LIGHT Community Open Day
This year we are teaming up with the Matter Community to host the Light and Matter Open Day, on January 10, 2024. Available projects and funding options will be presented by the respective supervisors, with time for Q&A and discussions with current staff and students. Applicants interested in experimental work will also have the chance to take lab tours. Please register here.

Please see the Light PhD Prospectus 2024 for the latest list of projects available in our community.


We are very pleased that you are considering applying for a PhD Course in the Light Community. Applications must be made online via My Imperial, but first please read the guidelines on How to apply to Imperial.



We welcome applications from students around the world. Applicants should have, or be expecting, a First Class honours degree, or at least an Upper Second Class honours (2:1) or equivalent degree. This would typically be in Physics, although degrees in other physical sciences or engineering disciplines would be considered.

As part of the application process, we will ask applicants to show that they have met the College’s English-language requirement. Further information can be found here.

Fees and Funding

Current tuition fees.

Different types of scholarships are available for PhD Students, and you will automatically be considered for some of them once you declare in your PhD application form that you wish to be considered for any College related scholarships. Other Scholarships will have a separate application process, so please have a look at our Scholarships page and the Scholarship Search tool for further information.

Submitting an Application

We carry out research in fundamental science and technology that exploits the versatility and diversity provided by optics, and our programmes encompass a wide range of projects, so when completing the forms please provide the following information to expedite the process and make sure that your application will reach us as soon as possible:

PROGRAMME: You have the option to do an MRes + PhD Course in Photonics, or a Direct PhD in any of our research areas. In the application form these options are shown as Photonics [1+3] (MRes 1YFT + PhD 3YFT) and Physics Research (PhD).
If you are interested in a related PGT Course before applying for a PhD with us, please check the MRes in Photonics and the MSc in Optics and Photonics.

STREAM/PATHWAY: Physics Research (PhD) is the basic code for all Physics PhD courses, so please specify the Stream/Pathway as Photonics or Quantum Optics and Laser Science. If you are not 100% sure, please leave this field blank and concentrate on the Proposed research topic and/or Proposed supervisor instead.

PROPOSED RESEARCH TOPIC: You can name your specific topic or indicate one of the four main Research Areas in the Light Community: Attosecond Optical Science, Biophotonics and Imaging, Quantum Science and Technology or Nonlinear Optics and Lasers.

PROPOSED SUPERVISOR: Naming a prospective supervisor is the most helpful information that you could provide to ensure that your application will be correctly allocated. You can visit our academic staff pages to see potential supervisors.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Contacts and Further Information

For general enquires about PG studies in the Department of Physics and respective application procedure, please contact Ms Loli Sanchez.
For enquiries directly related to the Light Community please contact Florian Mintert (academic) or Marcia Salviato (admin).

Further Information
PHOT recruitment page
QOLS recruitment page

Helpful Pointers


  1. Check some of our current opportunities in the Light PhD Prospectus 2024.
  2. Visit our research and academic staff pages to identify topics of interest and appropriate supervisors.
  3. The official application asks for a research proposal, but we do not expect a lengthy or detailed proposal. It is sufficient for you to describe what you find most interesting in physics and which area or areas you might like to do research in. You are also welcome to contact our staff members to discuss potential projects before making your application.
  4. PhD applications can be made all year-round, but we encourage all applicants interested in scholarships to apply as early as possible, since most scholarships have early deadlines driven by the funding requirements.
  5. The initial round of funding for the Imperial College President's PhD Scholarship is allocated to applications submitted by early November. For more details please refer to the application deadlines highlighted on the President's PhD Scholarship page.