skip to content

Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Photonic and Electronic Systems is no longer accepting new applications.


The CDT is run in conjunction with University College London (UCL), which teaches approximately half of the taught options available for the MRes course. UCL also takes in an MRes cohort, who are taught alongside the Cambridge students.

Taught modules are available at both UCL and Cambridge, to be studied in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Students are required to study a module from an 'Electronic Components and Systems' list, one from a 'Photonic Components and Systems' list, and one from a 'business skills' list; they will additionally study two modules from a list of electives. They will also carry out two individual mini-projects, assessed by dissertation. The first will be undertaken part-time in Michaelmas and Lent, the second full-time from the Easter term.

Additionally, students will attend an induction programme, weekly sessions on transferable skills, monthly seminars, and an industry day. Please note that the induction programme begins before the Department of Engineering's induction day, but will not begin before the official start of the course on the first of October.

Successful MRes students on the 1+3 programme will then proceed to a three-year programme of supervised doctoral research, during which they will continue to be supported by the CDT. Students will present at the CDT's annual colloquium and conferences, will continue to participate in relevant technical and business courses (as agreed with each student's supervisory team), and will provide lectures and mentoring for junior students. They will also be expected to attend and present their research at the monthly seminar series.

The numbers given below reflect the MRes year only.

One to one supervision

40 hours during the MRes year.

PhD students can expect to attend at least eight-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 for Master's Students which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision during the MRes year. Expectations for the PhD are set out in a separate Code of Practice for Research Students.

Seminars & classes

16 hours per year.


100 hours per year.


720 hours per year.

Small group teaching

20 hours per year.

Literature Reviews

Literature reviews will be an important part of the project work. This will take around 80 hours over the course of the projects.

Posters and Presentations

All MRes students will participate in a mini-conference prior to submission of the report on the first project, during which they will give a presentation on their research lasting between 10 and 15 minutes. This contribution is assessed as part of the project mark.

Additionally, all students participate in the UCL annual postgraduate research poster display.


Some MRes mini-projects will be based in industry. Subject to University permission, there may be an opportunity in the third year of the course (second year of the PhD programme) for students to undertake an industrial or academic placement.


Students can expect to receive termly reports from the course director during the MRes year and from their supervisor during the PhD. Students will receive comments on items of coursework and will have access to a University supervisor for their mini-projects. All students will also have access to the course director and the other staff delivering the course.


Thesis / Dissertation

The doctoral thesis must be submitted by the end of the fourth year (the third year of the PhD programme). A compulsory viva voce examination will follow thesis submission. The length and format of the thesis will be determined by the requirements of the Degree Committee of the department/faculty in which the student is registered for the PhD


Some of the modules available to MRes students are assessed by coursework, or by a combination of coursework and written examination.

All students are required to complete two mini-project reports, each of not more than 10,000 words. The assessment of the first mini-project includes an oral presentation of the project work.

Written examination

Some of the modules available to MRes students are assessed by written examination, or by a combination of coursework and written examination.

Practical assessment

Some of the coursework involves substantial laboratory work.


Students on this 1+3 programme must submit a report of 10,000 to 15,000 words at the end of the second year of the degree (the first year of the PhD programme).

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Engineering

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
June 4, 2024
Course Starts
Sept. 30, 2024

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

Similar Courses