Centre for Doctoral Training in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems

Two world-leading universities have joined forces to develop the next generation of researchers working on connected electronic and photonic systems that will change the way we live and work.

PhD Evdokia Pilavaki UCL-web.jpg

IMAGE: PhD student Evdokia Pilavaki in the lab.

"If you really want to change the world, then study with us"
Prof Cyril Renaud, Programme Director

The Centre

The University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL) have combined their expertise in photonics to establish a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems (CEPS), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

We train postgraduate students using innovative teaching and learning techniques at two leading higher education institutions. 

We work with over thirty companies and research organisations worldwide who support student projects and contribute to our doctoral training and research programme.

The programme

We offer an advanced four-year programme in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems which combines a one year Master of Research (MRes) followed by a three year Doctorate (PhD).

The programme is designed to provide students with a solid grounding in the area of photonics and to develop the advanced skills to enable high quality PhD research.

Read more at: Programme summary

How to apply

The Centre operates a three-stage application process.

Stage 1: Pre-application (any time)
  • Prospective students should submit a Pre-Application form. 
  • Pre-applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis from November to April.
  • Shortlisted candidates are invited to interview (stage 2).

Stage 2: Interview
  • Suitable candidates are invited to interview, which take place monthly from November to April.
  • Successful interviewees are invited to make a full application direct to the university (stage 3).
Stage 3: Full application (from November)
  • Candidates who are successful at interview are invited to make a full application to either UCL or University of Cambridge.
  • Full applications are processed by the respective university.

Closing dates

The programme is currently closed to applications and will reopen in November. The dates below are a guide.

Applications open: November 2023
Pre-applications close: April 2024
Full applications close: May 2024 (Cambridge), Jun 2024 (UCL)
Start date: end of September 2024

Pre-applications open in November and close in April for the 2024/25 academic year. 

We recommend that you submit your pre-application as soon as possible after the opening date. The application portal may close early if all places are filled.

Stage 1 and 2: Pre-applications (for screening and interview):
  • open November 2023
  • close April 2024

Stage 3: Full formal application (direct, open November 2022)*:

  • Cambridge: close May 2024
  • UCL: close June 2024

*Applicants who make a full application without first submitting a pre-application may not be considered for the CEPS programme.

Who should apply

We welcome applications from:

  • UK graduates with a good first degree (1st or good 2:1) in a relevant science and/or engineering. 
  • EU and overseas students with equivalent qualifications. 
  • Applicants with relevant qualifications or industry experience who can demonstrate scientific or engineering research capability.

Funding and financial support

EPSRC funded studentships

The Centre has applied for a new funding award from 2024/25. We expect to learn the outcome of the bid by the end of December 2023. Funding for studentships starting in 2024/25 are subject to confirmation.


Scholarships (independent of the Centre) are available. Deadlines and eligibility criteria differ depending on the funding body. Further details:

Funding for OS students - University of Cambridge

Funding for OS students - UCL

Equality and diversity

Both UCL and University of Cambridge are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in the recruitment, selection, education and assessment of students. We welcome applicants regardless of age, disability, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Further information:

Diversity policy - University of Cambridge 

Diversity policy - UCL