The University of Southampton

Why do a postgraduate PhD in photonics?

A photonics PhD with the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) will provide a solid education for a research or professional career.  With over 70 projects to choose from, many of which are fully funded,  PhD students get the opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s leading photonics, physics and advanced materials scientists in the country.  There are more than 90 state-of-the-art photonics labs to work in and over 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics.  

Career opportunities in photonics

The ORC has an excellent track record of publishing in high profile research journals and in leading international conferences. Former photonics posgraduate PhD students and postdoctoral researchers have made successful careers in Universities worldwide or as scientists and business leaders in industry. The quality of our research outputs, the cluster of spin-off companies and the worldwide network of successful alumni place the ORC amongst the top institutes worldwide for doctoral research. 

What will I get out of it?

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: 

Sectors underpinned by photonics

Our extensive training and mentoring programme provides knowledge and skills through photonics lectures, skills training for report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills and full safety training for your research area. These are all essential life skills for the next step in your career.

Photonics research groups

We have a number of photonics research groups working in these three broad categories: optical fibres; nanophotonics and metamaterials; and photonics systems, circuits and sensors; with a number of research groups carrying out work in more specific areas. Our supervisors are always on the lookout for new PhD students to join their teams.  

Fees and funding

Full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. Limited funding for EU applicants is available.  Overseas students who have secured external funding are welcome to apply.

Networking and Social Groups

We offer plenty of opportunities for networking with fellow researchers and potential employers throughout your photonics 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.

Our excellent facilities, key partnerships with major industries and a world-leading research base will ensure that your time studying with us will be productive, challenging and enjoyable. 

Our subject brochure will help you find course information such as entry requirements, key academic staff, and funding options.  

This subject brochure includes details on:

  • the courses and programmes offered
  • typical entry requirements
  • detailed course information on applying and funding
  • career opportunities for your subject area
  • our academic and teaching staff
  • learning and research environments
  • our research impact

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)

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