Research courses

We are 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.

Find a course

Our students 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 and get in contact with an academic.


We receive funding to support PhD students from a number of sources, such as the UK Research councils, industry, the EU, etc. The University also offers 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 and see what funding is available.

SCENARIO: coatings of anammox bacteria for nitrogen removal from contaminated water

Funding information:
This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding.This project is potentially funded by the Scenario NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, subject to a competition to identify the strongest applicants. Due to UKRI rules, the DTP can only fund a very limited number of international students. We will only consider applications from international students with an outstanding academic background placing them in the top 10% of their cohort.This studentship covers both fees and stipend – a tax-free maintenance grant which was £15,609 per year in 2021-22. You will also receive a Research Training and Support budget to cover costs such as conferences, workshops and equipment.

Expert support

The Doctoral College supports the academic and professional development of postgraduate researchers to ensure our world-leading research continues to grow. There is also an extensive Researcher Development Programme run at university level.


We help our students during their studies to understand their career options for after university.

Employer mentoring programme

We have a postgraduate research employer mentoring programme to help our PhD students find out about career options for doctorates in business and industry earlier in their PhD, and to better manage the transition from academic research to work outside of university.

Mentors come from a variety of different employer types, sectors and sizes, such as NPL, AWE, Oxford Instruments and SME, Fourth State Medicine.

Graduate network

We are part of GRADnet, a collaborative graduate school of nine South East England physics departments.

Through GRADnet our PhD students benefit from courses on physics research techniques, and courses taught in conjunction with companies, on team-working and working in industry.

Careers after graduation

After graduation, our PhD and EngD students go on to careers in both the private and public sectors such as:

  • Postdoctoral positions at British or overseas universities
  • Academics in the UK and overseas
  • Working in private sector companies making radiation detectors, photonics companies, oil companies etc
  • Applying their skills in related areas such as data science
  • Working in public sector companies such as Dstl and AWE.

Find a supervisor

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