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Postgraduate Study

The vision of this MRes+PhD is to deliver bespoke training in key areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology to translate exploratory nanoscience into impactful technologies, and to stimulate new interdisciplinary interactions that support our vision. The MRes year provides high-quality advanced-level training through lecture courses, hands-on practicals and two short and one longer experimental projects, prior to final selection of interdisciplinary PhD research projects between two research groups in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science or another relevant department across the University.

A significant element of the MRes training and beyond will be a focus on innovation and industry engagement, including courses on nurturing and managing innovation in a scientific context, systems design and integration of nanomaterials and devices, the responsible practice and communication of science, and opportunities to transition academic research to higher technology readiness levels and commercial applications through schemes such as the NanoFutures Leadership Awards.

Professional skills training and cohort-based activities are other important elements of the programme which are included in the MRes year as well as the PhD phase. Formal training in science communication during the MRes year is complemented by a range of cross-cohort events throughout the programme, such as student-led conferences, research seminars, onsite and offsite research and career development workshops led by internal and external experts and other activities.

The programme is suited to students who are keen to move beyond the silo of a single scientific discipline, to develop a holistic research approach that is problem focussed, and to be part of a vibrant research community. The programme welcomes 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.

Students completing the programme go on to careers in industry and academia, and a significant number have also set up their own startups.

Learning Outcomes

During this MRes+PhD, students will:

  • Gain both breadth and depth of nanoscience and technology topics, including both their science and their application, beyond their first-degree subject

  • Develop skills in a diverse range of practical techniques in nanoscience research, appreciating the advantages and shortcomings of each method

  • Learn to recognise the challenges of nanomanufacturing and system design

  • Gain an understanding of the enterprise landscape relating to nano-innovation and learn to identify and develop innovation opportunities that may be suitable for commercialisation

  • Learn to present their work through different media and to varied audiences ranging from members of the public to expert researchers in their specific area

  • Learn to consider the wider impact of their research in society

  • Develop effective team-working skills and learn to manage their own work effectively


In order to continue from the MRes in Physical Sciences (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) to the PhD, a pass in the MRes is required together with:

  • ‘satisfactory’ supervision reports in all three terms; 
  • a ‘pass’ mark in the PhD project proposal oral examination;
  • a satisfactory research proposal, with a topic and PhD supervisory team approved by the CDT Management Committee, including any corrections suggested in the PhD proposal oral; 

A recommendation to progress is subject to the approval of the CDT Management Committee.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. 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.

Additionally, the CDT plans to hold a virtual open day in October or November, details of which will be provided on the CDT website. The CDT also participates in the Postgraduate Open Day events organised by relevant departments, including the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics, details of these will be available on the Postgraduate Open Day website.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

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Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

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.

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