A global reputation

Our reputation for excellence attracts some of the best minds in the world.

These exceptional people are drawn to Sheffield by the opportunity to work at the frontiers of knowledge, on research that has real impact.

Kroto PhD research

How we rate


The quality of research in UK universities is assessed in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The Research Excellence Framework puts Sheffield in the top 10 per cent of all UK universities.

99% of research at Sheffield was assessed as internationally recognised or better.

  • World-leading: 33%
  • Internationally excellent: 52%
  • Internationally recognised: 13%
  • Nationally recognised: 1%

Research excellence


Our staff are highly respected writers, critics, thinkers and technical innovators.

Teaching and supervision

PhD supervisor support

The Quality Assurance Agency places us in the highest category for academic quality.

Other recent independent quality surveys have placed us in the highest categories for research and teaching:

The last Teaching Quality Assessment awarded us grades of excellent in 29 subject areas, a record equalled by only a handful of UK universities.

Teaching quality figures for departments

PhD students

Why it matters

Your masters

Our masters courses are informed by research that as a real impact. In some cases, you might be taught by the academics involved. You'll be introduced to the latest ideas. You will also get a clear sense of how your subject or your chosen profession might evolve in the near future.

All our masters students carry out research projects. A very high percentage of those projects involve collaborations with our partners in industry and the professions.

But research at Sheffield isn’t just a means to an end. This questioning spirit, the need to understand, is also a state of mind, a way of seeing the world that will enrich your life for years to come.

We believe this discipline makes Sheffield one of the best places in the world to take a masters.

Postgraduate taught courses

Your PhD

As a member of the Russell Group and a world top-100 university, we have a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across several disciplines. This scale of expertise gives you a variety of opportunities for collaboration and supervision.

We believe that whatever your research interest might be, we have a broad base of expertise to help you realise your ambition.

We want you to bring your ideas and your enthusiasm for your chosen discipline and we commit to supporting you throughout your entire research journey.

Our brilliant PhD students make Sheffield what it is – a research powerhouse, a multidisciplinary community, a place where ideas matter.

PhD study

Queen's Anniversary Prizes

We have won four Queen's Anniversary Prizes:

  • For humanities research in 1999
  • For environmental research and consultancy in 2001
  • For research on ageing in 2002
  • For the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing in 2007

Our links with industry and the professions guarantee the relevance of our programmes, and equip our graduates for careers at the cutting edge of their fields.

The Queen's Prize is the most distinguished award that can be made to a UK institution for higher or further education.

The awards are designed to recognise the outstanding contribution that universities and colleges in the United Kingdom make to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social life of the nation.

Nobel Prize winners

Nobel prize winner Sir Harry Kroto graduated with a PhD from our chemistry department. He discovered a new form of carbon.

Our molecular biology and biotechnology department was founded by Sir Hans Krebs who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the Krebs Cycle.

Our six Nobel Prize winners

Academic collaboration

We collaborate closely with leading universities around the world:

  • We're a key member of the Worldwide Universities Network (USA, Europe, China).
  • We're partners with Leeds and York Universities as part of the White Rose Consortium

Research with impact

Our founding motto was Rerum Cognoscere Causas, or 'to discover the causes of things'. And while we don't talk as much Latin these days, the idea still inspires us.

We say we want to make the world a better place and we do: socially, culturally and environmentally. Our inquiring minds are hard at work on research projects that change lives. These are just some of them.

Driving low-carbon technology

Our Electrical Machines and Drives group is working with Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Nissan towards a low-carbon future.

Current projects focus on offshore wind power, hybrid cars and next generation electrical systems for aircraft.

Bringing culture to life

Researchers from our Faculty of Arts and Humanities are working on a number of projects exploring a huge archive of rare manuscripts at Chatsworth.

The work, which charts three centuries of social and economic change, is yielding insights that advance our understanding of history and culture.

Wind farm offshore

Better treatment for serious illness

Scientists from our Pulmonary, Lung and Respiratory Imaging Group (POLARIS) are working on new imaging technology that reduces the need for invasive tests such as angiograms. Companies including GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis are funding development of the technology, which could help them improve treatments and save lives.

Understanding poverty

Research from the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) calls for a parliamentary inquiry to consider the relationship between welfare reforms and the increase in food banks. Project leader Hannah Lambie-Mumford has been awarded the ESRC’s Outstanding Early Career Impact Prize 2014 for her PhD research in this area.

BIOMASS project

The science behind a new kind of satellite

New science from our Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics is driving a European Space Agency mission to measure the Earth's forests from space.

Data produced by the €470m BIOMASS project will help us to manage the Earth's resources more effectively and provide more credible figures for international treaties aimed at reducing emissions.

Science provided by the Sheffield team underpins the satellite technology that makes the mission feasible.

A taste of our research

Explore examples of how our research is making a difference.

Research at Sheffield

Find a research story