PhD, MPhil, MRes Physics

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Research opportunities

You can study an MPhil or an MRes over one year or a PhD over the course of three to four years.

MPhil & PhD

You can undertake your degree in any of our research groups:


Find out more about our MRes postgraduate research degree in Physics.

Physics machine tool

Pushing the limits of diffraction techniques in the scanning electron microscope for the structural characterisation of novel materials

Structural imperfections in the crystalline materials used to make electronic and optoelectronic devices, can limit device performance and can lead to device failure. In this project the student will push the limits of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), a scanning electron microscopy technique, to investigate the structural properties of new materials such as AlGaN nanostructures in development for UV LEDs, or halide perovskites for next generation solar cells.




Optimisation and control of laser-driven radiation sources using machine learning

The project aims to optimise and stabilise laser-driven particle and radiation beams produced in intense laser-solid interactions, through the development and demonstration of a new machine learning platform. This new platform will be based on particle in cell simulations of the laser-plasma interaction physics and will be implemented on experiments at several state-of-the-art high power laser facilities.




Novel laser designs to exploit low-cost-per-Watt pumping of Ti:sapphire for application in sensing, imaging, and precise timing technologies

This EngD studentship will be primarily based at and supervised by the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (Fh-CAP) with collaboration and academic supervision from Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics (IoP, part of the Dept of Physics). This studentship is part of the Applied Photonics Centre for Doctoral Training ( This CDT is led by Heriot Watt University with Strathclyde as one of the partners.




Strathclyde Research Studentship Scheme (SRSS)

Strathclyde Research Studentship Scheme (SRSS) doctoral studentships are available annually for excellent students and excellent research projects.  There are two main sources of funding: Central University funding, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council - Doctoral Training Partnership (EPSRC - DTP) funding.

The SRSS 2023/2024 competition will open in Autumn 2022 and students successful in this competition will commence studies in October 2023. Faculties will set their own internal deadlines for the competition.

Academics/Supervisors make the applications for this scheme and there are various deadlines across the Department/Schools and Faculties, therefore, in the first instance, all interested students should contact the Department/School where they would like to carry out their research.




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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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  • 2023/24: £4,712
  • 2022/23: £4,596
England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • 2023/24: £4,712
  • 2022/23: £4,596
  • £22,450

Take a look at our funding your postgraduate research web page for funding information.

You can also view our scholarships search for further funding opportunities.

You can apply for a SUPA Prize Studentship for research training funding.


Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Araceli Venegas-Gomez, Physics PhD student
We collaborate with some of the best research groups in the fields of quantum optics, and we have several events over the year with people from all over the world.
Araceli Venegas-Gomez
Physics PhD student

Our research

Our research ranges from looking at the fundamental properties of the universe to developing technologies that have the potential to improve health care in the future.

Find out more about our research

Watch our departmental video to find out more

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Our department holds an Athena Swan Bronze Award for its commitment to advancing women's careers in science.

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Research interests

Current PhD student topics

Dr Gordon Robb                 
  • theory and simulation of: collective light-matter interactions,  optomechanics, nonlinear and quantum optics/atom optics
  • self-organised atomic phases via diffractive light coupling, optomechanics and nonlinear optics involving orbital angular momentum, simulation of radiation-driven instabilities, control and measurement of quantum optical systems for quantum technologies
Professor Thorsten Ackemann                
  • nonlinear photonics in semiconductor devices and cold atoms; spintronics in VCSELs and VECSELs, modal properties and dynamics of broad-area semiconductor lasers, photon condensation; self-organisation and magnetic ordering in cold atoms via light induced interactions
Dr Alan Kemp
  • solid-state laser engineering - in particular thermal management and compact designs for high-performance lasers
  • diamond Raman lasers; diode-pumped Ti:sapphire lasers; mid-infrared lasers; solid-state lasers for industrial applications 
Dr Daniel Oi   
  • space quantum technologies, quantum information theory, quantum optics, quantum computation, quantum system characterisation 
Dr Paul Griffin 
  • atomic physics, laser spectroscopy, optics, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensates, precision metrology, quantum technologies, quantum degenerate gases, coherent control 
  • laser-cooled atomic clocks, atomic magnetometry, atom interferometry, quantum technologies for ocean optics, compressive imaging from satellites, systems engineering for quantum technologies
Dr John Jeffers  
  • quantum radar and lidar, quantum state amplification, quantum imaging, coherent perfect absorption and amplification, quantum optical technology
  • quantum radar, state comparison amplification, quantification of nongaussianity of quantum operations
Professor Rob Martin 
  • III-nitride semiconductors, optoelectronic devices, scanning electron microscopy, condensed matter 
  • characterisation of LEDs and LED materials for new and advanced light sources; Novel techniques for 2D and 3D imaging of materials in the scanning electron microscope; Development of new semiconductor materials for new real-world applications
Dr David McKee
  • in situ radiometry and inherent optical properties, ocean colour remote sensing, ocean biogeochemistry, imaging flow cytometry, algal photophysiology, fluorescence lifetime, point source integrating cavity absorption meter, radiative transfer modelling
  • optical properties of natural waters, Arctic Ocean light fields and primary production, ocean colour remote sensing in optically complex coastal waters, spectral deconvolution for ocean colour remote sensing, machine learning for ocean colour remote sensing, underwater impacts of light pollution, remote sensing of zooplankton, propagation of OAM beams underwater, ultrafast fluorescence lifetime for lgal photophysiology
Dr Konstantinos Lagoudakis
  •  experimental quantum condensed matter physics, all-optical coherent control of individual quantum emitters, high-resolution spectroscopy, cryo-microscopy, scanning confocal microscopy
Professor Andrew Daley 
  • quantum simulation, quantum optics, ultracold quantum gases, implementation and applications of quantum computing, strongly interacting quantum systems, open quantum systems, tensor network methods
  • quantum feedback and control of many-body systems, dynamics in quantum systems with long-range interactions, controlled dissipation in quantum systems, non-markovian dynamics in open quantum systems, verification of quantum simulators, interacting particles in topological systems
Dr Jonathan Pritchard 
  • neutral atom quantum computing, quantum optics, hybrid quantum systems, quantum illumination, RF sensing and imaging, laser cooling and trapping
  • Rydberg atom quantum computing, hybrid quantum networking using Rydberg atoms coupled to superconducting circuits, quantum radar, practical high-brightness quantum illumination for unspoofable LIDAR
Dr Jennifer Hastie 
  • optically-pumped semiconductor lasers, lasers for quantum technology, lasers for metrology, ultra-coherent lasers, laser stabilisation, semiconductor gain structure design, novel semiconductor gain material, Raman lasers 
Dr Michael Strain 
  • integrated photonic devices, heterogeneous integration technologies, diamond and wide bandgap waveguides, micro-LED imaging arrays and communications
Dr Oliver Henrich 
  • Langevin and molecular dynamics, lattice-Boltzmann method, computational fluid dynamics, stochastic and partial differential equations 
  • coarse-grained modelling of DNA and RNA, DNA supercoiling, hydrodynamics of liquid crystals and complex fluids
Dr Johannes Hernsdorf
  • High-speed light-emitting diode arrays, Optical communications and nanosecond pulsed operation of light-emitting diodes, Photon-sparse imaging and communications, 3D imaging by structured illumination and time-of-flight ranging
Dr Fabien Massabuau 
  • Wide bandgap semiconductors, Ultraviolet optoelectronics, Defects in  semiconductors, Characterisation of Ga2O3 materials for ultraviolet optoelectronic devices
  • Characterisation of Ga2O3 materials for ultraviolet optoelectronic devices
Professor Viv Kendon 
  • Research interests: quantum computing theory and computation, especially with quantum versions of random walks, quantum annealing, and hybrid quantum-classical algorithms for practical applications current topics: error suppression methods for quantum annealing; SWAP tests for entanglement and other applications; using noise for quantum computing; applied quantum algorithms; photonic quantum computing (includes quantum walk algorithms and applications)
  • Error suppression methods for quantum annealing; SWAP tests for entanglement and other applications; using noise for quantum computing; applied quantum algorithms; photonic quantum computing (includes quantum walk algorithms and applications). 
Dr Aidan Arnold 
  • Ultracold atomic physics including grating MOTs and BEC interferometry. Using hot atomic vapours for four-wave mixing and Doppler thermometry. 
Dr Stuart Ingleby 
  • Precision magnetometry, optically pumped magnetometers, quantum devices using thermal vapour cells, and current 
  • Quantum magnetometers for magnetoencephalography, resonant quantum sensors and high-performance embedded processing for atomic sensors

Professor Paul McKenna 

  • Ultra-intense laser-plasma interactions, including the development and application of laser-driven ion and radiation sources, plasma optics and photonics, and high field (QED-plasma) science. Application of machine learning approaches in laser-plasma science.
  • Development and application of a machine-learning platform to optimise the properties of beams of laser-accelerated ions in simulations and experiments. Development of deep learning techniques to generate ‘virtual diagnostics’ of laser-plasma radiation sources.

Dr Carol Trager Cowan 

  • Pushing the limits of novel diffraction-based techniques, e.g., electron backscatter diffraction, in the scanning electron microscope for the structural analysis of new semiconducting materials. Developing new detectors and advanced data and image processing software. Microscopy of novel semiconductors being developed for next generation LEDs, transistors and solar cells. 
  • Electron backscatter diffraction detector and software development, characterisation of new semiconductor materials ranging from nitride nanostructures under development for the production of high performance UV LEDs for medical applications, to halide perovskites which are under development for the production of flexible solar cells to be used in the home. 

Professor Erling Riis

  • Atomic physics, laser spectroscopy, optics, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensates, precisionmetrology, quantum technologies, quantum degenerate gases, coherent control laser-cooled atomic clocks, atom interferometry, systems engineering for quantum technologies optically pumped atomic magnetometers, quantum devices using thermal vapour cells micro fabricated components and devices for atomic quantum technologies.

Dr Alison Yao 

  • Fundamental properties of structured light; investigating the behaviour of structured light in various nonlinear systems including Kerr media and Bose Einstein condensates;  potential applications of structured light in quantum communication, ocean optics, nonlinear beam propagation and interaction with chiral molecules.

Dr Paul Griffin 

  • Atomic physics, atomic clocks, atom interferometry, atomic magnetometry, laser spectroscopy, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensates, precision metrology, quantum technologies, space quantum technologies, optics.

Dr Alessandro Rossi

  • Quantum computing, quantum metrology, semiconductors, cryogenic electronics (more details at 

Dr Lucia Caspani

  • Quantum Optics, Integrated Quantum Photonics, Nonlinear Optics, Photonic Quantum Computing, Quantum Imaging, Quantum Information.


 Daniel Doveiko
Everyone is so friendly, and you don’t feel any pressure when talking to your lecturer or any academic staff.
Daniel Doveiko
Physics PhD student

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent.

The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

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Support & development

Graduate School

All our physics research students are members of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) Graduate School which supports postgraduate-level training across Scotland.

You'll take 40 hours of technical lecture courses in your first two years along with 20 hours of transferrable skills training.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and help you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferrable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.

Find out more about the PgCert RPD programme.



The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation. Take a look at our Careers Service pages to get more information.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.


International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Entry requirements

You require to have one of the following:

  • Masters or an Integrated Masters Degree in physics
  • first-class or upper second-class UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, from a recognised educational establishment in physics 
  • IELTS score of 6.5 as proof of English proficiency, if English isn't your first language

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if English isn't your first language
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 250 to 1,000 words in length, detailing the subject area and topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the university.


You can identify and interact with a supervisor before applying, or you can let us know who you'd like to work within your application and we'll team you up with the best supervisor for your project. When we've received your application, your research proposal is passed to potential supervisors for consideration. If it's not compatible with the researcher's current projects and they are unable to supervise, it's passed along to another for consideration. If they can supervise you, they'll confirm and nominate a potential second supervisor. As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

When you accept our offer, you'll receive a full offer in writing via the email address you'll have provided.

Accepting an offer

When you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

International students

An ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for some postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology.

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.

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Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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Contact us


Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3362


John Anderson Building
107 Rottenrow
G1 1XJ