pressure testing equipment for large scale tests in pipes and vessels.
  • Equipment for testing in H 2 S, CO 2 and other aggressive environments.
  • Re-configurable, large scale facilities for specialised component/structure testing.
  • Systems and software for process simulation, modelling of structural performance and lifetime prediction.
  • Residual stress measurement equipment.
  • A range of NDT equipment for defect detection and procedure development.
  • Remote and intelligent sensors and data analysis tools for condition monitoring applications.
  • Selected welding/coating and thermal cycle simulation equipment for characterisation, development and proving of high integrity processes.
  • Specific/bespoke equipment to address defined areas of research focus of the NSIRC founder sponsors.
  • Dimensional measurement equipment.
  • Equipment for test piece preparation (cutting, welding, machining etc.)


The degree is accredited by The Welding Institute as further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Students working on projects in the field of non-destructive testing will also be able to acquire membership of BINDT (British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing).

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.

Information for international students

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

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

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. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU 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
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1895 265599