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Graduate Admissions

In view of the COVID-19 public health emergency we may need to make changes to the course details outlined on these pages. Offers holders will be notified of changes. Please see this page for further information.

Course closed:

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is no longer accepting new applications.

The MRes+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
  • Nanoelectrochemistry
  • Nanomaterials

Innovation and Transferable Skills Training

This includes:

  • Nurturing and Managing Innovation, focusing on commercialisation of early-stage technologies
  • Nanointegration, focusing on integrating new nano materials and devices into systems
  • Science Communication in Media, Business and Research
  • Responsible Innovation

Innovation and Transferable skills training is a vital part of the NanoDTC programme, and continues beyond the first year in years 2-4 through team building events, opportunities to get involved with public outreach and interaction with industrial partners.


Currently, students perform up to 30 practicals over an 8 week period. These practicals are performed in small groups of 2-4 students providing an 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 MRes, students embark on the PhD research projects which they had a chance to define and develop in collaboration with future supervisors. Interactions and further training with the NanoDTC continue through events and workshops including:

  • NanoDTC industry and innovation seminars
  • Responsible Innovation workshops
  • Further research and transferable skills training including data science tools and a range of other topics
  • Seminars – student-led or with invited guests
  • Annual Cambridge NanoShowcase
  • Conferences
  • Outreach and Public Engagement Opportunities
  • Social events

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 transferable 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.

A recommendation to progress is subject to the approval of the CDT Examination Committee and the CDT Management Committee.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

The event is an ideal opportunity to view the Department, meet staff and current graduate students, discuss which projects and studentships are available and learn about graduate studies in general. More information is available via the Department of Physics website.

The CDT also participates in the Postgraduate Studies Open Day organised by the Department of Chemistry. Information on other open days may be available on the CDT website.


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. 2, 2019
Application deadline
June 30, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2019

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