EngD Construction

The course

Delivery type
Weekday evenings and Saturday
4 years
Intake date
Open enrolment

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Construction is an alternative to the traditional PhD to help you continue your career in industry.



The EngD is equivalent to a PhD in its intellectual challenge, but as a research engineer (EngD) student, your research will be industry-led and your project will involve your company as an industrial sponsor. This provides an unparalleled opportunity to gain experience working at the cutting-edge of research that is relevant to industry.

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of construction engineering management with the flexibility to tailor the technical and business training to the requirements of the company’s research area and your career aspirations.

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Construction combines advanced technical and management training with PhD level research in partnership with an industry partner/sponsor. Research projects will be directly relevant to the strategic plans of your industry partner and cover a wide range of topics in the interrelated, and globally critical areas of construction and engineering.

EngD in Construction graduates will have generated new knowledge or improved business practice in areas of the construction sector relevant to their and their employers' interests and priorities. Research engineers undertaking the programme will have flexibility to tailor the technical and business management training to the requirements of their research area and to the business needs of their employer.

EngD students will benefit from the expertise and supervision of the academic staff and their industry sponsor. Research projects will be developed collaboratively by the academic supervisors and the research student in consultation with the sponsoring company. Sponsoring companies can range in size from SMEs to University spin-outs to multinational organisations.

Do students need an industrial partner to do EngD?
Yes, the EngD is an industrially embedded programme which benefits both the candidate and the sponsoring company.
Does the industrial supervisor need to have a PhD or EngD?
The industrial supervisor does not need to have a PhD or EngD, but they are expected to be an expert leader in the field.
What skills does an EngD provide?
An EngD provides a challenging, multi-disciplinary and academically rigorous education and training experience leading to a qualification equivalent to a PhD.
Is EngD qualification better than a PhD?
An EngD is essentially an engineering PhD with a solid industrial base and an additional taught element. Hence EngD is the same as PhD in terms of qualification but more industrially focused.
Can students continue their existing jobs as part of their EngD?
Yes, the idea is that students continue to work on a single or multiple projects to enhance their skills under the supervision of their industry and academic supervisors. Both the taught component and the project component will enable them to prepare for their thesis defence at the end of Year 4.
Do students get a stipend during the EngD programme?
A student/employee’s salary with their sponsoring employer will cover their expenses, though there will be no additional stipend paid to the candidate.
Who will hold the Intellectual property (IP) of the research?
IP generated is either shared equally between the RE, industrial sponsor, and Heriot-Watt University, or if the project is funded by the industry, the IP will be held by the sponsoring company. However, each case will have an individually tailored IP agreement. There will be a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place for commercially sensitive projects. This will ensure that both parties are protected. Details of the NDA can be discussed at the time of signing the contract.
Are students able to publish their work in journals/conferences?
Yes, with the consent of their employer/sponsor, students should be able to publish in academic journals and conferences. In some cases, the employer/sponsor may opt for a Patent if deemed feasible.
What areas of research can be expected to form part of EngD programme?
Heriot-Watt University has a range of expertise to suit the individual requirements of its candidates. The research project shall be placed in a business context taking full account of financial, environmental, social, and commercial considerations. Generally, research will be related to topics which improve efficiencies in the construction industry through:
  • Reducing costs (construction project lifecycle costs)
  • Reducing greenhouse emissions and the production of wastes
  • Improving the health, safety and wellbeing of employees and community
  • Smart Construction
  • Sustainable Development
  • Current trends and future opportunities
  • Resilient cities
  • Energy and water conservation
Must students wait for the new academic year in September to start their EngD?
Students can start in January, June or September throughout the academic year. However, the taught courses are only available during term time, which starts in September and January of each year. Hence, they will only have access to those courses which are being offered at the time of their EngD registration.


The Dubai Campus is accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and fully licensed to teach its degrees in Dubai.  All graduates receive a British degree that is accredited by Royal Charter in the UK.


The EngD is a four-year course and you would spend, on average, 80% of your time in industry and 20% at the University. The first two years will include taught courses delivered in the evenings for convenience in advanced technical areas relating to their research, combined with appropriate commercial skills training. In these early years the critical research skills will be developed through taught courses and research project work. Year’s three to four are wholly spent conducting applied research, with the opportunity to gain valuable industry and commercial experience with the sponsoring company and an ongoing programme of commercial skills development.

In the first two years of the EngD in Construction the student would complete the equivalent of a part-time PGDip or MSc. Throughout the 4 years of study, the student will engage in one of more research projects, relevant to their employer and aligned to a central thesis.

The required taught component uses courses at SCQF level 11 with 120 credits in total. The students on the proposed EngD in Construction programme will have the option to choose from a number of relevant courses currently available to cater for their individual needs and career aspirations.

  • Year 1: 60 credits (4 x SCQF Level 11 Courses), Progress Report on Research project(s);
  • Year 2: 60 credits (4 x SCQF Level 11 Courses), Progress Report on Research Project(s)
  • Year 3: Progress Report on research project(s)
  • Year 4: EngD. Thesis or Portfolio;

Course choice

A list of the current courses is summarized below.

Semester 1

  • D11ST- Sustainability for Construction Professionals
  • D31CF- Quantity Surveying Financial Management
  • D31PT- Project Management Theory and Practice
  • D31VR-Value and Risk Management
  • D41VC- Real Estate Appraisal and Valuation
  • D21EH- Environmental Hydrology & Water Resources
  • D31AT - Advanced Construction Technology
  • D41EP- Urban Economy and Property Markets
  • D31SC- Strategic Commercial and Contracts Management
  • C11DG- Digital Business Strategy: Platforms and Ecosystems 
  • D31SQ- Service Procurement and Provision
  • D41SP- Spatial Planning
  • C11BA- Business Analytics

Semester 2

  • D21FE- Foundation Engineering
  • D21WW- Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • D31AM- Strategic Asset maintenance management
  • D31CG- Construction Financial Management
  • D31PO- People and Organization Management in the BE
  • D31SM- Space Planning and Management
  • D21SB- Design and Analysis of Tall Steel Buildings
  • D21WA- Water Supply System Analysis
  • D31MI- Construction Practice and Information Technology
  • B51GI Technology Future and Business Strategy 
  • F21DE Digital and Knowledge Economy 
  • D31RZ-Research Dissertation
  • D31PS- Project Management Strategic Issues
  • D31RZ course is only available to students pursuing MSc exit qualification

In addition, students registered will attend workshops and seminars for the PhD cohort, and specialist seminars geared towards business development and entrepreneurship.

Entry requirements

This programme will admit graduates from degrees relevant to the construction engineering and management. The EngD qualification at Dubai will cater for potential candidates who are currently embedded in industry, or to facilitate knowledge transfer from Heriot-Watt to industry with a new recruit.

If you have any questions about the application process, contact Dr. Yasemin Nielsen (yasemin.nielsen@hw.ac.uk). 

English language requirements

Where English was not the medium of instruction during previous education, applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5. Other qualifications may also be considered.

Fees and funding

  • AED 60713 per year*

* All tuition fees inclusive of VAT

Scholarships and bursaries

See our range of degree entry, undergraduate, postgraduate taught and PhD scholarships and discounts.