Research course


Open University · Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

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Entry requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or masters degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK or other recognised degree-awarding body.

Months of entry


Course content

The interdisciplinary strengths of The Open University are well suited to the challenges of energy science technology and policy. Our interest in energy systems span our expertise in end-user concerns and the potential for consumers to become ‘prosumers’; through the design of regional energy systems; to national energy policy and global considerations. There is particular interest in low-carbon energy options and in the needs and interests of developing countries.

The OU has a long-standing interest in matters relating to civil nuclear power at both a technical and a more policy-oriented level. The university is engaged with matters relating to the future of our energy system, particularly involving decarbonisation and the move to smarter systems. The issues extend beyond the ‘physical layer’ of power flows, to include the ‘cyber layer’ of information technology and the ‘social layer’ of end-user behaviours. These interests link to the concerns of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, where researcher interests span: deterministic and statistical modelling and dynamical and complex systems. These researchers have a growing interest in energy research including applications in smart grids, energy storage, and demand forecasting.

The OU has a very well established capability in energy materials science especially as concerns steel metallurgy and materials engineering. These interests include bonding and residual stresses – topics of great interest to the energy sector. In addition we have energy materials work related to nano-structures, graphene, innovative solar photovoltaics, electricity storage (batteries), nuclear materials and semi-conductor science. At the interface of technology and policy we have a growing engagement with fuel cells and hydrogen-based energy systems. This is one way in which our interests in energy relate to an interest in transport.

The Open University is part of the Doctoral Training Alliance – ENERGY of the University Alliance. We are delighted with the success of DTA ENERGY in securing research support for OU students. DTA Energy enriches the student research and training experience for students associated with energy matters at the OU.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Course Enquiries
+44 (0)1908 655113