Postgraduate research

Our Department is home to around 80 PhD and EngD students, working on projects from computational studies of dark matter, to experimental studies of paints. We recruit around 20 PhD and EngD students every year, with most starting in October.

Our funding to support (via tuition fees and student stipends) PhD and EngD students comes from a range of sources, which differ from one research area to another. We suggest you browse our research areas to look for research that interests you, and then contact the research group's leader, to enquire about PhD opportunities.

Physics PhDs at Surrey

Our Department has around 80 PhD and EngD students from the UK, EU and a wide range of overseas countries. They work on cutting edge projects in both pure and applied physics, and on experimental and computational projects. The PhDs and EngDs are funded by both the UK government and the EU, and by companies. Many of our PhDs are collaborative, where the student works with a partner of the University, such as a company, or National Physical Laboratory.

If you are interested in doing a PhD with us, please look at the interests of our Department's research groups. Then you can get in contact with an individual academic if they offer a specific project or work in an area of particular interest, or you can get in contact with the academic who leads that research group, if you have a more general enquiry.

Careers after graduation

On graduation, our PhD and EngD students go on to careers in both the private and public sectors. Some go into postdoctoral positions,at British or overseas universities, and in some cases go on to become academics, either in the UK or overseas. Others go on to jobs in the private sector directly related to their PhDs, such as companies making radiation detectors, photonics companies, oil companies, etc, or they apply their skills in related areas such as data science. PhD graduates also go on to work in the public sector, for example in Dstl or AWE.

Click on our course page below to find out more about studying for a PhD here at Surrey.


We receive funding to support PhD students (covering both fees and a stipend for the student) from a number of sources, such as the UK Research councils (STFC, EPSRC etc) funded, industry, the EU, etc. The University also offer studentships, to both UK/EU, and overseas students. If you have interests in a specific research area, we suggest you contact the leader of that group.

Competitive funding for PhDs starting October 2019

Every year the University offers funding on a competitive basis, i.e. prospective PhD students can apply for this together with their potential PhD supervisors. There is an application process for UK/EU students for applying for a university funded PhD studentship, for an October 2019 start, and an international studentship for students from outside the UK/EU.

In brief, the process is to agree a project with a prospective supervisor, and in parallel to apply for one of these studentships. If you interested in this scheme you should contact an academic in the group whose research looks most interesting to you.

In addition to funding available for general projects in our research groups, we often also have funding associated with specific PhD or EngD projects. Below is a list of specific projects that have funding tied to that project.

Applied nuclear physics: silicon photomultiplier scintillation detectors

Funding information:
The studentship is funded for 3.5 years at normal UKRI studentship rates (equal to approximately £14,000 per year). Funding is provided by the Radiation Detection Doctoral Network (RadNet) and from the two sponsoring companies. This studentship is available for individuals from the UK and EU.

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Department of Physics
University of Surrey