Information for Prospective PhD Students

Interested in a PhD? Interested in light and lasers? Want to publish papers in international journals and attend international conferences? Want to live in London?

If all the answers are 'yes' then the Femtosecond Optics Group could be the place for you. Below is a short description of what is available, what you can expect and what will be expected of you. There are also details on the level of funding you can expect to receive along with information on where you can find out more details and how to go about arranging to visit the group.

PhD's available

Firstly and most importantly, there are currently PhD positions available within the group. To get an idea of our work, we suggest you look at the research overview. Deciding to do a PhD is often a tough choice and once you've decided that you'd like to undertake one, finding a group and a subject area can be bewildering.

In many cases prospective students will have some idea of what fields are of most interest to them (for example Optics, Plasma, Particle etc.), combined with whether they want to work on theory or experiments with a preference for a very large group or a small group. In essence, we are a relatively small experimental group. But how do you choose a specific project? In reality this decision is very hard and most people choose the group rather than the project. Bearing in mind that you are going to spend at least 3 years working with these people it's important that you feel you'll be able to fit into the group. As an undergrad it's generally very hard to be in a position to know enough about a specific research field to be able to make an active decision. For many students doing an MSc in the broader field is an excellent way to spend a year before choosing to spend the next 3 years working in that field. In any case it's fairly essential that you visit any groups your interested in joining as a PhD student.

What can I expect?

Work on an experimental PhD falls into four broad categories: lab work, theory work, writing papers and presenting at conferences. In general you will spend the large majority of your time in the lab attempting to achieve new experimental results. These results and experiments are based upon theory work carried out by others or yourself and once you make a break through you'll write it up and submit it to a conference (normally an international one) and a journal for publication. If your paper is accepted for the conference you will normally be given the opportunity to go and present it yourself. Once you've produced a significant body of research, you'll write this up in your thesis and submit it to gain your PhD. Outside of all of this there are normally several social events and various guest lectures/seminars within the physics department and the group.

What about funding?

The funding situation depends on where you're from. If you are a UK student then you will normally be eligible for funding from the uk government and a stripend of around 15,000 pounds a year to cover your living costs. If you are from outside the uk, there are various options including grants and scholarships.

Where can I find out more?

More information is available on the Photonics postgraduate pages which can be found here.

Can I visit the group?

Yes. We encourage every prospective student to visit the group before applying. Please get in touch with Prof. Roy Taylor.

When do I need to apply?

In principle a PhD can start at any time of year although, in practice, the majority of PhD students begin their studies in October at the start of the academic year. Photonics aims to make offers to suitable candidates by March and most successful PhD applications are received well before then. However project studentships are awarded all year round, if they are available, and thus it is best to get in touch with the group to see if there is currently any PhD studentships available. The only remaining question is how do I apply? The best thing to do is to get in touch with Prof. Roy Taylor to arrange a visit to the group and to sort out a subsequent application.