Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury and London, Hackney Wick (Here East)

The UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering pursues a deeper understanding of the interactions between the built environment and human wellbeing, health, productivity, energy use and climate change. Our multidisciplinary research programme and strong industry links provide an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD study.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
October 2024
February 2025
May 2025
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Research degree students start their programme in BSEER in September or January each academic year. Starting at other times is by exception where a strong justification is made.

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 2

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.

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

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 academics, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers carry out world-leading research in the field of sustainable building design, engineering and social science. Our research is original, influential, and always relevant to the biggest global challenges. Our research themes are interdisciplinary, overlapping, and dynamic. Our ultimate goal is to deliver interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary built environment research to improve wellbeing, health and sustainability. 

Our specialist expertise covers a variety of interconnected research themes related to the built environment, including but not limited to:

We use a range of methods in our research, including:

  • Measurement, monitoring and testing
  • System dynamics 
  • Social and participatory research
  • Urban modelling and geospatial analysis
  • Building performance simulation, evaluation and optimisation
  • Data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Building physics and mathematical methods

If you have a research idea that falls within our research themes, a MPhil/PhD in Environmental Design and Engineering could be the right path for you. To get started with your application follow the four-step application process on our ‘How to apply for an Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD’ page before submitted your formal application on this page.

Who this course is for

Our MPhil/PhD programme appeals to students from across many disciplines such as design, engineering, social science, health, and more. We appreciate such diversity in our student’s backgrounds because it helps address the grand challenges we are interested in.

What this course will give you

Are you interested in making our buildings, towns and cities more sustainable, healthier, more efficient and productive places to live? We explore exciting, emerging themes in built environment study and reflect the joined-up, interdisciplinary ways of thinking, communicating and working that are increasingly in demand in industry. And we do it in central London, an inspirational world capital of the building design industry. MPhil/PhD Students are core to our activities, in terms of contributing to the ground-breaking research already underway and in building future research capacity here in the UK and around the world.

You will have the opportunity to work across disciplinary boundaries across The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources – home to four specialist sustainability-focused Institutes on energy, resources, environmental design and engineering, and heritage. Studying with us is about excelling at your own discipline, whilst benefiting from thinking and working with interdisciplinary colleagues. This will allow you to develop your research skills and open new career opportunities in the broad field of Environmental Design and Engineering.

You will be a part of The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, which brings together the multidisciplinary specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the built environment of the future. The QS World University Rankings (2023) places The Bartlett as #1 for Architecture and Built Environment studies in the world, and #1 in the UK for the ninth year in a row. The Bartlett's research received the UK's most world-leading ratings for Built Environment research in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

The foundation of your career

We aim to train highly employable graduates who are equipped with the required analytical capability, research knowledge, management skills, and professional values to become leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs in their chosen field. Leadership, communication, teamwork, language and business skills are refined in the high-quality multidisciplinary research environment through our taught and research programmes, workshops, internal and external seminars.


A PhD indicates a highly qualified researcher, capable of independent analytical thought. It is a highly regarded qualification for those wishing to attain senior management positions in industry, consultancies and public sector organisations and is essential for those interested in pursuing careers in academia. Our graduates’ trajectories are diverse and many of our alumni have gone on to careers in academic research and teaching as well as with UK based international government and policy organisations, consultancies, and industry.


Supervision and mentorship is available from world-leading researchers with national and international contacts and collaborations across policy, government, industry and academic sectors. The Bartlett is built on enterprise, and the same is true of the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering. We work with organisations such as Arup, Aedas, BR, Buro Happold, Clarion Group, Feilden Clegg Bradley, Hawkins Brown, Max Fordham and NICE. Our students also gain access to our excellent network as well as workshops, seminars and social events held by our Faculty, Institute and the other Institutes within the school.

Teaching and learning

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time or five years part time. Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame.

Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline or appropriate to the interdisciplinary work.

A full-time PhD is a significant time commitment. You should expect to dedicate around 35 hours per week to your research. You should meet frequently with your supervisors and engage with the departmental and UCL communities more widely through events, training, and networking opportunities.

Research areas and structure

  • Building Performance and Processes
  • Energy Use in Buildings
  • Building Stock Modelling
  • Healthy Buildings
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Performance
  • Light and Lighting
  • Facility Management
  • Outdoor Environment
  • Systems Thinking
  • Workplace Innovation

Research environment

At UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering we pursue a deeper understanding of the interactions between the built environment and health, human wellbeing, productivity, energy use and climate change. We have a large PhD cohort working on a wide range of projects across our research themes. Our staff and students have a passion to make the world a better place, and a commitment to creating and communicating evidence to achieve this goal.

We are based in Central House in the centre of London, and have a range of Environmental Design and Engineering laboratory facilities at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Desks are available for PhD students and academics using a hot-desking system.

All students are initially registered for an MPhil degree. Those studying full-time for a PhD undertake a formal “upgrade process” at 9-18 months, including a presentation and viva, and if successful are registered as PhD students. Students have up to two upgrade attempts.
The PhD programme normally lasts a minimum of three years. Once you have completed this period, you are able to apply for “Continuing Research Status” (CRS), with no further fees, if your studies are sufficiently advanced and you meet the CRS entry criteria. Some funders instead offer four-year scholarships with no possibility of entering Continuing Research Status. You can submit a thesis for assessment in an oral viva at the conclusion of your studies either at the end of  the 3 years,  the end of your funded period or during CRS.

Part-time students follow the same programme as full-time students, except that the programme length is five years, with up to two additional years in Continuing Research Status, and the first upgrade attempt normally takes place after 15 months of initial registration.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100 £14,050

Route code RRDEERSEDE01

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

As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas. Depending on your choice of thesis additional costs may also arise from specialist software and equipment that is not freely available at UCL.

The Bartlett provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition. For more information please see The Bartlett’s funding and scholarships page. You can also find out more about scholarships and funding for an Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD on our website.

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 Bartlett Promise Scholarship is a long-term project from our Faculty to attract students from a broader range of backgrounds and tackle the lack of diversity in the built environment. Please see the UK PhD scholarship page for more information on eligibility eligibility criteria, selection process and FAQs. You can also find out more about scholarships and funding for an Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD on our website.

We also occasionally have funded studentships available. These are advertised on the Funded Research Opportunities page and can be found by filtering to the ‘Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources’. If you would like funded studentship opportunities sent to you via email, please register your interest in studying Environmental Design and Engineering at Postgraduate Research level with us.

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 PhD Scholarship

Deadline: 19 May 2024
Value: Full fees, plus £19,668 maintenance (Normal duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 12 January 2024
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

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants should send an informal research enquiry before applying. See our ‘How to apply for an Environmental Design and Engineering MPhil/PhD’ page to read the four-step process on how to do this.

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: 2024-2025

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