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 Nov 2022)
  • 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

Applications open: November 2022
Pre-applications close: 16 April 2023
Full applications close: 16 May 2023 (Cambridge), 30 Jun 2023 (UCL)
Start date: 27 September 2023

Pre-applications open in November 2022 and close in April 2023 for the 2023/24 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 01 November 2022
  • close 16 April 2023

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

  • Cambridge: close 16 May 2023
  • UCL: close 30 June 2023

*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

Funded studentships are available. 
See the APPLY page for details.

UK/Home applicants

4-year fully funded studentships (paying a stipend and fees) are available for UK/Home students who meet residency requirements. See the APPLY page for details.

EU and International applicants

UKRI funded studentships

EU and International students are eligible to be considered for 4-year UKRI funded studentships. A limited number of these are available, and eligible applicants are automatically considered when they apply for the programme. If not successful in gaining a UKRI funded studentship EU and international students will need to seek alternative funding, a scholarship or be self-funded.


Scholarships are available to EU and international students. These are independent of the CEPS CDT. Deadlines and eligibility criteria differ depending on the funding body.

Further details:

Funding for OS students - University of Cambridge

Funding for OS students - UCL

EU/EEA students fee status

From 1 January 2021, EU and EEA students are categorised as international students and liable for international fees.

To be classed as a UK/Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further information:

UCL visa advice service

Cambridge visa advice service

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

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