Admissions Procedures

Atomic and Laser Physics - Admission as a graduate student

  • The first step is to find a research project that particularly interests you. Please see our Research Projects page for available projects for 2020 (currently being updated).
  • Once you have an idea of the research you would like to pursue, you will need to complete a University application form and submit it to the central Graduate Admissions Office (GAO). Your application will need to be supported by three references and should include a transcript of your undergraduate degree course.
  • Doctoral students normally start in October which is when the graduate class begins.
  • For general enquiries about admission to the Atomic and Laser Physics sub-department, please first look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Please note: Applications can only be considered once a completed form with transcript and references is received; an offer of a graduate place in physics is determined by academic merit and available funding.


  • Deadlines: 12 noon UK time (midday) on:

    JANUARY DEADLINE - Friday, 24th January 2020

    Interviews for January applications will take place in February 2020

    MARCH DEADLINE - Tuesday, 3rd March 2020

    Applicants wishing to apply for a Clarendon Award or Scatcherd are encouraged to apply by the January deadline.

    Applicants wishing to be considered for an EPSRC DTP award should apply no later than the March deadline.

    Self-funded applicants can apply at anytime.

    University deadlines.

  • The majority of research council studentships are awarded in the period from 1 February to 30 April.
  • Overseas applicants are strongly advised to apply before the second deadline since many University scholarships are considered immediately after this deadline. (Those wishing to be considered for these awards should tick the relevant boxes on the general application form.)
  • From time to time the sub-department may advertise additional specific project studentships; applicants should therefore check the website and use the general application form giving the appropriate project code.
  • In all cases your application will need to be supported by three references and should include a transcript of your undergraduate degree course.

Interview Process

The Interview

A formal interview will be held with representatives from the Graduate Admissions Committee. Skype interviews will be held for overseas candidates.

During the interview you will be asked to give a 10 minute presentation on a topic of your choice, for example, a practical scientific work project that you have carried out as part of your course or a vacation project, a part of your course work or a theoretical topic that you found interesting. You should be prepared to answer questions on your presentation.

The interview panel will also ask you questions about your current undergraduate studies and what your plans are for the future.

After the formal interview you will visit group heads in the areas of research in which you are most interested, to discuss the research project(s) on offer.

What happens after my interview

You will be asked to provide, a list in order of preference, of the supervisors and research projects for which you wish to be considered.

You will be notified, in writing, of the outcome of your interview once a decision has been made by the Graduate Admissions Committee.