Design processes

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October January to April
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
January to April

Research is undertaken in:

  • design theory and methods, including: studies of designers’ processes; design cognition; functional modelling of products
  • creativity in design and innovation
  • computational design; shape grammars; generative methods; computational making
  • design usability in products; usability in design tools; prototyping
  • engineering design processes including: simulation; systems engineering for resilient products and processes; product development; testing.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We welcome applications for research projects; please contact the department to discuss the suitability of your research interests.

Current/recent research projects

  • Resilient hospital refurbishment.
  • Making rules, making tools: how can shape grammar support creative making?
  • A decision tool for supplier selection that takes into account power and performance.
  • The role of testing in engineering product development processes.
  • Design dialogues about objects and representations.
  • Product family design using product simulation and multi-objective optimization.
  • Additive manufacturing for functional prototyping in design and development processes.

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £15,698 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £7,849 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


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How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Isetyn Jowers; Professor Claudia Eckert
Email: stem-ei-phd

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.