Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Mar 31, 2024
127 place StudyQA ranking:2852 Duration:30 months

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Photonics has helped to change the world in many extraordinary ways such as powering the internet, navigating airliners, correcting vision and protecting the environment.

Many of the major developments in todays technology were pioneered by ORC researchers, including the optical fibres and amplifiers that form the hardware backbone of the internet and the fibre laser which is used for a variety of applications ranging from manufacturing to defence.

Our world-leading research centre is a constant hive of activity with over 200 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in manufacturing, communication technology, defence, health care, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonics pioneers of the future to join our vibrant research team and work alongside our world-class researchers to create some history. Our PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics and photonics whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry.

PhD degree in Photonics

Working alongside some of the worlds leading photonics scientists you will spend your time conducting novel research in our state-of-the-art facilities, keeping up to date with current research trends in photonics, writing journal papers and attending conferences.

We want our students to gain a solid grounding for their future careers in photonics.

Our extensive training programme provides knowledge and skills through photonics lectures, skills training for report writing and presentation skills and full safety training for your research area.

In addition we also offer plenty of opportunities for networking with fellow researchers and potential employers through attendance at national and international conferences throughout the PhD as well as internal industry and academic events.


All research students enrol initially for an MPhil, with conditional transfer to PhD on the successful completion of their transfer report and viva 16 months after the start of their studies.

Duration of MPhil/PhD studies: Full time: 2.5 - 4 years / Part time: 3 - 8 years


Our success as a research centre is closely linked to the success of our PhD programme. Consequently we take the welfare of our students very seriously and are willing to put aside time for every student. Your supervisor will meet you on a regular basis to see how your research is going and our dedicated student mentor will help to ensure that you are settling in.

PhD research projects

We have over 30 research groups working on a wide variety of research projects. Our supervisors are always on the lookout for new students to join their teams. A full list of the PhD projects available with our research groups can be found in the PhD project section of the website.


Students are required to have either a first or upper second class degree or equivalent in a relevant subject area from a recognised University - and a basic background in Mathematics.

Our work is multidisciplinary, so we are keen to get a diverse spread of students with science and engineering backgrounds. This includes the obvious subjects like Physics, Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Chemistry, with the less obvious such as Biology. The requirements may vary depending on your background and the projects that you may be working on.

Students whose first language is not English will need to complete either an IELTS or TOEFL test, we require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, or TOEFL score of 560 (computer-based TOEFL 220) for our research courses.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6 TOEFL paper-based test score : 560

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


We want to invest in the photonics pioneers of the future by providing enhanced funding and paid tuition fees for our UK students.

All our fully funded places include paid tuition fees and a tax-free bursary to cover your living expenses.

UK enhanced bursary: £15,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years

ORC UK Scholarship bursary: £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years (This scholarship is awarded to our top UK applicant)

EU and international bursary: based on research council set stipend level in 2010 this was £13,590 tax free per annum for up to 3.5 years

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