Advanced Technology Institute PhD
Why choose this programme
The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) is one of the University’s world-leading research centres. As a PhD student, you’ll work alongside other ATI researchers in the areas of quantum information, nanotechnology, energy, microwave engineering and advanced materials.
The ATI houses 160 researchers, including engineers, physicists, materials scientists, biologists and chemists. Approximately half of these researchers are PhD students, allowing you to pursue truly multidisciplinary research.
It’s likely you’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists around the world, which will enhance your international outlook. As part of the larger Doctoral College community, you’ll receive the training you need to become a fully-fledged researcher and drive the next generation of technology and innovation.
You’ll have access to the ATI’s extensive facilities and equipment – which have benefited from more than £40 million of investment – to fabricate, characterise, analyse and simulate. This means you can push the frontiers of physics and engineering, while also working closely with local, national and international companies.
Additionally, you’ll be able to join the most appropriate professional institution based on your degree. This is nominally the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and/or the Institute of Physics (IOP) as an associate member, and you’ll be entitled to apply for full membership after three years of postgraduate studies.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, the University of Surrey ranks 15th in the UK for research power for engineering and top 20 in the UK for the overall quality of research outputs (research papers and other published works).
What you will study
Your research will sit in one of the ATI’s four research groups: Nanoelectronics, Photonics, Ion Beams, and Theory and Computation. These are united by cross-cutting themes, such as science and technology on the nanoscale, technological applications of quantum science and engineering, and conversion of energy.
Your proposal for a new PhD topic will be examined with a holistic view of the field and its technical content, the excellence in the proposed research, its potential to provide new and fundamental insight to technical problems, and the ability of the ATI to provide the best environment to facilitate the research.
You’ll be registered for a maximum four-year period of full-time study. After 12 months, you’ll write a confirmation report, which will be assessed by independent examiners. A detailed evaluation of progress and future research plans will be made every six months to ensure that progress towards completion of the PhD remains satisfactory.
A PhD normally lasts for three-and-a-half years. During this time, you’ll be supported by two academics, who you’ll meet with on a regular basis. Postdoctoral researchers in the group also help with project steering, especially when the PhD work is part of a multinational or industry-focused programme.
The location of your research will depend on the needs of your project. You’ll be allocated office space in the ATI building, typically alongside researchers with related research interests. Depending on the specifics of your project, your time will be spent differently around the facility. Modelling projects are predominantly computer-based, while experimental projects involve work in the Clean Room and an assortment of labs. Like many PhD projects, yours may be collaborative and require travel for meetings with associates and to access specialised facilities.
You’ll submit a written PhD thesis after a minimum three years of full-time study, which will be examined in a viva by a combination of external and internal examiners, selected for their knowledge of the research field. A PhD will be awarded if the content, rigour, originality and relevance of the research are sufficient for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
China Scholarship Council-Surrey Awards
Successful candidates will receive full cover of their tuition fee for overseas students for a duration of up to 48 months. Successful candidates will also receive a stipend as prescribed by the Chinese government, and international round trip air fare between China and the UK.
- Quantum science and technology
- Nanoscience and nanotechnology
- Advanced energy materials
- Flexible and printed electronics
- Sensors and smart environments
- Ion beams
- RF and microwave devices
- Micro- and nanofabrication
- Microscopy and surface science
- Modelling and simulation
- Semiconductor devices
- Renewable energy systems.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the Advanced Technology Institute.
This centre has laboratories for plasma, energy and printed electronics all supported by a dedicated Clean Room.
Ion Beam Centre
The Nanofabrication Laboratory, which sits within the Ion Beam Centre, contains two electron microscopes and a dual-beam electron/ion microscope.
Hydrostatic Pressure Laboratory
This laboratory is used to vary the lattice constant of crystals in a controlled manner, mimicking the effect of changing composition.
These laboratories include pulsed lasers for material deposition, patterning and characterisation of materials.
For thermal, electromagnetic and device characterisation for microwave transistors.
Extensive computational facilities
These facilities are used for electronic, quantum and photonic device simulations.
Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper second-class (2:1) UK degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent overseas qualification), or a lower-second (2:2) UK degree plus a good UK masters degree - distinction normally required (or equivalent overseas qualification).
International entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Selection is based on applicants:
- Meeting the expected entry requirements
- Being shortlisted through the application screening process
- Completing a successful interview
- Providing suitable references.
Start date: January 2024
Start date: April 2024
Start date: July 2024
Start date: October 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
For fees payable in 2023/24, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than September will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
Overseas students applying for 2023 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4 per cent rounded up to the nearest £100.
View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.
Read our application guidance for further information on the application process.
Code of practice for research degrees
Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.
Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and procedures, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.