The University of Southampton

Postgraduate PhD

Photonics has changed the world in many extraordinary ways, from powering the internet, navigating airliners, correcting vision and protecting the world we live in. 

Our world-leading research centre is a hive of activity with over 200 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in manufacturing, communication technology, defence, health care, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonics pioneers of the future to join our vibrant research team and work alongside our world-class researchers to make history. Our physics and materials science PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics and photonics, whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry. 

PhD degree in Photonics

Working alongside some of the world’s leading photonics, physics and advanced materials scientists, you will spend your time conducting novel research in our state-of-the-art facilities, keeping up to date with current research trends in photonics, physics, optics and advanced materials, writing journal papers and attending conferences.

As an ORC PhD student you will gain a solid grounding in photonics, a key enabling technology that will open up a wide range of careers in academia or industries such as: 

Our extensive training programme provides knowledge and skills through photonics lectures, skills training for report writing and presentation skills and full safety training for your research area. 

We also offer plenty of opportunities for networking with fellow researchers and potential employers throughout your PhD at national and international conferences, industry and academic events.  We have an active postgraduate student society - OpSoc - which organises a busy calender of academic, careers and social events throughout the year, and play a key part in our work with schools and the community.

International recognition, clear research impact, extraordinary access to world-class facilities and a strong social community means to me, there is simply nowhere better than the ORC to do a PhD in Photonics.

Alexander Jantzen - PhD Photonics third year student, and Vice-President, University of Southampton Optics and Photonics Society (OpSoc)

Structure of the PhD

Progression is based on annual reports and oral examination. The final PhD award is based on the PhD thesis and viva examination.  

Duration of PhD studies:  Full time: 2 - 4 years  /  Part time: 3 - 7 years

ORC Postgraduate Prospectus 2018


Our success as a research centre is closely linked to the success of our PhD programme. Consequently we take the welfare of our students very seriously and we make time for each and every individual. Your supervisor will meet you on a regular basis to see how your research is going and our dedicated student mentor will help you settle in to ORC and Southampton life.

PhD research projects

We have over 30 research groups working on a wide variety of physical science, optics and advanced materials research projects. Our supervisors are always on the lookout for new students to join their teams. A full list of the PhD projects available with our research groups can be found in the PhD project section of the website.

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