Doctor of Philosophy

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Topics in Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studied in the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, is awarded after the successful completion of concentrated research effort constituting an original and substantial contribution to knowledge. Students work closely with their supervisor to prepare a thesis, which is examined by independent experts who apply contemporary international standards.

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK3518
Level: 10
Points: 360
Duration: 4 years
Venue: City Campus
Start date: Anytime

AUT encourages early application.

Entry requirements

English Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English or Māori is not their first language are required to provide proof of an acceptable pass/grade gained in an accepted English language test. For more details, please refer to English Language Requirements in AUT’s Academic Calendar.

Research topics

Staff in the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences supervise PhD/MPhil research on a wide range of computer topics. In particular, the School has extensive research capabilities in the following areas:

Analytics and Statistics Data Mining and Machine Learning Materials and Manufacturing Technologies
Applied Mathematics Databases, Warehousing and Big Data Mathematics and Computing Education
Artificial Intelligence Distributed Computing Networking Dependability
Augmented Coaching Systems and Technology Embedded Systems and Robotics Network Management
Biomedical Technologies
Energy Research Power and Energy Engineering
Built Environment Engineering
Engineering Design
Pure Mathematics
Cloud Computing Forensic Information Technology Radio astronomy and Astrophysics
Computer Graphics Geoinformatics Semiconductors and Integrated Devices
Computer Philosophy Human Motion Modelling and Analysis Signal Processing
Computational Sport Science and Rehabilitation Industrial Optimisation, Modelling and Control Software Engineering
Computer Vision and Image Processing Information Systems System Usability
Computer and Wireless Communication Networks Knowledge Engineering Theoretical Computer Science and Applications
Construction Management Maritime Engineering Web Technologies, Social Networks and Multimedia

Analytics and Statistics

Applied Mathematics

Artificial Intelligence

Augmented Coaching Systems and Technology

Biomedical Technologies

  • Biomechanical engineering, respiratory therapy devices, airway smooth muscle dynamics, cardiovascular diagnostic devices, system dynamics and control, vibration and acoustics, electroactive polymers for biomedical applications (Ahmed Al-Jumaily, Andrew Lowe)
  • Kode technology biosurface engineering,  biological engineering, synthetic biofilms (Steve Henry)
  • Biomedical signal and image processing, patient monitoring, diagnostics and decision support systems (Hamid Gholamhosseini, Andrew Lowe)
  • Haemodynamic sensing and measurement systems, signal processing including fuzzy and neural techniques (Andrew Lowe)
  • Biomedical signal processing and devices (Jeff Kilby)
  • Biomedical engineering, bio design, biomechanics, biomimicry/biomimetics and sustainability (Lorenzo Garcia)
  • Human upper airway and respiratory mechanics, breathing therapies and devices, design of biomedical devices (David White, Chris Whittington)


Built Environment Engineering

  • Structural health monitoring and damage detection (Sherif Beskhyroun)
  • Earthquake engineering (Sherif Beskhyroun)
  • Dynamic testing of structures and large scale field testing (Sherif Beskhyroun)
  • Seismic design of concrete structures (Sherif Beskhyroun)
  • BIM (Ali GhaffarianHoseini, Nicola Naismith)
  • Design Cognition and Computing, Building Automation Systems, Energy Efficient Buildings, Green Building Development, Green Roofs Environmental Design Behaviour, Sustainable Design Developments, Adaptive Environments, Smart Housing, Intelligent Buildings, Artificial Intelligence in Design & Construction, Integrated Design Studies (Ali GhaffarianHoseini)
  • Health, Safety and Human Performance, Inclusive design, Processes for optimising Design Brief development, Systems Approach, Sustainable human development including social, cultural, environmental, economic factors (Dave Moore)
  • Sustainability and green certification, skill shortages, productivity and procurement, Strategy, HRM, conflict, and women in construction (Nicola Naismith)
  • Lie in the areas of connections, earthquake-resistant technologies and timber-based hybrid structures including: High capacity and damage-avoidance connections, Brittle, mixed, and ductile failure modes of timber connections, Multi-story and long-span structures using new engineered timber products, Hybridisation techniques for composite structures (Pouyan Zarnani)

Cloud Computing

Computational Sport Science and Rehabilitation

  • Augmenting sport performance systems (Boris Bacic)
  • Diagnostic exergames for: rehabilitation, improving reaction, motor control, skills and technique (Boris Bacic)

Computer Graphics

Computer Philosophy

Computer and Wireless Communication Networks

Computer Vision and Image Processing

Computing and Cyber Security

Construction Management

  • Construction and project management, disaster legislation and reconstruction management (James Rotimi)
  • Construction and project management, logistics and supply chain management, procurement systems in construction, project leadership (John Tookey)
  • Supply chain efficiency, logistics planning, disaster management (Mani Poshdar)
  • Waste minimisation, waste reduction, materials efficiency engineering (Jeff Seadon)

Databases, Warehousing and Big Data

Data Mining and Machine Learning

Distributed Computing

Embedded Systems and Robotics

  • Embedded systems, software (John Collins)
  • Robotic design and control, quadrotor usage in emergency rescue, embedded systems, and FPGA (Mark Beckerleg)
  • High performance embedded systems using DSP/FPGA technology, computer vision, electronic nose (Hamid Gholamhosseini)
  • Radio frequency integrated circuits (Jack Xuejun Li)
  • Robotics, mechatronics and control (Loulin Huang)
  • Smart textiles and wearable technologies (Boon Chong Seet)
  • Antennas and radio frequency based sensors for embedded systems (Boon Chong Seet)

Energy Research

  • Solar energy- solar heating and cooling, applied photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, novel solar absorber surfaces (Tim Anderson, Ramon Zamora)
  • Built environment-energy use in buildings, building performance modelling and measurement (Tim Anderson)
  • Heat transfer- experimental and numerical modelling, natural convection (Tim Anderson)
  • Stirling cycle research; development of stirling cryocoolers, refrigerators, heat-pumps, and engines; Heat-actuated refrigerators and heat-pumps; liquid piston sytems (Michael Gschwendtner)
  • Geothermal power generation and cooling; Waste heat recovery; Renewable energy (Michael Gschwendtner)
  • Engines, fuels, thermodynamics and fluid systems, combustion, air pollution (Roy Nates)
  • Marine renewable energy (Sascha Kosleck)

Engineering Design

  • Sustainable engineering design using methods such as biomimicry or the cradle to cradle approach (Marcel Schaefer)
  • Design & analysis engineering, virtual prototyping and proof of concept, innovation management (Lorenzo Garcia)

Forensic Information Technology


Human Motion Modelling and Analysis

  • Augmented coaching systems (Boris Bacic)
  • Biomechanics, data analytics and computational intelligence (Boris Bacic, Russel Pears)
  • Coaching support systems (Boris Bacic)
  • Functional rehabilitation devices and exoskeleton control: modelling and data analysis (Boris Bacic, Enrico Haemmerle)
  • Identification of movement pathomechanics factors (Boris Bacic)
  • Intelligent and haptic prosthetic modelling and control analysis (Boris Bacic)
  • Kinesiology, artificial intelligence and computer vision (Boris Bacic, Russel Pears, Wei Qi Yan, Reinhard Klette )
  • Modelling and analysis of competitive game outcome (Boris Bacic)
  • Modelling and analysis design science for diagnostic exergames and scenario-driven monitoring devices (Boris Bacic)
  • Modelling and analysis of multi-objective movement patterns (Boris Bacic)
  • Modelling and analysis of systems that can capture heuristics, adapt their behaviour and generate knowledge to aid human reasoning (Boris Bacic)

Industrial Optimisation, Modelling & Control

  • Automatic control, industrial computing, control performance analysis, model predictive control, control audits, electrical system modelling, intelligent asset monitoring, electrical load modelling (David Wilson)

Information Systems

Knowledge Engineering

Maritime Engineering

  • Model tests (seakeeping, offshore engineering, cavitation), wave generation, hydrodynamic analyses - wave/structure interaction, wave forecast, ship motion forecast, CFD – Computational Fluid Dynamics, investigation of oil spill cleanup at sea (Sascha Kosleck)

Materials & Manufacturing Technologies

  • Magnetic material characterisation, magnetic component design (Craig Baguley)
  • Thermo-mechanics and physical metallurgy of friction stir processing, microstructure and mechanical properties of materials, physical/mechanical metallurgy (in welding, casting, semi-solid forming & extrusion), thermodynamics, growth kinetics and properties of interfacial intermetallics (Zhan Chen)
  • Fusion welding (laser, electron beam and TIG on titanium and titanium alloys), aerospace Al alloys (particularly Al-Li alloys), aluminium extrusion, metal forming of Mg alloys, machining of titanium and ADI (Tim Pasang)
  • FEA, tribology, metal forming, additive manufacturing, impact mechanics, fracture, fatigue and creep (Maziar Ramezani)
  • Polymers and polymer composites, electroactive materials, discrete element modelling (DEM), particle technology (Max Ramos)
  • Metal cutting, finite and boundary element methods, software development for engineering applications, CAD/CAM, rapid prototyping and manufacturing (Sarat Singamneni)

Mathematics and Computer Education

  • Analysing the transition from secondary to university education in mathematics (Sergiy Klymchuk)
  • Computer science education: novice programmers, the development of expertise, tools to assist learning (Jacqueline Whalley, Tony Clear)
  • Effective teaching of mathematical modelling and applications (Sergiy Klymchuk)
  • Enhancing generic thinking skills of tertiary STEM students through puzzle-based learning (Sergiy Klymchuk)
  • Investigating the influence of attention on mathematical knowledge and assessment (Sergiy Klymchuk)
  • Statistics education (Murray Black)
  • Using counterexamples to enhance students' conceptual understanding in mathematics (Sergiy Klymchuk)
  • Virtual worlds and education (Stephen Thorpe)

Network Dependability

Network Management

Power and Energy Engineering

  • Power electronics (Craig Baguley, Gilbert Foo, Adam Taylor)
  • Control of electrical drives, electrical machine design (Gilbert Foo)
  • Non-traditional supercapacitor applications, DC-DC converters, superconductor applications in power engineering,  DC-Micro grid (Kosala Gunawardane)
  • Power system operation and control, deregulated power systems, energy management, renewable energy (Tek-Tjing Lie, Ramon Zamora)
  • Power systems, power electronic device modeling, linear induction motors, alternative and/or distributed generation (Adam Taylor)
  • Power conversion and electronic applications (Ross Twiname)
  • Power system modeling, simulation and control; power system management and controls; power electronic applications for power systems; grid integration of renewable energy and energy storage; microgrid and smart grid; and distributed controls (Ramon Zamora)
  • Global Energy Internet (GEI), Internet of Energy (IoE) (Boon Chong Seet)

Pure Mathematics

Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics

Semiconductors and Integrated Devices

  • Technology Development and Reliability of Semiconductor Devices and Integrated Circuits, Infrared photodetectors, Solid State Sensors, Electronic Materials (Krishnamachar Prasad, Jeff Kilby)

Signal Processing

Software Engineering

System Usability

Theoretical Computer Science and Applications

Web Technologies, Social Networks and Multimedia

Students can also work on topics that incorporate aspects of more than one of these research areas, with supervision from staff in those groups.

For enquiries related to supervision from staff affiliated with these departments:
  • Built Environment Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Please contact

For enquiries related to supervision from staff affiliated with these departments:

  • Computer Science
  • Information technology and Software Engineering
  • Mathematical Sciences

Please contact

Career opportunities

Upon completion of a PhD in the field of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, you will be a recognised expert in your field. The opportunity to apply this will be endless, both in industry and academia.

Last updated: 19-Feb-2018 9.01am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.