UCL Graduate degrees


Energy, Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD

The 4 year Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE) PhD programme will train graduates to pursue original research to support the transition to zero carbon and the transformation of the relationship between 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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years
Part time: 7 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

To be confirmed (FT)
To be confirmed (PT)
To be confirmed (FT)
To be confirmed (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

International students

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.

Select your country:


The transition of our energy system to net zero carbon is a challenge; 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. ERBE 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 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.

Research areas

  • 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.
More information can be found on the department website: Energy, Resilience and the Built Environment MPhil/PhD

About this degree


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 ERBE management team and any external organisations involved in their research. 


The ERBE 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 ERBE team to pursue a placement, if appropriate to their research. 

Additional costs

Students not in receipt of an ERBE CDT scholarship are not eligible for its funding and are expected to fund their participation in the programme through winning a separately funded scholarship, or their own funds. Costs include the required attendance of a one-week intensive residential course (~£1000). Students are likely to also require a laptop (£500-1000), attendance at conferences and workshops (£1000), programme related travel (site visits and teaching, £50 p/a), attending ERBE events with our partners in Ireland and Loughborough (optional, and costs unknown).

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

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


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.


The Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment offers fully funded EPSRC scholarships for eligible applicants to undertake the ERBE programme.

Applicants for scholarships should apply for the advertised studentships, available through the ERBE website, and not speculatively.

In addition, UCL and The Bartlett operate a number of funding schemes for which students on the ERBE 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.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - Research

Deadline: 23 July 2021
Full fees, plus £17,631 maintenance and £1,200 for research costs/yr (Up to 4 years)
Based on financial need

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


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 BEIS, MHCLG, IEA, the construction industry, consulting engineering and academia.


The ERBE 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 ERBE taught programme is complemented by our Energy Demand in Practice seminar series, to help you to develop the necessary workplace and communication skills to succeed in business, to lead projects, to develop your own company, and to engage effectively with the public and with policymakers.


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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

We are on the brink of a revolution in the way we think about the relationship between energy supply and demand. This revolution will see the creation of a new energy system, requiring the deployment of emerging technologies and new business models. The ERBE programme adopts an 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 ERBE programme is designed to support and challenge both students with no previous experience of the sector, and those already within it. The new and exciting 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 research. 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.  

Department: Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

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.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021