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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is no longer accepting new applications.

The PhD programme is based on courses, practicals and projects in Year 1 before selection of an interdisciplinary PhD topic for research in Years 2-4 in a Nano group within Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials or another department. 

During the first year students study for the MRes degree in Physical Sciences (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) by following a number of courses:

Science Courses

A wide range of core science courses are offered to prepare students for interdisciplinary research in nanoscience and nanotechnology, many of which are offered jointly with the MPhil in Micro- & Nanotechnology Enterprise. Topics covered in the 2018-19 academic year include:

  • Characterization techniques                                                         
  • Nanofabrication techniques                                                          
  • Nano self-assembly / soft matter                                                                  
  • Physics at the nanometre-scale                                                    
  • Bionanotechnology  
  • Nanochemistry  
  • Nanomaterials  

Business and Transferable Skills Courses

These include:

  • Science Communication in Media, Business and Research
  • Societal & Ethical Dimensions of Micro and Nanotechnology
  • Nurturing and Managing Innovation, focusing on commercialisation of early stage technologies

Transferable skills training is a vital part of the NanoDTC programme. Besides specific courses in this area we organise team building events, give students opportunities to get involved with public outreach, interact with our industrial partners.


Currently students perform more than 30 practicals over an 8 week period. These practicals are performed in small groups of 3 students providing opportunity for hands-on training in a diverse range of techniques.


Students complete 2 Mini Projects of 8 weeks duration and a longer 13 week Midi Project which may continue on into their PhD.

Years 2-4

After completing the first year of training students embark on the PhD research projects which they had a chance to define and develop in collaboration with future supervisors. Interactions with the NanoDTC continues through events such as:

  • NanoDTC industrial seminars
  • Social and Ethical Dimensions of Nanoscience workshops
  • seminars – internal and with invited guests
  • yearly Cambridge NanoShowcase
  • conferences
  • social events, and more….

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the PhD programme, students will have:

  • attended a minimum of 80 hours of lectures in degree-level topics to complement their own strengths and knowledge base upon entry, gaining a broad overview and specific knowledge of nanoscience, shared across the whole cohort;
  • learned additional skills and disciplines outside of their first degree subject;
  • developed a full interdisciplinary PhD proposal they can defend in an oral examination and, if successful, embark on their second year at the CDT;
  • gained an understanding and command of laboratory methods and techniques relevant for research in the nano area, appreciating the advantages and shortcomings of each method;
  • gained an understanding of the enterprise landscape relating to nano-innovation;
  • developed a good transferrable skills base, including science communication skills, as well as a sound grasp of safety and ethics in research;
  • learned to work effectively in teams as well as individually; and
  • developed a full interdisciplinary PhD thesis they can defend in an oral examination and, if successful, graduate with a PhD.


In order to continue from the MRes in Physical Sciences (Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) to the PhD, a pass in the MRes is required together with:

  1. "satisfactory" supervision reports in all three terms;
  2.  a satisfactory research proposal, including any corrections suggested in the oral; and
  3.  the agreement of two participating principal investigators as the PhD supervisors.

Progression is subject to the approval of the CDT Examination Committee and the CDT Management Committee.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
June 28, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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