The Doctor of Engineering (EngD) – A Guide | FindAPhD.com

The Doctor of Engineering (EngD) – A Guide

Written by Sarah Hastings-Woodhouse

Studying a Doctor of Engineering (EngD) is an opportunity to collaborate with an industrial partner on ground-breaking Engineering research.

You'll work on addressing industrial challenges with companies ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to multinational corporations. And the best part is… They'll sponsor you to do it!

This guide explains what the EngD is, what the costs are and how to apply (including entry requirements). We also cover the differences between the EngD and a traditional PhD.

If you already know that an EngD is the right choice for you, you can browse EngD programmes here on the website.

What is an EngD?

The Doctor of Engineering is a specialised, industry-focused, professional doctorate in Engineering. Unlike a PhD, the EngD contains a significant taught component. This equips you with the technical and management skills needed to excel in your future career.

EngD candidates are known as research engineers. Together with a collaborating company and an academic supervisor, research engineers work to complete an independent research project addressing a live industrial challenge.

The EngD is a doctoral qualification, meaning that it is the highest qualification someone can achieve in the field of Engineering and of equal academic status to a PhD. However, there are some important differences between the two.

How much does it cost to do an EngD?

Annual tuition fees for EngD programmes in the UK are similar to PhD fees, ranging from £4,410-4,600 on average. Fees for international students will be considerably higher and can be up to £24,600.

Most EngD programmes have funding attached, which is provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSC), usually with a contribution from your industry sponsor. Research engineers will normally receive an annual, tax-free stipend to cover living costs and tuition fees, with sponsors often providing a ‘top-up’ of around £3,000.

For some EngD programmes, studentships are only available to UK students. This means international applicants will have to self-fund. There are many options available for students taking this route, which we cover in our guide to international PhD funding.

Who should apply for an EngD?

An EngD is a good option for anyone seeking the blend of technical and commercial skills needed for a senior position within the Engineering industry, whilst conducting original research at the doctoral level.

Unlike many other professional doctorates, which are designed for professionals with several years’ workplace experience, the EngD can also be a suitable qualification for those at the beginning of their career. It is not uncommon for students to progress straight onto an EngD after finishing their Masters or even undergraduate degree (that’s right, you might be able to skip the Masters entirely).

That said, many EngD applicants are Engineering professionals who are returning to higher education as a means of career development. You may even be a current employee of an industry sponsor looking to part-fund doctoral research that will serve the interests of the company – meaning you’ll be able to complete your EngD in collaboration with your employer!

If you’re not sure whether an EngD is the right qualification for you, it's a good idea to discuss your research interests and career aspirations with a programme tutor or administrator, who will be able to advise you.

Does an EngD lead to Chartered Engineer Status?

There are no qualifications that automatically lead to Charted Engineer (CEng) status. But, those who hold an EngD with an accredited Bachelors in Engineering or Technology qualify for interim registration with the UK Engineering Council. This can fast-track you to eventual CEng status.

What is the difference between an EngD and a PhD?

The EngD and the PhD are of equal academic status but differ in terms of content and delivery. Here are a few key points of comparison:

Research environment

A PhD is an academic research degree that will largely take place on your university’s campus. Since an EngD is a collaboration between Research Engineer and industry sponsor, you’ll be expected to spend around 75% of your time working on the premises of your collaborating company.

Programme content

Whereas the PhD is a pure research degree, an EngD has a significant taught component. During the first one to two years of your EngD, you’ll take taught modules focusing on key technical, business, and personal competencies.

Supervisors

PhD candidates will have a single academic supervisor (or supervisory team) based at their university. Research engineers will be supported by an industry supervisor and an academic supervisor.

Subject areas

EngD courses are only available in Engineering subjects, while PhDs are available in all subjects where academic research is carried out.

Funding

EngD students will often receive a more generous stipend than PhD candidates, due to contributions from their industry sponsor.

What are the entry requirements for an EngD?

Unlike many other professional doctorates, EngD programmes tend not to have specific work experience requirements. This means you can apply straight after graduating.

The minimum entry requirement for EngD programmes is usually a 2:1 Bachelors degree in Engineering or related subject. Some programmes require a first-class undergraduate degree, but will consider applicants with 2:1 if they also have a relevant Masters and substantial work experience.

What is the application process for an EngD?

The exact process of applying for an EngD can vary between institutions – but the below should give you a rough idea of what to expect.

Finding a sponsor

All EngD students are paired with an industry sponsor. You may already have a sponsor at the time you submit your application (if they are your employer, for example), or you may be applying to a specific project that already has a sponsor listed.

If you do not have a sponsor, you can usually view a list of current opportunities on your university’s website and indicate your preference in your application. Alternatively, your university might pair you with a sponsor based on your research interests.

Submitting your application

You’ll submit your application directly to your chosen university, usually through an online portal. Every programme will have different specifications, but you’ll usually need to provide a combination of the following:

Some programmes may also require you to submit a research proposal. If you already have an industry sponsor, this will be a document you have produced in collaboration with the company. If you are applying for a specific vacancy, then your research proposal will usually outline your planned approach to the project.

What's it like to study an EngD?

The vocationally orientated nature of the EngD means that you’ll spend at least half your time (and often much more than this) working directly with the company sponsoring your project. Research engineers are supported by an industrial supervisor, as well as an academic supervisory team within their university.

EngD programmes are usually split into two distinct phases:

  • The first phase of your EngD (usually lasting one or two years) will have the strongest taught element. Modules cover technical aspects of Engineering relating to your research and provide commercial and management training. Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work, lab-based practical exercises, and case studies.
  • The second phase will have a stronger focus on applied research. You’ll likely spend the bulk of your time working towards your final project on the premises of your sponsoring company and getting hands-on industrial experience.

How will I be assessed?

In the initial stage of your EngD, you will take taught modules, which are usually assessed through examinations and coursework. You’ll need to pass all compulsory modules (and the required number of optional ones) to be awarded your EngD.

On an annual basis, you may submit progress reports reflecting on the work you have done so far and outlining the next stages of your research plan. This will ensure you are continuing to meet the standards set by your sponsor and academic department year-on-year.

You'll usually submit your final research project in the form of either a portfolio or thesis. You’ll defend your work and explain its industrial applications in a viva voce exam.

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Find an EngD programme

Ready to start applying? Browse EngD programmes here on FindAPhD


Last Updated: 20 July 2022