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A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is the most common type of doctoral degree and the highest level of academic qualification you can achieve.
It normally takes between three and four years of full-time work to complete. It is also possible to undertake a PhD part time, over five to six years.
The main activity of a PhD is to carry out an original research project under the direction of one or more supervisors, to be written up as a thesis.
Different routes to achieving a PhD
There are a number of ways to achieving a PhD at Imperial:
- by undertaking a course of study based on your own research proposal
- by joining a research project that comes with funding attached (known as a studentship)
- by combining it with Master's study in an integrated route that typically lasts four years
Pursuing your own research idea
To search for PhD opportunities based on your own research proposal you first need to identify a research group within Imperial whose area of expertise best matches your idea.
Use the links below to search the different PhD opportunities within our academic departments, centres and institutes. This includes information about current studentships and often guidance on finding a supervisor.
Our interdisciplinary approach means our expertise often spans departmental boundaries – and so do our courses – so you may find opportunities in an unexpected area of the university.
Faculty of Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- School of Design Engineering
- Earth Science and Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Medicine A-Z research directory
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Imperial College Business School
Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication
Global Challenge institutes
We have six Global Challenge institutes, which were created to address some of society's biggest challenges.
If you have an idea for a PhD that falls within the remit of one of our Global Challenge institutes please contact them directly to discuss before making a formal application.
- Data Science Institute
- Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
- Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering
- Institute for Security Science and Technology
- Institute of Global Health Innovation
Energy Futures Lab does not offer PhD programmes, but does deliver the MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures.
Joint Academy of Doctoral Studies | Imperial College London-Technical University of Munich
We have recently formed a strategic partnership in education, research and innovation with the Technical University of Munich, one of Germany’s most international and entrepreneurial universities, producing highly ranked research, like Imperial, in science, engineering and medicine.
As part of the partnership, Imperial and TUM have launched a 'Joint Academy of Doctoral Studies' with the aim of co-developing cross-disciplinary clusters of PhD students who will have access to world-leading academic supervisors and state-of-the art facilities at both institutions.
The first round of the programme will focus on the theme of 'Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare and Robotics'.
Find out more about the Joint Academy of Doctoral Studies and apply