The University of Sheffield
IDC in Machining Science

What is the Engineering Doctorate?

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is a well-established programme in the UK aimed at producing postgraduate engineers – called “Research Engineers” or “REs” – with skills relevant to the needs of industry.

The EngD is a four-year programme that combines PhD-level research projects based on real business problems identified by the industrial partners, with a programme of taught courses tailored to the research project. The Research Engineer's time is split between the IDC and the sponsoring company, with the student typically spending 75% of their time working directly with the sponsors.

REs receive an enhanced stipend (tax-free in most cases) that is typically £3-5,000pa more than for a PhD. Eligibility for full stipends and fees follow EPSRC rules - see the How to Apply section.

What is the difference between the EngD and a PhD?

The Association of Engineering Doctorates lists the following key differences between the PhD and the EngD:

A PhD is an excellent grounding for someone intent on a career as an academic researcher based in a university. An EngD helps those with ambitions in business, industry and other non-academic organisations.

PhD research is often university-based. Research engineers (REs) studying for an EngD work closely with an industrial sponsor.

PhD research can be quite abstract or theoretical. EngD research usually concerns a topic related to the business activities of the industrial sponsor.

PhD projects are primarily focused on research activities. EngD programmes typically combine research and taught courses.

In one key respect, however, the PhD and EngD share a common objective. The test of intellectual contribution for the award of an EngD is at least equivalent of that for a PhD (ie: a distinct 'contribution to knowledge').