School of the Built Environment


    Research students play a vital role and are integrated into all aspects of academic life through research groups, involvement in research projects, seminar series and teaching.

    Students also benefit from being members of the Faculty’s Doctoral Training Programme which combines peer and tutor support with delivering the latest high-level training in all aspects of becoming a researcher.

    Doctoral Training Programme

    MPhil/ PhD in Built Environment

    The School has a dynamic and thriving research programme within a research environment that is internationally recognised for its quality and impact. There are opportunities for students to develop a wide range of skills and expertise as we have close links with practice and participate in international networks and exchanges. 

  • The School of the Built Environment is dedicated to offering an outstanding experience for research students. As a research student you will enjoy the following benefits:

    • You become a member of one of the School’s high quality ambitious research groups
    • You will study alongside talented academics working in similar fields
    • You have opportunities to interact with a dynamic research environment that is actively engaged in consultancy projects, teaching and writing funding proposals
    • Students benefit from automatic membership of the Faculty’s Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) which brings together staff and students from the Schools of Architecture, Engineering, Computing & Mathematics and Art.
    • The DTP combines generic training and support with detailed subject specific methods training through the Environment Strand of the DTP and caters for both full and part time study
    • A wide variety of optional training courses, student events, lectures and other opportunities delivered through the DTP, the Graduate College and wider University
    • 24-hour access to digital suites with specialist programmes such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), ArchiCAD, Revit, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modelling, 3D Studio Max and, Rhino 3D, NVivo and SPSS
    • Close links that exist with the UK and international practice, industry and government
    • All students are allocated a Director of Studies and at least one other supervisor who they meet with regularly
    • A range of personal support that includes access to a wide range of staff who are available for consultation. The University operates a Research Student Entitlement which ensures students receive appropriate and generous support and opportunities to present their work at conferences
    • MPhil
    • MPhil transferring to PhD
    • PhD direct (only for students who have recently completed a master’s or MPhil degree in an area closely related to the proposed research topic)
    • PhD by published work (only for students who have prior association with Oxford Brookes University)

    Students are advised to consider the entry requirements as well as the financial requirements.

    Applications are welcomed from students whose research interests complement those of the research groups, namely:

    These groups are represented in the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) where teams work in an integrated way to address questions of global significance relating to energy, carbon and social and economic sustainability in the built environment.

    Current supervisors:

    Prof Ramin Keivani
    Dr Sue Brownill
    Dr Alan Reeve
    Dr Beacon Mbiba
    Dr Dave Valler
    Dr Jon Cooper
    Dr Stephen Samuel
    Dr Tim Marshall
    Dr Neil Fellows
    Prof Georgia Butina-Watson
    Prof Joe Tah
    Dr Youngha Cho
    Dr Emma Wragg
    Mrs Elizabeth Wilson
    Dr Regina Lim
    Dr Laura Azevedo
    Dr Graham Wood
    Dr Bridget Durning
    Dr Tim Jones

    Applicants should normally hold a 1st or Upper Second Class Degree (or recognised equivalent qualification), but appropriate applications will be considered from outstanding candidates with substantial prior experience at an appropriate level.

    If English is not your first language you will need to provide one of the following language certificates:

    • IELTS at least 6.5 overall (with no less than 6.0 in any element) 

    IELTS language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the proposed start date of the programme, should your application be successful. Evidence of English language proficiency must be provided along with other supporting documents, in the form of a good quality copy of the certificate.

    As a result of very recent changes made by UK Visas & Immigration, please note we no longer regard TOEFL as an acceptable language test for entry to Oxford Brookes. This applies whether you require a Student visa or not. You can find more details on our English language requirements pages.

    If you do not meet these requirements you may be able to take our University English as a pre-sessional course.

    Some current students have awards from a wide range of external bodies including industry, government bodies and charities, and others are self-funded. Occasionally, the university has a few faculty specific and competitively allocated scholarships which, when available, are advertised on our Research Funding Opportunities page and on

    Applicants should be able to pay the university’s tuition fees, either personally or through grants, sponsorship or other awards made in their favour. Applicants receiving awards should be able to present evidence of their funding at the time of application, usually in the form of a letter from the awarding body. Self-funded international students should be aware that the UK Border Agency will require evidence that a candidate can pay their first year’s fees before they will grant a Student visa.

    Our MPhil, MPhil/PhD and PhD Direct programmes are three term programmes and have a choice of start dates throughout the year in September, January and June.

    The application process is broken down into 5 steps:

    1. Check essential requirements

    In order to be considered for the programme you will have to meet our application requirements and programme entry requirements. Before you apply, please check you meet the entry requirements and the financial requirements as well as the English language requirements of the programme. We accept the IELTS English Language Qualification with at least 6.5 overall score (with no less than 6.0 in any element).

    2. Explore our research groups and supervisory staff pages

    Explore the research groups and their associated staff to see how your chosen field of study aligns with the research portfolio within the school.

    3. Agree your research

    At this stage if you are interested in Planning and Urban Design research, you should contact Dr Ben Spencer ( (Tel 01865484061). If you are interested in Real Estate and Construction Research, you should contact Prof. Ramin Keivani ( (Tel 01865 483409). Advise either Dr Spencer or Prof Keivani that you are considering making an application. You are also welcome to contact particular academics to help you develop your ideas.

    4. Formulate your proposal

    When you have agreed a research project with the Postgraduate Research Tutor, you will be asked to prepare a proposal. You can indicate any staff members whom you would like to work with, or the Tutors will circulate your proposal to the most appropriate staff to get their comments. If the proposal is accepted the Tutors will ask you to make a formal application, or give you advice on how the proposal may be improved. For guidance on writing a PhD research proposal see our Guide to writing PhD Research Proposals.

    5. Gather required documents and submit

    Our MPhil/PhD programme requires additional supporting documentation to be submitted as part of the application process. Before applying through the  Oxford Brookes online application system please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

    • Research proposal
    • Scan of your passport - to confirm your name and date of birth. We will then ensure that any offer letters issued to you correspond with your passport name, this will help when applying for a Student visa.
    • IELTS Certificate or equivalent (if required) – no older than two years from the proposed start date of your programme.
    • Scan of your final degree certificates already awarded
    • Scan of transcripts
    • Two references (at least one academic) – your references must be on institutional headed paper and be dated and signed by referee(s). They can be sent directly to the Research Administrator in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment in a sealed envelope, or emailed.
    • Evidence of funding – (if sponsored by an employer or government, you must provide evidence in the form of a recently dated sponsorship letter on official headed paper. If supporting your studies from private funds, you must provide a recently dated bank statement).

    After your  Oxford Brookes online application has been submitted, these documents can be e-mailed directly to the Research Administrator in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment (

    Submit your application through the Oxford Brookes online application system

    You can apply for any of our MPhil/PhD programmes through the Oxford Brookes online application system.