Research in the IsoLab at Lancaster University

PhD and Postgraduate Research

How to Apply

Funded and self-funded applications

To begin the process you will need to find a PhD Supervisor whose research interests align with your own. You will need to contact them to discuss your application.

To submit an application, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you are able to submit applications for the programme(s) which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees. You may apply for all our postgraduate programmes using this method.

Current Lancaster Students

If you are a current Lancaster student, or you have recently graduated from Lancaster, we can reduce the amount of information that you will need to provide as part of your application. You will need to provide only one reference and will not need to supply your Lancaster degree transcript. We will also pre-fill your personal details, ready for you to check.

If you use the My Applications website then you will be advised which documentation you need to upload or send to us. We can automatically contact your referees once you have submitted your application if you ask us to.

The supporting documentation screen will provide you with a list of required documents. These will usually include:

  • Degree certificates and transcripts of previous higher education (college/university) degrees or other courses that you have completed/for which you are currently studying.
    For transcripts in languages other than English, a certified English translation will be required.
  • A personal statement to help us understand why you wish to study your chosen degree.
  • You also need to complete a research proposal which should include the following:
    • the research area you are interested in
    • the research question(s) you are specifically interested in
    • who within Physics appears best qualified to supervise you
    • the methods you envisage using in your studies
    • plus any other information which may be relevant
  • Two references
  • If English is not your first language, we require copies of English language test results.

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but we encourage you to start at one of the predefined start dates of October, January or April. In some circumstances, a July start date will be considered. An MSc by Research will usually start in October. If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying form overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

We usually interview candidates on selected dates towards the end of January.

Physics PhD student Charlotte Owen

Charlotte Owen

"Studying in the Physics Department at Lancaster has been such a great experience. Physics feels like a great big family, very welcoming, friendly and people are always up for doing things, whether it's sports or drinks. My research is in theoretical cosmology so I enjoy helping out with experimental demonstrations occasionally to mix things up. One of the best things about studying at Lancaster is the proximity to the amazing countryside, something you should definitely make the most of if you study here."

Research Areas

Research projects leading to the award of a PhD are available in all areas of research spanned by our research groups.

These programmes of study allow you to focus on a specific area of physics under the supervision of academic staff with international reputations in their discipline, whilst taking lectures and undergoing appropriate skills and research training provided by the Department and Faculty.

Research with the Department of Physics is organised into four divisions, each with two or three more specialist research groups. The divisions and research groups are:

Astrophysics Particle and Accelerator Physics Experimental Condensed Matter Theory
Observational Astrophysics Experimental Particle Physics Low Temperature Physics Condensed Matter Theory
Theoretical Particle Cosmology Accelerator Physics Quantum Nanotechnology Mathematical Physics
Space and Planetary Physics Non-linear and Biomedical Physics Theory of Molecular-Scale Transport

Each research group is led by permanent academic staff whose research is supported by postdoctoral researchers and technical staff. During your PhD, you will become an integral part of these teams and will benefit from the intellectual environment provided by your research group and division. You will also be allocated a supervisory team who will support you through your studies.

PhD Supervisors

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Physics PhD student James Edholm

James Edholm

"Lancaster has a great community feel – everyone is so friendly and helpful. The Physics department is very close-knit and it feels like we are all in it together. I’ve loved the experience of doing cutting-edge research and coming up with my own projects. There’s also wonderful scenery close by and a great sports centre!"

More Opportunities

PhD in Nanoscience

Access training by research in several niche areas of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies excelled by the experimentalists in the Quantum Technology Centre and theorists in the Condensed Matter Theory group at Lancaster.

Experimental nanoscience projects

  • quantum technologies and development and studies of superconductor and semiconductor qubits and quantum circuits
  • quantum metrology
  • development quantum dot systems for quantum key distribution
  • studies of atomic two-dimensional materials including graphene, boron nitride, hexagonal metal chalcogenides and their heterostructures
  • development and applications of new scanning mechanical and thermal microscopy techniques
  • development of novel nanostructured materials for telecommunications and for energy applications

Using Lancaster’s world-leading expertise in cryogenics, we study nanostructures at the record-breaking low temperatures, in a sub-mK range.

Theoretical nanoscience projects

  • quantum transport and quantum Hall effect
  • mesoscopics and fundamentals of nanoelectronics
  • single-molecule electronics
  • quantum optics
  • quantum information processing

We develop theories of new atomic two-dimensional materials using the first principles density functional theory, quantum Monte Carlo modelling, and phenomenological theories. We develop theories of dynamics and kinetics in quantum systems in strongly non-equilibrium conditions using field theory methods. On the side of applied nanoscience, we model devices for electronics and optoelectronic applications.

Our doctoral students get access to the high-end research facilities in Physics: brand new nanofabrication facilities, MBE growth equipment, optical and electronic characterisation instruments, unique ultra-low temperature infrastructure and high-performance computational facilities. Many of our projects are run in collaboration with world-leading innovation companies including Bruker, Fiat, Oxford Instruments, etc. Research projects on two-dimensional materials are embedded into a wider scope of the European Graphene Flagship project and assume collaboration with numerous research groups in Europe. The programme is supported by a selection of taught courses providing skills in modern research techniques, special scientific training and transferable skills courses.