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Postgraduate Admissions


The first seven months of the Aerosol Science PhD programme comprises a full-time teaching programme based at the University of Bristol. Students will study four modules: two core modules in Aerosol Science; one module in professionalism and the translation of research into new technologies and products; one module in research methods. A mixture of modes will be used to teach these modules, including intensive teaching blocks, webinars, workshops, and a journal club.

Students will be registered for the PhD if they are able to demonstrate adequate research potential. This determination will be dependent on the student producing an adequate first year report, in addition to demonstrating knowledge in the field of aerosol science. Students are required to take the first-year modules in order to demonstrate such knowledge.

The numbers given below reflect the seven-month initial teaching period at the University of Bristol only. After that, students will be entitled to attend most lecture courses within the Department of Engineering at Cambridge. They should discuss with their supervisors which courses would be most beneficial to their research.

One to one supervision

Students will be in regular contact with their supervisors during the first-year research project. From the second year, PhD students can expect to attend at least eight one-hour-long individual meetings with their supervisor every calendar year. This is in addition to daily contact with the research group in which they are placed.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Approximately 45 hours of teaching will be provided by webinar.


The primary mode of delivery is through a series of intensive courses, which will involve mixed lecturing and seminar-format teaching.  Students will be participating in one five-day workshop, one three-day course, 16 two-day courses, one one-day course, 14 half-day courses. This comprises approximately 350 hours of contact, in addition  to the webinars mentioned above.

Journal clubs

Students will be participating in a weekly journal club.

Literature Reviews

Conducting a literature review is a normal part of the PhD writing process.

Posters and Presentations

The assessment for the seven-month taught component includes two presentations. First, students will give a group pitch presentation exercise, in front of a panel (akin to the pitching exercises seen on a number of business-pitching reality television programmes), in developing a business plan. Second, students will give an oral presentation on their research proposal.


It is expected that Aerosol Science PhD students will undertake at least one placement hosted by an industrial partner supporting the project, giving the student a perspective on aerosols outside the academic environment. Beyond this, the Department is flexible in permitting students, with the support of their supervisors, to undertake research in an industrial setting. Permission to work away from the University is required. However, students may not undertake any paid work in an industrial setting during the course of the PhD.


Throughout the PhD, students can expect to receive feedback from their supervisors, who they will meet for regular supervisions, and assistance from those working in the same research group. Supervisors will also submit a termly report on students' progress which will be made available via an online system.

Every student is also allocated an adviser, who is available for consultation alongside the supervisor. Additionally, in the first year, students will receive feedback from their assignments from the University of Bristol.


Thesis / Dissertation

At the end of the first year, students will be required to produce a written report in light of their initial research project.  This report comprises an important part of the probationary exercise determining whether students will be able to continue in the PhD.

The doctoral thesis should be submitted by the end of the fourth year. The thesis will have to comply with the rules and regulations set out by the department in which the student is registered for his or her PhD. The typical length of the PhD thesis will be 60,000–65,000 words A compulsory viva voce examination will follow thesis submission.


Students will be required to produce a refined research proposal in the format of a journal manuscript before the end of the first year.

Written examination

The two core Aerosol Science modules are assessed through online tests split into an individual stage and a team-based stage. Success in these tests will help students to indicate sufficient research potential to progress beyond the probationary stage.

Practical assessment

Students will participate in a business pitching exercise, in which they will present a business plan. Students will present as a group, but part of the mark will be formulated from an estimation of individual contribution.

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Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Engineering

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.

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