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Postgraduate Study

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Propulsion and Power offers a four-year PhD course in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford and Loughborough; at the end of the first year, successful students are awarded an MRes degree in Future Propulsion and Power before proceeding to the doctoral programme.

The course benefits from the team of universities (Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and  Loughborough) and companies (Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Siemens, Dyson) that are collaborating to deliver the CDT. This team enables the course to provide students with an advanced course in the aero-thermal engineering of propulsion and power devices, particularly the gas turbine (compressors, combustors, and turbines), as well as the skills (experimental, computational, and transferable) required to become an expert practitioner and future leader in the field.

The programme aims to:

  • produce research and design leaders of the future, in academia and industry, in the field of future propulsion and power systems;
  • provide comprehensive research preparation training;
  • equip students with a specialised technical understanding of the aerodynamics of each of the three major gas turbine components (compressor, combustor and turbine) and knowledge of the experimental and computational tools used in their design;
  • introduce students to the utility of data science in the design and analysis of propulsion and power devices;
  • expose students to the compromises and trade-offs that are inherent in the design of a real machine, including the limitations imposed by mechanical constraints, the interactions between components when they are integrated together to form the complete product, and the challenges of system-level optimisation;
  • foster the development of non-technical research skills such as leadership, personal effectiveness, report writing, oral communication and presentations; and
  • expose students to different research groups and industry environments.

Learning Outcomes

The MRes in Future Propulsion and Power course will equip its graduates with a wide range of knowledge and skills, enabling them to fully engage in the field of future propulsion and power.

Graduates will have developed skills and understanding in the following broad areas:

  • fundamentals of internal fluid mechanics;
  • the advanced knowledge of flow in compressors, combustors and turbines, of design strategies used to improve the performance of these components, and of integration challenges when components are put together to form a system;
  • a range of specialist methods for experimental measurement of flows in turbomachines, combustors and air frames;
  • experimental and computational methods used in solving propulsion and power problems;
  • laboratory and research practice based in industrial and university research programmes;
  • the application of data science techniques to aero-thermal design and analysis;
  • the ability to report research outcomes in an appropriate way for the intended audience; and
  • techniques for preparing reports (of different types), delivering presentations, writing technical papers, verbal communication and research planning and delivery.

By the end of the PhD, successful students will have produced original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in the area of propulsion and power.


All students who pass the MRes year will proceed to study for the PhD if they have demonstrated adequate research potential (such potential is normally demonstrated simply by passing the MRes year). Note that, as for all Cambridge PhDs, the first year of the PhD (the year after the MRes) is still probationary and students will be required to pass a first-year assessment.

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Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Engineering

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
June 10, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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