PhD Scholarships at SEPnet Universities

SEPnet is a consortium of nine world-class universities focused on the future of physics. Each member offers a range of fully-funded, competitive PhD scholarships within their research programmes tackling the grand challenges in physics. Many scholarships are restricted to UK and European Union students, but some can be awarded to students from around the world. Unfunded places are usually also available for self-funded students, e.g. holding foreign government or industry funding awards.

Projects are usually available in the following areas of research:

  • Astrophysics: Cosmology and Evolution of the Universe; Dark Matter and Dark Energy; Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei; Stellar Formation and Evolution; Planetary Science (Exo and Solar System); Nucleosynthesis; Radio Astronomy.
  • Particle Physics: LHC Experiments – Higgs & Supersymmetry; Accelerator Physics; Phenomenology; Lattice QCD.
  • Quantum Technology and Condensed Matter: Metrology; Materials; Superconductivity; Photonics; Cold atoms and ions; Ion-trapping; Nano-technology and Materials; Solid State Physics.
  • Medical and Bio- Physics: Medical Imaging; Radiation Detection and Instrumentation.
  • Theoretical Physics: String theory; Quantum Field Theory; Quantum Gravity; Materials.
  • Atmospheric and Climate physics: Atmospheric dynamics; Air quality; Light scattering and radiative processes; Particle instruments & diagnostics; Microphysical processes

Further details on SEPnet research can be found on our research pages, while scholarships opportunities can be found via the links in the table below, on the RADnet pages, and via the Universities’ research websites.

University Research Areas PhD programme Projects Masters options
Univ. Hertfordshire Herts research Herts PhD Projects Masters
University of Kent Kent research Kent PhD Projects Masters
The OU OU research OU PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Portsmouth Portsmouth research Portsmouth PhD Projects
Queen Mary QMUL research QMUL PhD Projects Masters
Royal Holloway RHUL research RHUL PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Southampton Southampton research Southampton PhD Projects
Univ. Surrey Surrey research Surrey PhD Projects Masters
Univ. Sussex Sussex research Sussex PhD Projects Masters


GRADnet – SEPnet’s graduate network

GRADnet is SEPnet’s collaborative physics graduate school, providing one of the most dynamic postgraduate training environments in the UK. GRADnet conducts an annual programme of discipline-specific training and also more generic postgraduate skills training for physics PhD and MSc by Research students to enhance their knowledge, skills and future career opportunities. The planning and delivery of the collaborative programme draws on academic and technical input from across the universities constituting SEPnet and industry, and is jointly delivered by both academic and industry course leaders. GRADnet events include industry workshops and challenges to expand your horizons, enabling you to discover first hand the myriad ways in which physics PhD graduates have employed the knowledge and skills developed during their research, so you too can make the most of your PhD. Courses range from 1-day training sessions at a central location, to 3-4 days residential schools. SEPnet-arranged industry placements are also available to PhD students, either during or shortly after the completion of their degrees. These and other opportunities, e.g. opportunities to participate in community outreach, will enhance your competencies and abilities, as well as strengthen your C.V.

Why do a PhD in the first place?

You may or may not know what you want to do after your physics PhD, but whether your plan is to enter academia or to take your PhD training into a career in industry, the GRADnet programme can help you make your mind up and prepare you for what comes next.

Unsure whether you fit the PhD mould?

Relax; there is no mould, and there is no one stereotypical physics researcher.

SEPnet is particularly proud of the diversity of its researchers, men and women who come from many backgrounds, cultures, ways of life, religions, countries and span a wide range of ages, united by a fascination for the workings of the Universe that transcend human limits. The partners in SEPnet are committed to equality and diversity, and have achieved a range of Athena SWAN awards and Institute of Physics Project Juno awards. These demonstrate their continuing commitment to improving organisational practices to promote tolerance and equality throughout SEPnet and in its interactions with the world we inhabit, leading to the creation of a better working environment for all.

GRADnet enquiries: Cristobel Soares-Smith,