Birmingham City University


A built environment Ph.D. can be a pathway to a career in a wide range of related professions, especially in management roles – or in the academic world.



If you’re already in such a role, the Ph.D. is a major piece of personal development, developing new knowledge and building skills for your next career step.



Birmingham City University has been a major center for built environment education in the region, and Ph.D. study builds on our expertise and professional and industry networks.

We cover the major built environment disciplines including surveying, project management, facilities management, planning, real estate, and civil engineering.



We are interested in interdisciplinary research building links to areas including engineering, computing, health, law, and others.


A Ph.D. enables you to follow a program of self-directed, independent study, supported by experienced supervisors who are themselves experts in their area. We may use industry experts to support some projects, and others may be run in full collaboration with an industry partner.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Research Practice prepares you for study at this level, as most find it a very different experience


from previous

taught courses.



Topic-specific training and support are identified and provided by your supervision team and other experts as necessary.

Although you will be developing as an independent researcher, you will be supported both by your supervisors and the wider research community in the School, Faculty and University. There are regular opportunities for you to present and share your work with other research students and staff.

Entry Requirements

  • The required minimum qualification is two years of Master's the relevant field. She/he must have obtained 55% marks or an Equivalent Grade in the Master's
  • Valid Academic IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0 or equivalent

Career Prospects

The PhD is a well-established and valued academic qualification within the sector and is highly likely to enhance career prospects. For those wanting to follow a career in teaching and researching in Higher Education, a PhD is highly desirable.

Areas of research in which staff are currently active include:

  • Digital built environment including BIM (Building Information Management)

  • Renewable energy, energy management in buildings, customer energy management behaviour

  • Nano-fluids and heat transfer

  • Sustainable and innovative materials for construction

  • Construction waste management

  • Automation in construction

  • Water management, urban drainage systems and flood resilience

  • Real estate – property and asset management, risk

  • Planning and development law

  • Urban change: post-catastrophe reconstruction, urban form, conservation and design

  • Spatial planning including stakeholder engagement, crowdsourcing, placemaking

  • Using games to foster social learning and engagement with planning challenges

  • Facilities management including infection control in hospitals

Course Details

Full-time students are expected to complete within 3-4 years, whilst part-time students may take 4-7 years. In your first year (two years for PT students) you will spend time reviewing the field, refining your research proposal and projected plan, and developing key topic-specific research skills. You will be supported in this through attendance at the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Practice, which runs for the first semester of your studies.

Your progress is reviewed every 6 months, with alternating ‘light-touch’ written reviews with your supervisors and annual reviews involving a written paper, presentation and interview with an independent panel of experienced supervisors.

Your second year (years 3 and 4 for PT students) is likely to be spent undertaking in-depth research (data collection and analysis) in your chosen area, with the third year (years 5-6 for PT students) involving writing up your results and presenting them in a suitable format (usually a written thesis of some 80,000 words).

Once you have submitted your thesis the examiners usually need 6-8 weeks to read it before the viva (oral) examination, after which there is likely to be a period for corrections / rewriting before successful completion and award of your PhD.

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

Are you ready to start building your future?

Contact our admission counseller and get a free consultation.