This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a 4 year funded integrated PhD and MSc in Fluid Dynamics.

A key feature of this Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is that your supervisory team come from a range of disciplines from across the University. You will therefore be expected to have broad interests and be willing to learn beyond your core expertise. There will also be the expectation that you will spend an extended period working with either an industrial, environmental or external academic partner as part of your project.

You will be part of a cohort of research students with different academic backgrounds, all focusing on different aspects of fluid dynamics. During the selection process we will be looking for students who will be enthusiastic about learning with and from their peers, as well as the ability to undertake their own in-depth research.

During your time in the CDT you will develop substantial technical and transferable skills enabling you to build a successful career and become a leader in industry or academia. In addition to a wide range of computational, modelling and experimental techniques, you will have many opportunities to develop team working, communication and problem solving skills.

Duration: 4 years
Start date: 1 October 2023 (Please note: induction activities commence end of September)
Application deadline: 2nd April for September 2023 entry
Number of places: up to 10
Course structure: download

As part of the University of Leeds, the CDT works to the University’s Equality and Inclusion Strategy and Framework, more about how we are committed to this is available in our current Action Plan for Equality and Diversity.



Year 1 (Semester 1)

In semester one, you will undertake the following three compulsory modules. You will take a 30 credit Foundations of Fluid Dynamics module, which is designed to allow students from different backgrounds to develop or reinforce understanding of core material including mathematical theory, numerical methods and experimental techniques. Alongside this, you will take a 15 credit Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis module where you will be introduced to open and commercial packages to develop understanding of the use and limitations of CFD software, and introducing the fundamentals of high performance computing. You will also take a 15 credit Professional Development module which will enable you to begin developing a range of transferable skills, including: team-working, problem-solving, managing your PhD, project management, commercial awareness, technical and non-technical communication, etc.

Year 1 (Semester 2)

In semester two, and over the summer of your first year, you will make a provisional selection of your PhD project and supervisors, commence the background reading for your topic, and refine the specification of your chosen project so as to develop a clear set of research questions. In parallel with this, you will undertake a 60 credit Multidisciplinary Team Project, which will require you to work in teams of 3-5, supervised by staff from different disciplines, and mentored by a collaborator from industry. Your group project will involve both experiments and simulations, and your cross-disciplinary team will be expected to utilise the different strengths and backgrounds of its members. The process will include project planning, equipment and resource allocation, technical delivery and dissemination of results. You will also undertake a 15 credit Fluid-Structure Interactions module which explores theories of linear and nonlinear elastic and viscoelastic solids, techniques for coupling fluid flow and structure equations, and the development and application of appropriate numerical methods. Finally, you will take a further 15 credit Professional Development module which includes a short industrial placement.

Years 2-4

In year 2, you will complete the remaining 30 MSc credits by undertaking a further 15 credit Professional Development module and your choice of a 15 credit optional MSc module which is most suited to your own PhD research. You will also complete the initial phases of your PhD project. By the end of year 2, you will be expected to have: a thorough understanding of existing research related to your topic; developed the core scientific skills in order to be able to undertake your planned research; a clear description of the expected contribution to knowledge to come from your project; and a plan of action, and timeline, for achieving these goals, and writing your thesis, over the following two years.

In addition to undertaking your research in years two to four, you will be expected to take advantage of an enormous range of personal development activities that will be provided as part of the CDT. These include: undertaking a long-term (e.g. 3 months) placement with an industrial R&D group or with another internationally leading academic research group; attending, and contributing to, regular seminar series, workshops, conferences and other academic activities; developing further technical and transferable skills and applying them in your research and beyond (e.g. dissemination, knowledge transfer, etc.)

Some of our students who are at different stages of their PhD, including some leavers, have reflected about their experiences on the programme, what it is like coming from a different industrial and academic background, as well as those who have completely changed their research interests once they joined the CDT. To read our student case studies, please click here.

Please click here for a link to the CDT Programme Catalogue.


A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (£4,693 in Session 2023/24*), together with a maintenance grant (£18,905 in Session 2023/24*) paid at standard Research Council rates and a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG).

There are a number of highly competitive EPSRC Fully Funded Studentship Awards for Session 2023/24 covering the full cost of University of Leeds fees plus maintenance. Applications are open to both Home and International fee rated applicants.  However the number of awards open for International applicants is limited by UKRI, but some additional places are also available for students who have their own funding.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black, Asian and minority ethnic  researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BAME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

We are able to consider flexibility in how the programme is studied for those students unable to join the programme as a full time student. Please get in touch with us if you would like to explore part-time study.


* please note these figures may change slightly.

Entry requirements

A degree equivalent to a UK first class honours, or a high upper second class, in an engineering, mathematics or science discipline.

How to apply

All student are recruited to the CDT via two options:

1) Recruitment to industry specific research areas, or

2) Research project chosen in semester 2 rather than at recruitment stage.

To apply online, please complete a formal application for Integrated PhD study

  • Select ‘Research Postgraduate’ for type of form.
  • Please select ‘EPSRC CDT Fluid Dynamics’ as the course.
  • Start date: 1 October 2023 (Please note: induction activities will take place towards the end of September).
  • Please enter ‘CDT Fluid Dynamics’ in the ‘Research Area’ section. A research proposal is not required.
  • Please include a completed Fluid Dynamics CDT Personal Statement. The form can be downloaded here.
  • Please include a CV
  • Please include all transcripts and certificates for your degree(s).
  • After you submit your PhD application on-line you may get a message requesting you to send hard copies of your degree transcripts and references in sealed envelopes. Please ignore this. The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences do not require hard copies of your degree documents at the application stage, we only require these when you arrive in Leeds to register for your programme. References are requested by the Graduate School Office on your behalf at the point your application is received. Your referees are emailed a Faculty Reference Form to complete and return by email. If your referees want to provide their reference on headed paper an emailed scan is sufficient for our purpose.

Application deadline: 2nd April for September 2023 entry
Number of places: up to 10

Selection will be determined by:

  • Formal application, CV, personal statement and transcripts of first degree.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a formal interview. Please note, we are able to reimburse travel expenses for UK applicants and we can facilitate online interviews for overseas candidates.

Selection will be based upon: academic performance and ability; aptitude for inter-disciplinary study and research; potential to contribute to, and benefit from, the cohort-based approach of the Centre; aptitude for undertaking independent study and research; and openness to develop new skills and capabilities.

Please note that we are able to facilitate an online interview if you are not based in the UK, and travel expenses will be reimbursed for applicants travelling to the University for an in person interview. Full details of this will be shared with you if you are invited to interview.

If you require any further information please contact the CDT team:


FAQs for prospective applicants 

How much of the programme is being delivered online/in-person? 

At the moment we are working to government guidelines, which now allows for the majority of teaching to be delivered face to face.  The % split of face to face and online teaching over the course of the pandemic has varied dependent upon the rules and programme content. Current first year students have reported that they felt very safe attending in-person sessions, and there is also the option to attend virtually from home if necessary. 

Assessments have been undertaken and submitted in person and using online using tools such as Gradescope, Github, Turnitin and email. 

How intensive is the programme? 

The programme is particularly busy in the first year, as the taught element is front-loaded. The first semester has regular weekly assessments.  

As such, some of our current students have suggested it is worthwhile looking at the module content for the first semester, and refreshing your skills if needed. Once the CDT has confirmation of who will be joining the next cohort, and preparations are underway to welcome students to the University a reading list is sent out to allow those students who wish to get a head-start, to do so. It is also worth noting that the programming language used in the majority of the taught modules is Python. 

The programme is available to view in detail here:  

 What working space is provided? 

CDT students have their own shared office space, with a desk and PC provided for each student. There is also bookable study space in the libraries on campus, and we also have access to bookable office space in the department, study areas around campus, and computer clusters There are no longer any specific distancing measures on campus, however you should respect the personal space of others, as we transition away from COVID-19 measures.   At all times the University operates in accordance with COVID safety rules. More information on COVID is available here.

How do the student maintenance payments work? 

Students are paid a month in advance direct to their bank account, normally on the last Friday of the preceding month. These payments are not subject to tax.   

In addition to this you also get a generous budget held by the CDT to pay for expenses associated with your PhD. For example, experiments, consumables, travel and subsistence to support your PhD. 

What are the funding rules post-Brexit? 

There has been a recent change to UKRI rules around funding. Applications are open to both Home and International fee rated applicants, however the number of awards open for International applicants is limited by UKRI. Some additional places are also available for students who have their own funding. 

Are there opportunities to meet other CDT students before joining the programme? 

We make sure to provide all applicants the opportunity to chat with some of our current CDT students at our interview days. There is also a Facebook group set up for applicants to access once they have secured an offer, and accepted it, to connect with our existing students, and ask any questions they may have about the programme and life in Leeds. 

Do students have to be based in Leeds? 

All of our students will have a substantial and sustained on-campus education throughout their first academic year, with face-to-face teaching being the default for seminars, tutorials, workshops, practical classes, performance activities and discussion groups (subject to any requirements imposed by Government and/or by law). We will also provide opportunities and space for informal social and group learning on campus, and support and encourage on-campus co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.  In light of this we recommend that you are living within an easy commute of the Leeds campus.

What types of PhD projects are on offer in the CDT? 

We have a broad range of topics on offer via the CDT, ranging length scales and applications. We have an extensive database of PhD projects ( that have been offered to students from previous years of the CDT that you can take a look through to get a sense of the types of projects that might be available. Please note that these projects are not for selection by incoming students.  

I want to apply to the CDT, what should I include in my application? 

Applications need to include a formal application via the University of Leeds portal, CV, personal statement (no more than one page) and transcripts for all of your degrees. You will also be asked to name two referees, who will be asked directly by the University for references on your behalf.  

When writing your application consider what the CDT is looking for. This includes academic performance and ability; aptitude for inter-disciplinary study and research; potential to contribute to, and benefit from, the cohort-based approach of the Centre; aptitude for undertaking independent study and research; and openness to develop new skills and capabilities. 

I have been invited to interview, what should I expect? 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a formal interview. Please note, we are able to reimburse travel expenses for UK applicants and we can facilitate online interviews for overseas candidates. Currently, all interviews are being hosted online.  

At our interview day, you will get to find out a bit more about the CDT, and meet some of our current students and staff. The interview itself is intended to be for us to find out more about you and your experiences, and for you to find out more about us.  

Interview panels are normally made up of 2-3 academics who lead the CDT, and represent the diverse areas of Fluid Dynamics research and the Centre Manager for the CDT.  

Interviews will consider the same criteria as outlined for your application: academic performance and ability; aptitude for inter-disciplinary study and research; potential to contribute to, and benefit from, the cohort-based approach of the Centre; aptitude for undertaking independent study and research; and openness to develop new skills and capabilities. You will also get the opportunity to ask your own questions. 

What are the job destinations of your CDT graduates? 

Our graduates have a wide range of career destinations post-PhD. Some examples of the roles and companies they have moved into are listed below: 

  • Post-doctoral positions, including fellowships in academia (E.g. Newcastle University, Oxford University, KAUST Saudi Arabia, IPGP France, Liverpool University, University of Leeds) 
  • Assistant Lecturer, Coventry University 
  • Software Developer, Motor Design 
  • Consultancy and Senior Engineer roles at BAE Systems 
  • Scientific Software Engineer, Met Office
  • Senior Engineer, Hydrotec 
  • Fire Engineering Consultancy, Warrington Fire 
  • Wind Energy Analyst, RWE Renewables 
  • Technical Consultant, Fujitsu UK 

How do I find out more about Leeds, and accommodation in Leeds?  

Check out the useful links below on the University webpages for further information. Our current students can also help advise on the best locations to live, and places to search for accommodation. 

Do PhD students have access to societies at the University? 

All of the societies and activities hosted by the Leeds University Union are open to PhD students. For further information check out their website:  

What support is in place for me as a PhD student on a CDT? 

As a first year PhD student, you have a tutor assigned to you from the CDT who meets with you and your tutor group on a weekly basis until you make a start on your PhD project, at which stage you will stop meeting your tutor, and start meeting with your PhD supervisors regularly. You also have the CDT Manager and administrator, who are your first points of call for any questions you may have. There is also peer support within your cohort and between cohorts. This is normally facilitated through shared office space and in-person events.  CDT students also have access to Teams and Zoom to arrange their own collaborative activities.