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Photonics, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
University rank #94 (BCR) Southampton, United Kingdom
Working alongside some of the world’s leading photonics, physics and advanced materials 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, physics, optics and advanced materials, writing journal papers and attending conferences.
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As an ORC PhD student you will gain a solid grounding in photonics, a key enabling technology that will open up a wide range of careers in academia or industries such as: 

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. 

We also offer plenty of opportunities for networking with fellow researchers and potential employers throughout your PhD at national and international conferences, industry and academic events.  We have an active postgraduate student society - OpSoc - which organises a busy calender of academic, careers and social events throughout the year, and play a key part in our work with schools and the community.

We have a vibrant community of researchers, led by some of the leading figures in the field of photonics, who have contributed significantly to the remarkable growth of the photonics industry, including the optical telecommunication technology that underpins the internet as well as solutions in medicine, biosciences sensing, security and manufacturing.

In recognition of our world-leading expertise in photonics and fibre optic technology, and the many decades of inspired innovation by the ORC to provide solutions for real-life problems, the University of Southampton’ has been awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 24 months
    • Average part-time duration 36 months
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration description

      Part time: 3 - 8 years

  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Session 1: General Photonics Principles
Beam Propagation
  • Gaussian Beam Optics
  • Pulse Propagation in Dispersive Media
  • Optical Fibres and Fibre Telecommunications
Optical Nonlinearities
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Nonlinearities in Optical Fibres
Lasers and Waveguides
  • Laser Physics
  • Solid State Lasers
  • Planar Waveguides
Session 2: Selected Topics
  • Fibre Gratings
  • Numeral Techniques in Optics
  • Metamaterials
  • Optical Pulse Characterization
  • Microstructured Fibres
  • Glass Poling, Fentomsecond Laser Writing
  • Optical Fiber Sensors, High Power Fibre Lasers

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

General Requirements

  • 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 an IELTS test. We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, with 5.5 in each component.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    21360 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 21360 GBP per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

* EU Fees : TBC

Living costs for Southampton

  • 697 - 1100 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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 stipend: £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years

EU and international bursary: based on research council set stipend level. In 2015 this was £14,057 tax free per annum for up to 3.5 years

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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