Physics PhD

Surrey is one of the leading nuclear theory institutions in the UK, and I have the fantastic opportunity to be working alongside Dr Arnau Rios and Professor Jim Al-Khalili. Surrey offers a fantastic study environment; the work is interesting, exciting and new.

Rosh Sellahewa PhD Theoretical Nuclear Physics

Why choose this course?

Our PhD research programmes provide opportunities for experimental, theoretical or computational research in subjects such as nuclear/radiation physics, astrophysics, photonics, soft matter, quantum technologies and medical physics.

Surrey is a key contributor to the South-East Physics network of nine leading university physics departments (SEPnet) and you will be part of its graduate network (GRADnet), the largest postgraduate research school in England.

Our partnership (in collaboration with University of Strathclyde) with the National Physical Laboratory will enable you to become an expert in your specialism.

PhD students work closely with their academic supervisors, and typically with other students and postdoctoral researchers.You share an office with other PhD students working in the same group.

Most areas of research are inter-disciplinary and the majority of students have opportunity to collaborate with scientists at universities, research establishments and in industry around the world.

What you will study

Discover past and present student experiences of the subject, including Rosh Sellahewa and Shakardokht Jafari.

Facilities accessible to Physics PhD students at Surrey include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging laboratories
  • Laser laboratories
  • Soft matter laboratories including microstructural (AFM and Raman), mechanical, optical (ellipsometry and spectroscopy), electrical and thermal characterisation facilities
  • Low temperature, high magnetic field and high pressure characterisation laboratories
  • Dedicated ultra-fast-laser laboratory
  • Chemical synthesis laboratory
  • Electrical and optical characterisation laboratories
  • Access to an electron microscopy suite (SEM and environmental SEM)
  • Access to a focussed-ion-beam facility
  • Class 100 clean-room facility for the development of nanotechnology
  • High performance computers for advanced mathematical modelling
  • Full support from dedicated teams of technical and IT support staff

PhD students are assigned to a research group which includes a team of academics, postdoctoral researchers, guest scientists and fellows. Each has a vibrant seminar programme providing the opportunity to learn from colleagues and from guest scientists.

As a PhD student in the Department of Physics you will be working with supervisors who will define your research project with you, and help you learn the necessary experimental and computing skills.

Our specialist areas include Nuclear, Radiation, Medical Physics, Photonics, Soft Matter and Astrophysics.

Research themes

Most areas of research are inter-disciplinary and the majority of students have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists at universities, research establishments and in industry around the world.

Research areas, centres and groups


The Faculty has a number of PhD studentships for suitably qualified UK and EU nationals who can demonstrate the appropriate residency requirements. Other funding opportunities also exist within different research centres.


Mechanically induced phase transitions in Liquid Crystal Elastomers


Dr James Adams


Funding Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Application deadline Ongoing
Opportunities across all subjects

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, January, April, July

Entry Requirements

A First or Upper Second class degree in physical science or engineering, or an equivalent overseas qualification, or a Lower Second plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required). Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £20,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

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).