Engineering Doctorate

The Engineering Doctorate scheme is a British postgraduate education programme promoted by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The programme is undertaken over four years. Students conduct PhD-equivalent research and undertake taught business and technical courses whilst working closely with an industrial sponsor. Successful candidates are awarded the degree of Doctor of Engineering (EngD) and are addressed as doctor.

The first programmes began in 1992. In 2009, Engineering Doctorate schemes were offered by 45 UK universities,[1] both singly or in partnership with other universities as industrial doctorate centres. Students on the scheme are encouraged to describe themselves as 'research engineers' rather than 'research students' and as of 2009 the minimum funding level was £1,500 higher than the minimum funding level for PhD students.[2] Advocates of the scheme like to draw attention to the fact that EngD students share some courses with MBA students.

In the UK a similar formation to doctorate is the NVQ 8 or QCF 8.[3] However, a doctoral degree typically incorporates a research project which must offer an original contribution to knowledge within an academic subject area; an element which NVQs lack.[4]

In summary, an EngD is essentially an engineering PhD with a solid industrial base and an additional taught element.

International equivalent qualifications

Countries following the German/US model of education usually have similar requirements for awarding Ph.D.(Eng.) and doctor of engineering degrees. The common degree abbreviations in the USA are D.Eng., D.Eng.Sc./Eng.Sc.D, whereas in the German-speaking world it is more commonly known as Dr.-Ing.


The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) scheme was established by the EPSRC in 1992 following the recommendations of the 1990 Engineering Doctorate Report, produced by a working group chaired by Professor John Parnaby.[5] The scheme was launched with five centres - at Warwick, UMIST and Manchester universities and a Welsh consortium led by University College Swansea.[5] After a 1997 review, a further tranche of five centres was established, and further centres were added in 2001 and 2006 following calls by EPSRC in particular areas of identified national need.[6]

In a 2006 stakeholder survey of the scheme conducted on behalf of EPSRC[7] it was found that the quality of output of research engineers was perceived to match or exceed that of a PhD. However, the majority of respondents disagreed with claims that EngDs were recruited to higher-paid posts than PhDs or that EngDs were more desirable to employers than PhDs. Observations were made that the EngD was not widely known, and that universities may offer EngD degrees that were not necessarily of the format promoted by the EPSRC.

A March 2007 "Review of the EPSRC Engineering Doctorate Centres"[6] noted that since 1992, some 1230 research engineers had been enrolled, sponsored by over 510 different companies (28 had sponsored at least six REs), at 22 centres based at 14 universities (some jointly run by several collaborating universities). The panel remained convinced of the value and performance of the EngD scheme, and made six key recommendations including clearer brand definition, academic study of the longer term impacts of the scheme, promotion of the scheme to potential new sponsors, business sectors and REs, work with the Engineering Council UK to develop a career path for REs to Chartered Engineer status, creation of a virtual "EngD Academy", and increased resources for the scheme.

Work on establishing an Association of Engineering Doctorates began in 2010.[8]

UK Industrial Doctorate Centres

The following EPSRC-funded centres have offered EngDs:[9]

  • EPSRC and NERC Industrial Centre for Doctoral Training for Offshore Renewable Energy - IDCORE (University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, Strathclyde University and the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences)
  • Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) (Cranfield University, University of Oxford and University of Strathclyde)
  • Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing (University of Warwick, University of Exeter, Cranfield University)
  • Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy ((University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, Strathclyde University, the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences and HR-Wallingford)
  • Industrial Doctorate Centre in Composites Manufacture (University of Bristol, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, Cranfield University)
  • Centre for Digital Entertainment (University of Bath, Bournemouth University)
  • Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (Loughborough University)
  • Large-scale Complex IT Systems (Universities of Leeds, Oxford, St Andrews and York)
  • Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation (University College London)
  • Bioprocess Engineering Leadership (University College London)
  • Systems (University of Bristol and University of Bath)
  • Micro & Nano-Materials and Technologies (University of Surrey)
  • Nuclear Engineering (Imperial College London, University of Manchester)
  • Optics and Photonics Technologies (Heriot-Watt (lead), Glasgow, St Andrews, Strathclyde and the Scottish University Physics Alliance)
  • Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems (University of Surrey)
  • Transport and the Environment (University of Southampton)
  • Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (University College London)
  • Urban Sustainability and Resilience (University College London)
  • Biopharmaceutical Process Development (Newcastle University)
  • STREAM - IDC for the Water Sector (Cranfield University, Imperial College London, University of Exeter, University of Sheffield, Newcastle University)
  • Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science (University of Oxford)
  • Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (University of Reading)
  • Formulation Engineering (University of Birmingham)
  • Efficient Fossil Energy Technologies (The Universities of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, and Loughborough University)
  • Manufacturing Technology Engineering Doctorate Centre (MTEDC - The Universities of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, and Loughborough University)
  • Centre for Doctoral Training in Non-Destructive Evaluation (Imperial College London, Bristol, Nottingham, Strathclyde, Warwick)
  • Advanced Forming and Manufacture (University of Strathclyde)
  • Machining Science (University of Sheffield)
  • MATTER: Manufacturing Advances Through Training Engineering Researchers (Swansea University)
  • COATED: Centre Of Advanced Training for Engineering Doctorates (Swansea University)
  • Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) in Structural Metallic Systems for Gas Turbine Applications (Universities of Cambridge, Swansea and Birmingham)
  • Engineering Doctoral Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing (University of Warwick)

See also


  1. "Engineering Doctorate Centre Details". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2010-01-28.
  2. "Minimum payments". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  3. "Comparing qualifications levels". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  4. "How Do NVQs Stack Up Against Degrees?". - Careers Advice, Postgrad Study and Gap Year. Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  5. Irwin, Aisling. "Doctoring the degree (17 May 1996)". Times Higher Education Supplement. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  6. Report of a Review of the EPSRC Engineering Doctorate Centres. Swindon: EPSRC. March 2007.
  7. "Review of the Engineering Doctorate Scheme: Stakeholders Survey" (PDF). Strategic Marketing Associates. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  8. "About the AEngD". Association of Engineering Doctorates. AEngD. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  9. "Industrial Doctorate Centres". EPSRC. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
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