There has also been a long tradition of talented students from Brazil coming to Imperial College to study for a PhD and as a result there is a strong alumni group in the country, for example see the Imperial Brazil Forum. More specifically the Department of Aeronautics has maintained strong collaborative research interactions with the Department of Mechanical Engineering of “Escola Politécnica” in University of Sao Paulo which includes a collaborative research agreement since 1995, regular staff exchanges and PhD projects.

In February 2012, Imperial College London and University of Sao Paulo signed a Joint PhD agreement initially covering a period of five years for up to five joint PhD between the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London and the Department of Mechanical Engineering of “Escola Politécnica” in University of Sao Paulo.


All candidates have to be ratified by a Joint Committee composed of three academics from Imperial College and the University of Sao Paulo. To complete the Joint PhD the candidate must also pass an internal viva at Imperial College London as well as a public viva at the University of Sao Paulo.

Please see this example outline of the Joint PhD process for both a student starting at Imperial College London and one starting at the University of Sao Paulo.

Cost of the Joint PhD Degree

As part of the joint PhD, fees are to be paid according to the fee structure of each institution. Find out more about the current international fees for Imperial College London.


Students are expected to have a relevant undergraduate degree in Engineering, Mathematics or Computing. Applicants with a UK degree are expected to have first class or upper second MEng degree. Applicants from Brazil are expected to have a 7.5/10 or better qualification.

Please note that meeting academic requirements does not guarantee entry, it is only one of the factors taken into account when selectors make their decision: other factors such as suitability for the course, proficiency in English (you will need to have passed a College-approved English test), relevant work experience and references are also important.

How to apply

Prospective students must follow all of the following steps in this order:

  1. Prospective PhD students should approach individual supervisors in the Department of Aeronautics with details of their proposed project. It is essential that students make contact with the supervisor(s) before submitting a PhD application. Find out more about Aeronautics PhD supervisors and research topics.
  2. Once it has been established that the project is viable and the supervisor(s) is able and willing to supervise, the student should submit a PhD application to Imperial. Applicants should state that they wish to be considered for the Joint IC/USP PhD degree on their PhD application form. FInd out more about how to make an online application.
  3. Applicants should sit an IELTS or TOEFL test as soon as they apply to Imperial if they do not already meet the College's English Language requirements.
  4. Imperial’s Registry will start processing the PhD application and will eventually either reject the application or issue a formal conditional/unconditional offer of a PhD place. The outstanding condition is likely to be receipt of a satisfactory Masters qualification (if the applicant is a current Masters student). It can take 6-8 weeks for PhD applications to be processed.
  5. Upon fulfilling any outstanding requirements for admission to a PhD programme (for example, provision of a satisfactory Masters qualification result if necessary, and arranging visas and travel), students will commence their PhD programme in October.


If you have any questions about the joint PhD, please contact Professor Spencer Sherwin.