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EngD Overview

School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews

The Doctorate for Industry

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) is a doctorate research programme with a solid industry focus, undertaken over 4 years. The research conducted as part of the EngD programme is very much applied to specific problems faced by the Industry Sponsor.

The programme allows academia and industry to work together in mentoring and training a Research Engineer (RE), who will graduate with the academic rigour to undertake applied research, with skills and experience to apply that research capability directly within industry.


The EngD qualification is recognised internationally as being equivalent in standing to a PhD. EngD programmes have been running for over 20 years, with many successful graduates, and many companies benefiting directly from engaging in EngD programmes.


The EngD programme at the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews consists of:

  • a Research Training Component (RTC) : this is an advanced taught component, where REs have the opportunity to undertake advanced taught modules, including an research methods and data science, as well as advanced technical topics.
  • an Individual Research Component (IRC) : the bulk of the EngD work, the IRC is where the REs demonstrate their ability to undertake applied research, typically as a series of 5-6 Individual research Projects (IRPs), each IRP leading to a novel contribution to knowledge. Key to each IRP, and the IRC as a whole, is a critical evaluation and discussion of the results and outcomes. It is also possible to undertake the RTC as a large, single research project, much like a traditional PhD research programme, albeit maintaining the strong link with industry.


For the RTC, the RE undertakes 8 taught modules at the University, each assessed by a mixture of coursework assignments and examinations.

For the IRC, the RE will submit a portfolio dissertation, consisting of technical reports of the work conducted. This portfolio will be examined in much the same way as a PhD would be, by the RE defending the work submitted in a viva voce examination, with two (or more) examiners.


It is possible to undertake the RTC over the first year only, or over the first two years of the EngD programme. This gives flexibility to the RE and Industry Sponsor, from a technical viewpoint and a practical viewpoint.

From a technical viewpoint, having undertaken one set of taught modules, the RE can plan and undertake some IRC work in year one, and then return to additional modules in year two to enhance knowledge to to re-orient the direction of research. It is also possible for an RE to simply chose and take all the RTC modules in year one, and then have a substantial, continuous block of time on the IRC for the remainder of the programme, to undertake a dedicated period of focussed research.

From a practical viewpoint, it means that the RE and Industry Sponsor can chose the way in which the RE interacts within the industry context. For example, where an Industry Sponsor organises work as a set of time-constrained research projects, spreading the RTC over two years, allowing research to progress further in year one. If the Industry Sponsor prefers longer-running projects, then the ability to undertake all modules in year one would be more favourable.

The possibilities are shown in the schedules below.

Table 1: Schedule for RTC in year one only
Month Activity
01-09 RTC Semester 1 + 2
10-44 IRC
45-47 Writing-up of dissertation
48 Submission and viva voce examination


Table 2: Schedule for RTC spread across year one and year two
Month Activity
01-04 RTC Semester 1
05-16 IRC Part 1
17-21 RTC Semester 2
22-44 IRC Part 2
45-47 Writing-up of dissertation
48 Submission and viva voce examination


Key Semester Dates

Semester 1 is 15 weeks, running from early-September to mid-December, including a period for examinations.

Semester 2 is 16 weeks, running from Mid-January to late-April, including a period for examinations.