Ultra Precision Engineering

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 26.1 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 48.5 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jun 29, 2024
6 place StudyQA ranking:925 Duration:4 years

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The EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Ultra Precision offers a four year PhD course in collaboration with Cranfield University; at the end of the first year, successful students are awarded an MRes degree before continuing to the doctoral programme.

The programme is designed to produce engineering leaders with training in many advanced ultra precision technologies and processes including: laser micro processing; focused ion beam machining; reactive atom plasma processing; micro mechanical machining; nanofabrication; graphene engineering; printed electronics, and advanced metrology systems.

Accordingly, the programme aims to:

  • produce a high level of understanding and skills in ultra precision, in particular the fundamentals of the field together with the necessary research expertise, technology, systems and applications knowledge;
  • develop strong business awareness in MRes graduates and foster an understanding of the foundations of management theory and the connections between technology, management and entrepreneurship;
  • encourage an appreciation of applications drivers for ultra precision systems technologies and the business, road-mapping and cost analysis tools used to determine the adoption of new technological solutions;
  • expose the students to a range of technology areas and provide an experience a variety of different research and development cultures, via the use of mini-projects, from blue skies university lab to short term industry development projects;
  • enable students to study across disciplinary boundaries, with a resultant enhancement of interdisciplinary understanding;
  • equip the graduates of the programme with generic communications skills as well as research specific training to enable them to make a seamless transfer to doctoral research programmes at Cambridge, Cranfield, or another UK University.

Learning Outcomes

The MRes course will equip its graduates with a wide range of skills and knowledge, enabling them to fully engage in ultra precision manufacturing.

Graduates will have developed skills and understanding in the following broad areas:

  • fundamentals of ultra precision systems in the broad areas of machine design, metrology, optical testing, machine dynamics, displays, lasers, ion beams, micro manufacturing, and surface engineering;
  • concepts of, and strategies for, ultra precision system design and implementation;
  • research and laboratory experience via project placements in university research groups and industrial R&D facilities;
  • aspects of business, innovation and technology development;
  • awareness of best practices through an industrial visits programme.

By the end of the PhD, successful students will have produced original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in the area of Ultra Precision manufacturing.

The CDT is run in conjunction with the University of Cranfield, which teaches approximately half of the taught elements of the MRes course. Cranfield also takes in an MRes cohort, who will be taught alongside the Cambridge students.

Students are required to pass assessment for 5 taught modules (including the 'Technology and Innovation Management' module supplied by the Institute for Manufacturing), 8 laboratory exercises, and 2 project dissertations. Teaching is through a variety of media, combining to provide a rich and varied learning experience for CDT-UP graduates. Students will experience lectures, small group teaching, student-led and tutor-led seminars, field visits, guest speaker presentations and case studies, short block courses, and individual research.

Successful MRes students will then proceed to a three-year programme of supervised doctoral research, during which time they will continue to be supported by the CDT. They will maintain participation in CDT industrial visits, seminars, and the annual research conference

The numbers given below reflect the MRes year only.

One to one supervision

30 hours per year

Seminars & classes

40 hours per year


130 hours per year


30 hours per year

Small group teaching

24 hours per year

Journal clubs

16 hours per year


Students will undertake literature reviews as part of each of their projects; this is also an important element of the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Reading Club. Students will spend approximately 48 hours/year engaged in this activity.


After the end of the first project, students are required to make a thirty minute presentation to their supervisor, senior members of the CDT and (where relevant) company management. Fifteen minutes will be left for questions.


Projects may take place in industrial laboratories. A programme of industrial visits is also provided.


Students can expect to receive reports at least termly on the Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System. They will receive comments on items of coursework, and will have access to a University supervisor for their dissertation. All students will also have personal access to the Course Director and the other staff delivering the course.



At the end of the second year of the degree (the first year of the PhD programme), students will be required to submit a report of 10,000 to 15,000.

The doctoral dissertation must be submitted by the end of the fourth year (the third year of the PhD programme) and must not exceed 65,000 words. A compulsory viva voce examination will follow the submission of the dissertation.


Four of the five modules are assessed by coursework. Additionally, all of the laboratory classes are assessed by reports written after the practical class.

All students are required to complete two projects, supporting the development of the research platforms of the Centre of Innovative Manufacturing in Ultra Precision. These are both assessed through project reports of up to 10,000 words, conceived of as 'handover documents', which could be given to another person or group to enable them to understand and build on the project. Students are also expected to produce a presentation at the end of the first project, and a compulsory viva voce examination will follow the submission of the report for the second project.

Written examination

During the MRes year, all students will take the Photonic Systems module, which is assessed through a single written examination lasting 1.5 hours.

  • Magistr (Master's Degree) at Pass level. Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of good or 4/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 4/5 Bologna Bachelor's from other institutions with an overall grade of 5/5, Excellent
  • Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of Excellent or 5/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 5/5
  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0
  • TOEFL Internet Score 100
  • £50 application fee
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