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 The UCL-Cambridge Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems (CEPS) CDT

MRes + PhD (1+3) in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems at UCL and University of Cambridge

Two world-leading universities have joined forces to develop the next generation of researchers working on connected electronic and photonic systems that will change the way we live and work.

About the programme

This 4-year programme is delivered by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems (CEPS CDT), a joint centre between UCL and University of Cambridge. It comprises a 1-year MRes (Masters of Research) degree followed by a 3-year PhD (doctoral research) degree. Students study at both universities and benefit from their combined strengths, academic excellence and collaborations with industry.

4-year EPSRC funded studentships (fees and stipend) are available for eligible applicants.

MRes (1-year)

The MRes year is a combination of lectures, tutorials, projects and laboratory work. Students have a choice of modules across photonic systems and devices, electronics, circuits and sensors, physics, quantum and nano, optical networks, wireless communications, radio frequency and broadband technologies, machine learning, and the internet of things. On successful completion of the MRes students should be equipped to embark on doctoral research with confidence.

PhD (3 years)

During their PhD degree, students carry out world-leading doctoral research, supported by their research group. PhD projects are offered across a wide range of topics, based at either UCL, University of Cambridge or within industry.

Current PhD students are working on cutting-edge photonics applications for space exploration, biomedical imaging, 3D AR and VR, automotive holographic displays, next generation communication networks (5G/6G/LiFi), agriculture technology, electric vehicles, the built environment, micro-robots and quantum computing.

Careers and employability

Dramatic progress is being made in the field of photonics, making it a fundamental underpinning technology for companies within information, computing, sensing, communications, manufacturing, healthcare systems and much more. These companies require employees (graduates and researchers) with a much greater degree of interdisciplinary training - to be experts in both photonics and related fields.

Our students are highly employable, graduating with a solid grounding in photonics and the advanced skills required for high-quality research in this multi-disciplinary field. Whilst on the programme students can also gain industry experience through placements with companies such as Toshiba, Microsoft and European Space Agency and through projects with industry partners such as Huber+Suhner Polatis and VividQ.

Recent graduates have taken up roles as a fibre laser development engineer, patent attorney, computational physicist, development scientist, photonics engineer, scientific analyst, technology manager and postdoctoral researcher.

Who should apply

Applications are invited from graduates with a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree (1st or 2:1) in a relevant science and/or engineering discipline from a UK university, or an overseas equivalent.

Applicants with other relevant qualifications or industry experience who can show evidence of a scientific research capability should also apply.

How and when to apply

Applications open in November for the following academic year. Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. The application portal may close early if the course is full.

Pre-application screening

Candidates should submit a pre-application screening form at: by the 03 May 2024.

This allows the centre to assess a candidate’s suitability before making a formal application. Suitable candidates will be invited to interview, and if successful encouraged to make a full application* to UCL or University of Cambridge for the CEPS programme. *Application fees may apply.

Full application

Full applications should be submitted directly to the university of choice by the following deadlines.

UCL full application by 28 June 2024

University of Cambridge full application by 10 May 2024


4-year EPSRC funded studentships (fees and stipend) are available for eligible applicants. See the website for details.




 The UCL-Cambridge Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems (CEPS) CDT