skip to content

Postgraduate Study

The PhD in Interdisciplinary Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NanoDTC) will train the next generation of academic and industry leaders who can transcend subject boundaries, deep-connect and transform knowledge, promote positive research culture, and bring agility and new holistic vision to addressing societal grand challenges. The programme will welcome applicants from across the physical sciences including Chemistry, Physics, Materials, Engineering and any other subject that gives applicants a good background to undertake a PhD in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The first six months of the programme will provide advanced-level training, specifically designed for students, through an integrated lectures + practicals module on Applied Nanoscience, a module on System Integration for Experimentalists and one short and one longer experimental project, prior to final selection of an interdisciplinary PhD research project between two research groups in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science or another relevant department within the University. An additional module on Innovation for Scientists will help students develop a wider perspective, including training on innovation, sustainability and responsible research.

The initial training period will provide a close synergy between taught, hands-on, team and independent learning content, in order to support, challenge and stretch students beyond their varied previous backgrounds, imbuing them with ‘technical multi-lingualism’ and holistic, problem-focused thinking.

The programme’s cohort-based approach for PhD training provides opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and mutual support, and a strong network for sharing information on facilities and tools for research as well as providing fertile ground for novel research ideas. The cohort-based environment also makes for a positive social experience during a PhD, which provides benefits for students’ wellbeing.

The interdisciplinary focus of the programme will particularly benefit students who are keen to move beyond the silo of a single scientific discipline, to open new research directions at the forefront of science and its translation to technology, and to be part of a vibrant research community. The impact and potential of the entrepreneurial and innovation focused training is highlighted by the very high number of NanoDTC PhD alumni leading successful start-ups in diverse high-tech sectors in the UK.  

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • broad knowledge of the discipline and a comprehensive understanding of the literature applicable to their own research in nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies
  • acquired a range of knowledge relating to innovation and the enterprise landscape, sustainability and communication of research to a range of audiences
  • learned to make connections between disparate fields of knowledge in order to see a more holistic picture


Skills and other attributes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • Gained both breadth and depth of nanoscience and technology topics, including both their science and their application, beyond their first-degree subject
  • Developed skills in a diverse range of practical techniques in nanoscience research, appreciating the advantages and shortcomings of each method
  • Learned to apply practical electronics and mechanical skills for design of experimental systems in laboratories
  • Developed a problem-based approach to research and development, drawing in tools and methods called for by the specific problem at hand
  • Learned to conduct scientific research independently and effectively, identifying and following productive lines of enquiry with minimal supervision
  • Learned to present their work through different media and to varied audiences ranging from members of the public to expert researchers in their specific area
  • Learned to consider the wider impact of their research in society
  • Developed effective team-working skills and learn to manage their own work effectively
  • Learned to identify and develop innovation opportunities that may be suitable for commercialisation

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

The NanoDTC contributes to the Postgraduate Open Day programme for participating departments, including Physics and Chemistry.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Apply Now

Key Information

3-4 Years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Physics This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

Similar Courses