Applications for October 2020 entry are now open. They should be made online via the Postgraduate Prospectus. Answers to frequently asked questions about the application process can also be found via this link. You are strongly encouraged to contact our staff members to discuss potential projects before making your application.

Notes for Postgraduate Applicants

The Group

Head of Group: Professor Sergey Lebedev

Academics: Dr Simon Bland, Professor Jerry Chittenden, Dr Michael Coppins, Dr Robert Kingham, Professor Roland Smith, Dr Stuart Mangles, Professor Zulfikar Najmudin, Professor Steve Rose, Dr Francisco Suzuki-Vidal.

Where we work

Our offices are in the Blackett Laboratory, Prince Consort Road (behind the Albert Hall), and Z pinch experiments are housed in the basement whilst much of our laser experimental work takes place at the Central Laser Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (in Oxfordshire). Many students also travel abroad for conferences, workshops, collaborations and experiments.


We accept several postgraduate students per year.  Normally the start date is in October, to coincide with the PG lecture course which runs throughout the first year. However, under special circumstances entry can be delayed.

What you need

Qualification: (normally) Good physics degree (1st or 2(i) of 65% or over) or MSc.

Useful background:

  • Experimenters - electronics, optics, mechanical design, data analysis, research laboratory experience.
  • Theorists - maths, computer modelling and simulation.


The group has a variety of funding sources available for new postgraduates, including the following:

EPSRC quota studentships: fees and maintenance EPSRC eligibility criteria apply*. 

EPSRC CASE studentships: fees and maintenance with support from an outside sponsor. EPSRC eligibility criteria apply*. 

*UK/home students (i.e. resident in the UK for the previous >3 years) - fully funded.
EU students - fees only.
Overseas students - not eligible.

Contracts: We can sometimes negotiate full or partial funding via a contract with outside institutions. 

Overseas applicants: Non-EU citizens considering self-funding should be aware that their fees will be much higher than those for UK/EU students. We suggest contacting the British Embassy or High Commission to enquire about British Council or Commonwealth support and other possible special awards.

The Course

The PhD course lasts for three years. Postgraduate Plasma Physics lectures are on one day per week during term time of your first year.

Students are expected to submit the thesis in a maximum of four years, but ideally in three to three and a half.

Oxford-Imperial-Warwick Centre for Postgraduate Training in Plasma Physics and High Energy Density Science

Started 2014, we have teamed up with partner research groups at Warwick University (Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics (CFSA)) and Oxford University to provide an enhanced training programme for our PhD students that covers the full breadth of Plasma Physics, including astrophysical plasmas, computational plasma physics, dusty plasmas, high energy density plasmas, inertial confinement fusion, laser-plasma accelerators, laser-plasma interactions, magnetic confinement fusion, space plasmas, and Z-pinches.  The Postgraduate course taken in the 1st year will be run in conjunction with our partners.  The programme will enhance access to international experts in each group and open up possibilities for collaborative research later on in your PhD.

Links to our partner research groups:

What you gain

Job prospects: Our ex-students have been employed in universities and research laboratories worldwide, including:

  • UK - Culham, JET, RAL, AWE, Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, York, Queen's Belfast, St. Andrews.
  • Europe - Jena, IPP Garching, Pisa, Ecole Polytechnique, CERN, Lisbon.
  • USA - Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs, LLE Rochester, Princeton, Cornell, MIT.
  • Other research facilities around the world - PUC (Chile), Singapore, Japan, Pakistan, India.

Students who move on from physics have taken employment in the oil industry, instrument manufacture, Meteorological Office, financial service industry etc.


For general postgraduate enquiries in the Physics Department: Ms Loli Sanchez (Tel: +44 (0)207 594 7512)

For further information about PhD places in the Plasma Physics Group contact the Group administration office