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PhD in Modelling of Heterogeneous Systems

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  • Course Code
  • P-F343
  • Course Type
  • Postgraduate Research
  • Qualification
  • PhD
  • Duration
  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time: 7 years


HetSys is an EPSRC-supported Centre for Doctoral Training. It recruits enthusiastic students from across the physical sciences who enjoy using their mathematical skills and thinking flexibly to solve complex problems.

By developing these skills, HetSys will train you to challenge current state-of-the-art in computational modelling of heterogeneous, ‘real world’ systems across a range of research themes such as nanoscale devices, new catalysts, superalloys, smart fluids, laser-plasma interactions etc.


The HetSys training programme addresses three key training needs:

  1. Span disciplinary barriers. The most challenging real-world heterogeneous systems are intrinsically multidisciplinary, requiring integration of a diverse range of modelling methods.
  2. Incorporate uncertainty in modelling. Training in uncertainty quantification will enable students not only to perform simulations, but also to quantitatively assess their reliability.
  3. Promote robust Research Software Engineering (RSE). Training in sustainable software development will enhance software usability and extend its lifetime.

CDT training will run throughout the four year PhD programme as illustrated below, with all aspects designed to meet the three key training needs above, and to develop transferable skills. You will be recruited directly onto projects and will have a supervisor from the start of the course, as well as a second supervisor in a related area and a cohort mentor for academic and pastoral advice. In projects with industry links there will often also be an industry co-supervisor.

Research proposal guidance

HetSys offers a range of research projects. A research proposal is not required. Instead, applicants should nominate one to three projects that they are interested in, in order of preference.


Examples of areas of current research within the remit of the HetSys CDT include the following themes. Please see our projects page for specific projects currently being advertised.

  • Novel electronic devices
  • Catalysis across scales
  • High-performance alloys
  • Direct-drive laser fusion
  • Heterogeneous modelling for future medicines
  • Smart nanofluidic interfaces
  • Composite materials with enhanced functionality
  • Heterogeneity of underground systems
  • Mathematical challenges
  • Simulation optimisation

Please see our research themes for further details.


HetSys' training programme is to enable you to become a high-quality computational scientist who is comfortable working in interdisciplinary environments, have excellent communication skills, and well prepared for a wide range of future careers in areas where there is demonstrable need.

During the first 18 months of the programme you will study four core modules (Multiscale Modelling Methods and Applications I and II, Research Computing/Software Carpentry and Predictive Modelling and Uncertainty Quantification) and at least two optional modules, participate in a Group Software Development Project supported by academics and RSEs, and carry out an independent research project in the area of the PhD project assessed through a written report and viva 12 months into the programme.

The individual project also leads to a peer-to-peer activity in the second year (also part of the Group Software Development Project). These activities will contribute to the formal award of a postgraduate diploma (120 credits), which must be successfully completed 18 months into the programme. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the formal transferable skills course run by the University, which leads to a PG Certificate in Transferable Skills after three years.

In Years Two to Four the majority of your time will be spent conducting PhD research. There will be ample opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and knowledge exchange through cohort-wide activities.


Entry requirements 2:i undergraduate degree at BSc, BEng or an integrated Master’s degree (e.g. MPhys, MChem, MSci, MEng etc.) in a physical sciences, mathematics or engineering discipline.

English language requirements Band A
Overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 and component scores.

International Students
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.


For up-to-date information concerning fees, funding and scholarships for Home/EU and Overseas students please visit Warwick's Fees and Funding webpage.

Related Research Courses


MSc (by research) in Physics

PhD in Physics