Energy, Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The 4-year Energy Resilience and the Built Environment PhD programme trains graduates to pursue original research that supports the transition to zero carbon and the transformation of the relationship between energy supply and demand. Students will benefit from subject-specific and transferrable skills training courses, support from leading researchers, and access to a network of alumni and potential employers. 

UK students International students
Study mode
Full-time
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£5,860
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
Duration
4 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Our energy system is undergoing a major and rapid transformation as we move towards net zero carbon and away from centralised power production from fossil fuels. The built environment plays a key role, as a major source of energy demand and a provider of flexibility and resilience to the energy system. A new relationship between supply and demand must be forged, where how we consume, and store energy is central to ensuring system robustness and optimising costs. This doctoral programme will train you to understand the systemic, radical, multi and interdisciplinary challenges we face and equip you with the leadership credentials to effect change.

The MPhil/PhD programme is run by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment and is open to both students who are awarded scholarships by the CDT and to those funded from other sources. The 4-year programme will provide the knowledge, research and transferable skills to enable graduates in subjects from physics to social sciences to pursue research in this emerging field. Supported by experienced researchers, and working together as a cohort, students will study a wide range of topics at the intersection of the energy system and the built environment.

More information can be found on the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment website.
 

Who this course is for

This programme is for students who would like to obtain a PhD in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment. We offer a 4-year programme, where the first year contains training to upskill students to better complete their PhD, including those from outside the energy and buildings sector. We offer both fully funded studentships and places to those who are funded from other sources. Fully funded studentships are advertised on our website.

What this course will give you

The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD programme adopts a holistic, multi-disciplinary and international perspective, focusing on the interactions between energy supply systems and buildings, and the need to create healthy and productive home and work environments. You will be trained within thriving research institutes by skilled research teams, additionally supported by a management team with considerable experience of doctoral training.

The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD programme is designed to support and challenge both students with no previous experience of the sector, and those already within it. The research you will undertake will be complemented by training, in particular the six interlinked taught courses in the first year of study, which run alongside your individual work. These pass/fail courses provide context and technical content from different perspectives: economics, physics, engineering, social sciences, data analysis and research skills. This will help you transfer your existing skills to the research domain and develop new ones.

By working with students in your own year group, and the wider programme cohort, you will develop a deep understanding of the sector from a range of perspectives. Research-specific training is complemented by workshops, networking opportunities, and optional skills training. By developing research and workplace skills, and combining that with deep sector knowledge, you will be well placed to develop a career in this interesting field, addressing the climate emergency by contributing to a transition to zero carbon energy in a manner that supports society.
 

The foundation of your career

The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD programme will not only support you in developing the technical skills needed to undertake research. Training will develop your understanding of the complexity and challenges of transforming this sector, requiring a multidisciplinary approach, and address the wider societal issues and ethical questions that a transformation of the sector will pose. The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD taught programme is complemented by our Energy Demand in Practice seminar series, run by CDT students these aim to explore career options, expand your network and help you understand the skills that employers look for.

Employability

The global transition to low carbon energy sources will require significant shifts to the interaction between people, buildings and energy systems. Significant new investment is expected, for example, in the UK the Clean Growth Strategy will support around £3.6bn of investment to upgrade around a million homes; spend £4.5bn to support innovative low carbon heat technologies in homes and businesses; and invest around £184m [including] two new £10m innovation programmes. Graduates of the closely related Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand have found employment in the UK Government in both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the International Energy Agency, the construction industry, consulting engineering and academia.

Networking

You will benefit from numerous opportunities to engage with our stakeholder community, through events such as the Annual Colloquium, which attracts attendees from across the buildings and energy industry, government, NGOs and academia, and our Summer Event. To complement this the annual Student Conference provides an opportunity to meet and engage with research students from across the UK and Ireland. You will also be encouraged to engage with the wider sector and research community through attending conferences and workshops. The Centre for Doctoral Training also offers a range of bespoke training events including: site visits, policy/careers seminars, writing workshops, academic skills workshops and breakfast seminars. 

Teaching and learning

Students begin their time in the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training with a residential week at Loughborough University. 

First year students then undertake six taught courses, assessed by coursework and presentations and one piece of assessed research.

Assessed taught courses are:

  • Energy economics and policy
  • Researcher Skills 1
  • Physics and engineering of the built environment
  • Socio-technical perspectives: theory and methods
  • Energy data analysis
  • Building Energy Modelling

The piece of assessed research is a pilot study, aiming to test the methods proposed in students’ PhD plans. Students must pass all year one taught courses and the first year report (pilot study) to progress on the programme, in addition to the normal MPhil/PhD progression requirements.

Second year students must pass their MPhil to PhD upgrade 6 months into their second year, to transfer to PhD registration.

Our students are further supported through annual reviews, which are carried out each year with supervisors and CDT Directors and provide a point for intervention should the student be struggling or otherwise in need of additional support.

As a research degree the MPhil/PhD programme is largely completed independently, with the support of at least two supervisors. Taught courses in year one require a similar time commitment to MSc modules: you will typically have 20 hours of lectures and class discussion per course, although this varies across the courses, plus you will need to undertake considerable self-study over each term (total time commitment per course is up to 150 hours). After term one, when you will only meet your supervisors occasionally, you will meet them more regularly. In years 2-4 you should expect to meet your supervisors at least once every month, ideally every fortnight. You will also receive support from the CDT team, attend events such as our annual colloquium, which is attended by academics, policymakers and industry, and undertake short training courses as required.

As an Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD student you will take an active role in developing your training, career and supporting others both within UCL and across our partner institutions. You will collaborate to organise events and training. Past examples include careers workshops, skills sharing groups and industry talks.

We expect students to be on campus a minimum of two days per week, this is to encourage students to interact with their cohort and other students, as well as build professional relationships in-person with their supervisors and members of the Management Team.

Research areas and structure

  • Flexibility and resilience: the interaction between buildings and the whole supply system, through new generation and storage technology, enabled by smart control systems and new business models. 
  • Technology and system performance: demand reduction and decarbonisation of the built environment through design, construction methods, technological innovation, monitoring and regulation.
  • Comfort, health and well-being:  buildings and energy systems that create productive work environments and affordable, clean, safe homes.

Research environment

Energy Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD is hosted by the UCL Energy Institute, in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources. The school brings together sustainability expertise across energy, sustainable resources, heritage and environmental design and engineering. You will join one of these institutes to work with academics, researchers and other PhD students, researching a topic that aligns to the Centre for Doctoral Training’s core themes, as described above.

Our Faculty, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, brings together the multidisciplinary specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the built environment of the future. The QS World University Rankings (2022) places our Faculty, The Bartlett, as  #1 for Architecture/Built Environment studies in the UK and #3 in the World. The Bartlett's research received the UK's most world-leading ratings for Built Environment research in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

You will have the additional benefit of joining the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training’s cohort which cuts across the School and brings you together with students from our partners in Loughborough University and MaREI in Ireland. You will work with others within your year group, and across the whole Centre for Doctoral Training, sharing experiences, skills and supporting each other.

Energy Resilience and the Built Environment Centre for Doctoral Training offers a four year MPhil/PhD programme. Year one of the programme provides training to expand your knowledge and understanding of energy and the built environment, in addition to building skills that support your research and career. In addition to starting your research, you will complete six taught courses, enabling those without a background in energy and buildings to transition into this exciting field of study and developing the knowledge and skills of those who join us from a built environment discipline. You will also complete a first year report, detailing your research progress and plans for the remainder of your studies.

In years 2-4 you will focus on your research project, supported by your supervisors. You will also complete short training courses provided by UCL and the CDT in support of your studies and career development.

Following UCL’s route to achieving a PhD, you will initially be registered as an MPhil student and will be transferred to PhD registration following successful completion of the upgrade process, which generally takes place 18 months from your initial registration.

Fieldwork

Taught courses contain a small amount of fieldwork, local to London.

Individual research projects may require fieldwork, and students are encouraged to develop projects that align to their interests, in collaboration with their supervisors, the Management Team and any external organisations involved in their research.

Placement

The Energy Resilience and the Built Environment programme works with industry, government and NGOs to support relevant and impactful research. Many students will complete a placement with such an organisation as part of their PhD. Students will be encouraged to work with their supervisors and the Management Team to pursue a placement, if appropriate to their research.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment offers funded studentships, often in collaboration with industry or other partners. If you wish to pursue you own research topic, you will need to fund your position as an Incorporated Student through  winning a separately funded scholarship or your own funds. 
Costs for incorporated students include all stipend and fees, as well as the required attendance of a one-week intensive residential course (~£600). Students are likely to also require a laptop, attendance at conferences and workshops, programme related travel (site visits and teaching), attending events with our partners in Ireland and Loughborough (optional).

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Applicants who have their own source of funding, should email a CV and covering letter, which should include their research interests, to bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk. Applications will only be considered for a September intake, to align to the taught courses.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment offers fully funded EPSRC scholarships for UK Applicants to undertake the programme. Students who are eligible and applying for fully-funded scholarship should apply following the guidelines available on the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment applications page. In addition, UCL and The Bartlett Faculty operate a number of funding schemes for which students on the Energy Resilience and the Built Environment programme will be able to apply. In particular, the Bartlett Student Conference Fund provides support to many students to present at conferences, other opportunities include the Bartlett Research Projects Fund and Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - PhD

Deadline: 12 May 2023
Value: Full fees, plus £19,668 maintenance (Normal duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 13 January 2023
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students who are eligible and applying for fully-funded scholarship should apply for advertised opportunities on the ERBE CDT web page. Applicants who do not have sufficient experience of the field to select a specific topic, or who have their own source of funding, should email a CV and covering letter, which should include their research interests, to bseer.erbecdt@ucl.ac.uk . Applications will only be considered for a September intake, to align to the taught courses.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

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