Apply for the programme

Application process

Applications are now OPEN for students starting in September 2023. 

Deadlines for September 2023 entry:
Step 1:
Pre-application by 16 April 2023 - submit
Step 2: Interview
Step 3: Full application to university direct:
              Cambridge deadline 16 May 2023 - apply
              UCL deadline 30 Jun 2023 - apply

About the programme

We offer a 4-year post-graduate programme in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems which comprises a 1-year Master of Research (MRes) followed by a 3-year doctorate (PhD).

Visit the Programme page for more information about the programme. 

Why apply to this programme?

  • You will join a vibrant and diverse community of academics and graduate students.
  • Prepare for a career in photonics though this challenging, multi-disciplinary PhD training programme.
  • Gain expert knowledge in the area of photonic and electronic systems and the ability to seek optimal solutions to complex or multifaceted problems.
  • Develop project management, teamwork, communication and leadership skills.
  • Work with world-leading academics and industry partners in a rapidly expanding field of photonics research.
  • Diverse study, research and training opportunities including: industry networking events, outreach,  conferences, seminars and cross-departmental and cross-institutional research projects.
  • Funded students: receive a generous stipend, tax free, plus UK/EU fees paid for up to four years (conditions apply).

Who we are looking for

  • UK graduates who hold a first (1st) or upper-second class (good 2:1) Bachelor’s degree in a relevant science (e.g. physics, mathematics, natural sciences, geology, geographical science, social sciences, materials science) and/or engineering (e.g. chemical, civil, electronic, electrical, mechanical).
  • EU and overseas students with qualifications of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution.
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or industry experience who can show evidence of a scientific and engineering research capability.

English language requirements

All students who are not nationals of a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration, must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programme.

How to apply

Step 1: Pre-application

Pre-application closing date: 16 April 2023

We recommend all candidates complete the Pre-Application Screening Form before submitting a full application.

This enables us to assess your suitability early in the recruitment process, before making a formal, full application. Candidates may express a preference for either university at this stage. 

Pre-applications are processed on an ongoing basis between November and the closing date.

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

APPLY HERE: Pre-Application Form

Step 2: Interview

Candidates who are shortlisted at pre-application stage are invited to interview. If successful at interview, you will be invited to make a full application to either UCL or University of Cambridge.

Step 3: Full formal application

Candidates who are successful at interview are invited to make a full application to either UCL or University of Cambridge. Consideration is given to the candidate's preferrred university but the decision on which institution issues the invitation is decided by the Centre Directors. The course is identical at both institutions.

An application fee may be charged for formal applications.

APPLY HERE: UCL full application

APPLY HERE: University of Cambridge - full application

Full application closing dates: 
Cambridge - 16 May 2023
UCL - 30 Jun 2023

Step 4: formal offer & enrolment

For applicants who have submitted a pre-application, been successful at interview and are subsequently invited to make a full application, a formal offer decision will be made soon after the full application is submitted. Full applications that did not go through the pre-application may take longer to process. 

If successful applicants will receive an offer letter from the supervisor and a studentship offer letter from the Centre.

Applicants should sign and return both letters to accept the offer.

Once accepted, an official offer letter is sent by their university at which the student will be registered. 

The enrolment process usually begins at the end of September.

The programme starts with an induction week in late September or early October, held in both Cambridge and London.


EPSRC funded studentships are available for candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. Funding will cover UK/Home fees and provide a stipend (which varies depending on location). EPSRC funding is for four years (MRes+PhD) and subject to successful completion of the MRes programme, identifying suitable PhD supervision and upgrade from MPhil to PhD.

A limited number of funded studentships are available each year, so students are advised to apply to the programme as early as possible. If not successful in gaining an EPSRC funded studentship you will need to seek alternative funding, scholarship or be self-funded.

Eligibility for EPSRC funding:

  • UK home student - To be classed as a home student, candidates must be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or have settled status, or have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or have indefinite leave to remain. Home students are eligible for funding of home fees and stipend. Candidates who do not meet this criteria would be classed as an International student.
  • International applicants - applicants from EU, EEA and overseas are eligible to be considered for EPSRC funding (home fees and stipend). Note: this does not cover the difference between home and overseas fee rates.

Note for EU/EEA students: The UK’s exit from the EU took place on 31 January 2020. EU and EEA students are now considered to be international students and liable for international fees.

For further information on eligibility please see the EPSRC website.