Course content

The course content below will be as a reference from our past cohorts.

A photo of IDCMC machinery

Course Description

The IDC in Machining Science offered both PhD and EngD as full-time four-year postgraduate research degree. Both combined PhD level research, with a taught programme involving management, technical and personal development modules. The EngD has a stronger industrial focus with the research component of the EngD closely linked to the needs of the sponsoring company.

PhD and EngD candidates started as a single cohort in early September. Over the 4 years, EngDs spent approximately 75% of their time working at AMRC or the sponsoring company and the rest at the University. PhDs typically spent 75% of their time at University.

All candidates were required to present a PhD standard thesis and pass an oral examination at the end of their studies.

What is 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 the 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, working at the AMRC, and the sponsoring company, with the student, typically spending 75% of their time working directly with the sponsors.


Year One

In Year One students complete 160 credits of training:

  • Research Techniques and Transferable Skills modules (50 credits), which includes
    • Professional Behaviour and Ethical Conduct​ (FCE6100)

    • Personal Effectiveness (FCE610)

    • Personal and Professional Skills Development (MEC6908)

    • Managing Complex Projects (MGT6256)

  • Two Advanced Engineering modules (20 credits), from a selection of approximately 15 taught Masters modules
  • Three Mini Research Projects (90 credits)

The final choice of optional modules is made in consultation with the supervisors to meet the specific needs of the student and the project. It is possible to take different optional Masters level modules where it has been agreed beforehand with the IDC Centre Manager that this is appropriate.

The three mini research projects can be undertaken at any time during Year One. The theme and scope of each mini-project is negotiated by the students and their academic and industrial supervisors and is used as an exercise to determine the specific research area. Each project represents about 300 hours work and includes a 3000 word report. The mini-projects introduce the students to a range of research skills and methodologies, allowing them to investigate competing technologies and solutions to the proposed problem, before selecting one to continue on into their main research project.

Students must achieve 160 credits in order to proceed to Year Two.

Years Two to Four

During Year Two the student begins their main research project which continues through Years Three and Four.

Towards the end of Year Two, students go through a confirmation process submitting a report and undergoing a mini viva. The confirmation must be passed in order to proceed to Year Three.

Students are required to submit their final thesis for examination by the end of Year Four (month 48) - which coincides with the end of funding. The maximum time limit for the submission of the thesis is five years.

Training Programme

Following document shows the standard training programme for the students.

Typical training programme for IDC students by year and across cohort (subject to change).

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.